Posted on 12 September 2014 with categories: Anime Reviews

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series was like what we saw there. A year later, he completely rewrote the classic story of Hashire Melos to the point of brilliance, while he still kept incredibly faithful to the original work. This guy’s hands were pure genius. Afterwards, he left Madhouse, the company he was under contract of, and he started working freelance.

Now the problem with working freelance is that it’s a lot harder to land really good jobs. The best example of that is Dai Sato, a brilliant writer (think Erbo Proxy, Eureka Seven), who in the meantime of writing episodes here and there has resigned to writing kiddie shows in order to pay the bills. Ryousuke Nakamura thankfully fared better, but even then he has not gotten the golden opportunity that will give him complete freedom yet. The only television-series he did was Aiura, which was a 5-minute episode show about a bunch of girls that do nothing. It was incredibly well executed and all, but you can’t do anything with that kind of a setup. Beyond that he’s done all kinds of jobs here and there, from episode directing to storyboards, to production progress, to also just animating.

There is only one serious thing that he took the main seat as the director at… and its biggest focus is a romance between middle schoolers. That’s also its biggest problem right there: Monster! A tense thriller across Germany! Mouryou no Hako, a ground-breaking mystery chockful of Japanese folklore after World War II. Aoi Bungaku! A look into the mind of the writer of Hashire Melos! Nerawareta Gakuen! A teenaged romance with time travel!

So yeah, there are cliches. He doesn’t shy away from that. In some cases, he even takes cliches, gives the illusion of subverting them, only to subvert those subversions again and adhere to the cliches, repeats that several times after. And yeah, when you take into account that there will be lots of teenaged hormones… this pretty much is a beautifully executed movie. It takes care to make its four main characters well rounded, the side cast all are enjoyable and likable, the story brings in enough twists. With the cliches ingredients, it tries to make as much of it as it can and the themes that it uses, and the ideas that the whole story revolves around are actually pretty damn interesting. This also is not one of those romances in which nothing happens. Stuff does happen. It’s cliched obviously, but the most important part is this: both the characters and the relationships between these characters are constantly evolving.

Visually this show is perfect. You can see lots of the signature tricks that Ryousuke Nakamura loves to pull for his series. There obviously are the shots that are spammed with sakura leaves, but also the more subtle things. When characters move, they move full of energy and inspiration. Their facial expressions are full of emotions. All of this leads to a cast that feels very believable and relatable. This movie is already more than a year old and I didn’t notice any sort of buzz around it. It’s a pity, because it’s pretty damn charming for what it is. I’d say that the acting in Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo was a bit better than this one, but it’s definitely not by much.

Then there is the ending. I want to talk about it, but I’ll be as vague as possible for the sake of spoilers. At first sight the ending seems to suggest that it was rushed. Things happen fast. However, I believe that it somehow worked out very well. It’s the kind of ending that doesn’t explicitly spell everything out for you. It allows you as a viewer to fill in the blanks, and it’s even a bit open to interpretation at some points. I would not call it rushed to the point where it becomes flawed. Instead it makes the ending work and gives you something to think about. Not bad for a movie targeted at kids.

Posted on 7 September 2014 with categories: Seasonal Previews

Okay, let me first eplain a bit what happened: most people probably noticed that I’ve been posting less and less often. The reason for that is that my personal life has changed completely compared to how it was in the early years of this blog. I both have a job, and a lot of real life friends, so I can’t just dedicate all of my time to the site like I used to. I hit my limit when I returned back from my holiday to America: I sat down to watch the latest episodes of Ping Pong, and that’s when I realized that I had no energy to actually watch anything, let alone write about it. As soon as I realized that, I cut off everything with the site. I didn’t watch any anime, I didn’t post, I didn’t read any comments. I was completely burnt out and purposefully decided to step away and do nothing for a few months, in order to regain my mojo. I needed time away. It wasn’t that the anime had gone bad: with Mushishi we had the single best series in the past years, so this was no matter of quality. Just me, burning out.

Now over the past months, I realized that I still enjoy anime, but I’m not going to write episodic reviews anymore. These were really toxic for me. They ate up all my attention to the point that I couldn’t do anything else anymore. Instead though, I do still enjoy writing previews (hence this post) and full series reviews. As for the site, we’re planning to introduce some big changes, in order to keep the site sustained and alive.

Now as for this season: it’s awesome yo! There’s a lot of big names involved, some very good sequels, new stuff from people I thought were already long gone. And also surprisingly few series that are just utter crap or nothing but fanservice. It’s a big season for the fantasy crowd. Lots of shows about fantasy kingdoms and royalties, shows that created their own universes.

Series that I Don’t Look Forward To

Ore, Twin Tail ni Narimasu

Why I don’t like it: I think that we’ve found another candidate for the most pathetic villain motivation ever. This series is solely meant for people with a fetish for people who dress their hair in twin tails. So yeah, this is basically porn.

Hi sCoool! SeHa Girl

Why I don’t like it: Only in Japan, can they get away with such a silly title. I mean, I know that most Japanese people aren’t very good at English and all, but at least they must realize that this looks stupid, right? But yeah, this is coming from the guy who gave us gdgd Fairies, a totally absurd and low-budget comedy series, so that could be the reason for it. Apart from that… what can I say about it? It looks terrible! Next!

Orenchi no Furo Jijou

Why I don’t like it: Dear god! That face is going to haunt me in my dreams! Did you have to draw him in that position, with that particular expression? I mean I am not of innuendo at all to even I am getting the creeps here. Also who the hell comes up with these ridiculous premises?

Le Fruit de la Grisaia

Why I don’t like it: Yup, this one’s bad. It’s got the warning-signs: a group of five overly cute girls, lack of male characters, a hentai game adaptation. Moving on!

Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai

Why I don’t like it: Hoods (you know, the guys who gave us Seikon no Qwaser) bringing us a hentai game adaptation. Yeah, you can see where this is going. This one’s bad, nothing to see here. In the trailer, the creators just gave up and showed us shots of the game instead of the animation.

Ushinawareta Mirai o Motomete

Why I don’t like it: Generic hentai game adaptation romance. Not offensively bad or anything, just incredibly boring.

Bonjour Koiaji Pâtisserie

Why I don’t like it: Generic reverse harem by Silver Link, moving on.

Girl Friend BETA

Why I don’t like it: This is another one of those terrible gimmicky series that they need to stop making: it’s based on a dating sim where the male lead can pick between more than one hundred girls. While I admire how there are more than the usual five this time, how on earth were you going to put all of them into one series without making them all cardboard boxes? This is for hardcore voice actor fans only, and even that’s stretching it.

Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru

Why I don’t like it: They’re apparently starting a new timeslot called “animeism”, but if the first show of that slot is a very generic school comedy with magic directed by Seiji Kishi, then yeah, you’re pretty much screwed right from the start.

Wolf Girl & Black Prince

Why I don’t like it: Another shoujo romance, though this one’s a bit creepy, about a girl who is forced to be treated like a dog or be exposed as a liar. Is this really what gets popular these days? Fantasies of being abused and treated like an animal?

Inou Battle Within Everyday Life

Why I don’t like it: Well, so much for Studio Trigger then. Their follow up of Kill La Kill, a school battle series, is another school battle series. Only this one looks ten times more generic. I mean, the premise is really just this: a bunch of high school kids awaken with super powers and nothing happens. Aside from a bit of romance. What can they really do with that. Any shred of potential left is dispelled with the trailer, which looks uber-generic.

Trinity 7

Why I don’t like it:This story advertises itself as a “romantic comedy but sometime serious magical school story”, so yeah, we basically know what time it is when the promo art only features ONE GUY. This one seems for the Index and Railgun crowd, but I’m not in the mood for any more magical school series, unless they promise to be really good or anything.

Terra Formars

Why I don’t like it: When I first saw this one, it made me mildly optimistic: it had science fiction, the director of Steins;Gate and Shigurui was on board, the premise suggested themes of intergalactic colonization, the cast didn’t consist out of teenagers. However, the more I looked into it, the worse it started to look. Apparently this show is about humanity that sends a bunch of cockroaches to Mars, only to find out that 500 years later they mutated into these weird human-like killing machines, and it’s up to the main characters to kill ‘em all. Now not only is this ridiculous, it brings up many red flags: when you look at the trailer, all of these mutated cockroaches look more silly than threatening, and they all have the same designs. That’s really bad monster design and it takes away all tension: those copy-paste armies never have been good for that, not to mention that they’re not sentient. This is the anime equivalent of Bug Squasher or something.

Madan no Ou to Vanadis

Why I don’t like it: Tatsuo Sato is actually doing both the direction and series composition for this series, but alas it’s the premise that’s really not good here. The fact that this is a light novel adaptation should already say enough, but this show has the premise of a generic guy getting to be the slave of a magical girl in sexy outfit. You can see that Tatsuo Sato did his best to at least try and make something out of this (the art for example of the anime looks so much better than the light novel art), but what can you do with the plot here? I mean the magical girls will fight each other with over the top flashy powers and the main characters will kick ass and hint at a romance that will never be there. You can’t do anything with this.

Amagi Brilliant Park

Why I don’t like it: There are some big names behind this one: Kyoto Animation is returning with the team behind Full Metal Panic to adapt another one of the author’s stories. I’m suspecting that this will be the next Fumoffu. Only problem is that I didn’t really like Fumoffu: I gave it about one episode and it failed to make me laugh even once, and ultimately I preferred Gonzo’s version of Full Metal Panic over theirs, but in the end I never really was a big fan of FMP. It also doesn’t help that the premise for this one is riddled with silly teenaged romcom cliches, so I really doubt that this one will end up topping Full Metal Panic.

Denkigai no Honya-san

Why I don’t like it: This one’s weird. At first this seems like just another slice of life shows about nothing, but it’s being supervised by the team behind Milky Holmes (the good ones, at least), who are completely crazy, especially when together. The trailer was weird, had unnecessary fanservice, but in the end there was enough visual comedy for me to want to give it one episode. That’s the thing though: I see no reason whatsoever for why this show could even be remotely entertaining past episode one when they ran through their best jokes about working in a book store.

Donten ni Warau

Why I don’t like it: Well, so it took about a year before the Shingeki no Kyojin-wannabes start appearing (do not tell me that that promo art did not remind you of that). Besides that, this anime confuses me. The creators seem to try and do whatever they can to hide that this is a bishie-series, it seems. Nothing seems connected to each other: if you were to look at the character-designs, premise and promo art, you would not suspect that they were all about the same series. I mean, this is Dogakobo. Can they really pull off another Natsuyuki Rendezvous without a skilled director accompanying them?

Fate Stay Night

Why I don’t like it: Stop milking out the Fate franchise, for Christ’s sake. Ufotable, you’re better than this. You’ve amassed enough talent over the years, now do something original with it. This one is especially grating because Studio Deen already made a movie about this. I mean I’m all for remakes and all, but this is just getting too caught up in the past. Do you want to know when the last time was that Ufotable made a series that wasn’t of the Fate franchise? 2007, with Manabi Straight. And there seems to be even more Fate set for 2015.

World Trigger

Why I don’t like it: I must say, I really dig the promo art for this one. Plus, it’s got a soundtrack by Kenji Kawai. No doubt will this one be a feast for the senses! The story is the problem here: it’s a shounen jump adaptation of a battle manga: aliens invade, and a bunch of kids fight back with alien technology. Been there, done that! I get why this is made though. Naruto is about to end and this sounds like a good time for the companies to start to search for a replacement.

Nanatsu no Taizai

Why I don’t like it: A-1 coming with an adventure series, seems like it’s going to be classic fantasy. The “Seven deadly sins” part of the title is very misleading, because apparently they’re just the nicknames of a bunch of really strong warriors. There are a few problems here: the way in which the story is rather generic, and how it’s set up there is only one way for the story to end: with overthrowing that evil government. Problem is that we’re dealing with a manga adaptation that to my knowledge hasn’t finished yet. So yeah, good luck fitting in that story…

Shirobako

Why I don’t like it: Basically a circlejerk series: PA Works doing a show about making an anime, obviously featuring a bunch of cute girls. My guess is that this one will be on the opposite side of Bakuman: whereas Bakuman tried to add too much drama, this one will add too little. Why do I want to watch this? Perhaps it might be nice to watch how an anime gets made and all, but there are enough behind the scenes videos and these are a lot more authentic. The characters here look just boring.

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso

Why I don’t like it: I’m spotting an annoying trend here. Ever since Ano Hana the Noitamina producers seem to think that we want teenaged dramas. No, I’m a fan of Ano Hana because it was such an emotionally heart-wrenching story, not because it was about teenagers. But here is the real thing with this series: yeah sure it’s very polished. A-1 Pictures has made sure to make everything look pretty, the acting is good and not stereotypical. And yet, I see no reason to watch this series. There’s nothing that stands out: it’s just a bunch of teenagers talking with a bit of standard romance. Why would I want to watch that?

Sora no Method

Why I don’t like it: The writer of Kanon and Sola is behind this one. You can see that this one is better than most visual novel adaptations, because there is AN ACTIAL MALE ON THE PROMO ART. He’s in the background, but at least it’s something. Here’s the thing: I liked Sola. It actually had a very nice plot there. I’m not feeling this yet though. The character-designs for example: while they look nice at first sight, the creators basically used the same faces, only to swap hair- and eye color (and in one case the facial expression to the typical deadpan). It all looks… a bit too manufactured. This one could get a benefit of the doubt though… it’s also gonna depend on how annoying the female characters are…

Series I Am Looking Forward To

Gugure! Kokkuri-san

Summary: “A little girl named Kohina ends up summoning by a Kokkuri-san, a lower-ranking ghost in Japanese folklore. The Kokkuri-san she calls ends up being a white-haired handsome, young man. Although he had intended to merely haunt her at first, he becomes worried about her terrible eating habit of cup ramen for every meal, so he decides to haunt her in order to protect her.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: TMS Entertainment
Director: Yoshimasa Hiraike

Impressions: This one… it intrigues me somehow. It actually looks like a solid comedy that can keep fun for several episodes. It’s basically going to take jabs at the Japanese folklore, but I have to say that I like the idea of a spirit watching over a young girl because she only eats instant ramen. That’s a bit more than what you usually see with these premises. If there’s enough for an entire season though, that remains to be seen.

First-Glance Potential: 50%

Sanzoku Musume no Ronja

Summary: “Ronja is the only daughter of Mattis, a bandit leader who lives in a castle in the middle of a large forest. When Ronja grows old enough, she ventures into the forest to interact the strange and magical creatures that live there. She learns to live in the forest through her own strength, with the occasional rescue from her parents. Ronja’s life begins to change, however, when she happens upon a boy her own age named Birk.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Polygon Pictures (and Ghibli)
Director: Goro Miyazaki
Series composition: Hiroyuki Kawasaki

Impressions: Here’s a weird example of how history came full circle. Before founding Studio Ghibli, Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata worked on a few of the World Masterpiece Theatre series from Nippon Animation. Now that Nippon Animation has buggered off creating new series after their long-time producer passed away, there was a long silence of nobody adapting classic children’s literature. The one to break that silence? Studio Ghibli, now in trouble themselves now that Miyazaki has retired. It’s a really weird construction because they work together with Polygon Pictures, who do everything in CG and it’s especially jarring when you compare it to Knights of Sidonia, which worked much better when fully CG’d. Hiroyuki Kawasaki is an excellent adapter though, and they can get some great stuff out of this story if they do it well.

First-Glance Potential: 65%

Gundam Reconguista in G

Summary: “Some time has passed since the end of the Universal Century, a history marked by space colonization and space warfare. Humanity’s prosperity, which ushered in a new era known as Regild Century (R.C.), was believed to endure alongside the global peace. It is the year R.C.1014. The Capital Tower is an orbital elevator that rose above the Earth’s surface and linked Earth and space. As the conduit of the Photon Battery energy source to the surface, it is regarded as sacred. Beruri Zenamu is in the middle of training for the Capital Guard (established to protect the Capital Tower), when the tower is attacked by G-Serufu — a highly maneuverable mobile suit with technology that is not from any known country.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Sunrise
Director: Yoshiyuki Tomino

Impressions: Wow. Here is something I totally did not expect: Tomino directing another television series. I mean, coming November he’ll turn 73. No matter how you look at it: this is going to be his final series. He could have been retired at this point, and he’s got nothing to lose for his final magnum opus in the Gundam Franchise. It of course depends on how much Sunrise is willing to let him get away with, but one theme of all of his post-depression works is that they’re all very colourful and creative. Even in Turn-A Gundam where Sunrise restricted this, you can see lots of subtle jabs against them in the storytelling. The whole premise embraces the campy nature of what Gundam has devolved into over the years. The trailer is very good: it shows his directional style very well, in which he just keeps throwing stuff at the viewer and keeps pushing the scenario forward, instead of dragging on and on.

First-Glance Potential: 85%

Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo

Summary: “Due to humanity obtaining the data technology that has evolved to a great amount- called “Mana”- the human race is able to subjugate all wars, starvation, pollution, and other problems on Earth by using its power, which is similar to magic. Earth has obtained the utopia of complete peace and no wants. First princess of the Misurugi Empire, Angelize. As with everyone else, she also had no wants or worries. She was celebrated by the people of the empire, and was supposed to wear the crown. However, she realizes the shocking truth that she is a Norma. “Norma”: An irregular existence that cannot use Mana, and are treated as heretics and as “things” rather than people. Having everything stolen from her, she isolates herself on a remote island. What was waiting for her there was a fateful meeting with a group of Norma girls who know nothing but battle. The girls spend their days riding humanoid robot weapons called “Barameiru” hunting giant dragons that have come from another dimension to invade. Having her name taken from her, what will soldier Ange see at the end of the fight? What can she believe in? What will she obtain? The story of a single girl’s fortitude starts now.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Sunrise
Director: Yoshiharu Ashino
Series composition: Tatsuto Higuchi

Impressions: Not only does this actually sound really interesting, it’s being directed by the guy who directed Mahou Shoujotai. My favourite anime ever and the single series that got me into blogging in the first place. The trailer was great to watch, and the music was fantastic! I like how they take the usual story of a princess, that anime is obsessed with, and basically take all that away. The only problem here is the character-designs: they suck and are pretty generic.

First-Glance Potential: 90%

Akatsuki no Yona

Summary: ” King Il of Kouka, a land said in legends to have been founded by four dragons, has only one remaining heir, a daughter named Yona. She lives a happy life in the palace with her cousin Soo-won, who she loves in spite of her father’s opposition to them marrying. Her life is turned upside down when Soo-won murders her father and steals the throne. Yona, with her childhood friend and bodyguard Hak, must retreat to gather allies and reclaim her place as ruler of the kingdom.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Studio Pierrot
Director: Kazuhiro Yoneda
Music: Kunihiko Ryo

Impressions: Finally a show about a strong female character who isn’t trying to shove her boobs into your face. Like, the way it’s supposed to be. Kunihiko Ryo as a composer makes sober, but very authentic music so that also fits really well. The director of this one is a new guy so I can’t say much, but I think that he can do a very fine job. The trailer for this one is awesome by the way. It foregoes the flashy graphics and instead shows the things I’m actually looking for. There is change: the lead characters changes multiple times through the trailer ALONE. Plus, I love how it used facial expressions. That really hit me. Here’s the potential sleeper hit of the season.

First-Glance Potential: 90%

Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu

Summary: “Shinichi Izumi is a normal high school boy whose right hand has become infected with an alien parasite that names itself “Migi” (“right”). Migi is the first parasite to develop a symbiotic relationship with its host, as he and Shinichi slowly develop a grudging friendship. Migi isn’t the only Parasite on earth, however, and as cases of Parasites killing humans begin to emerge, humans seek to kill off Parasites. Shinichi and Migi find themselves caught in between these two sides of the struggle over planet earth.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Madhouse
Director: Kenichi Shimizu
Series composition: Shoji Yonemura

Impressions: Based on the manga Parasite, which is supposed to be an awesome manga, so I’m very curious what this one’s gonna turn into. Madhouse is a very solid choice for adapting it. It’s got a newbie director with lots of experience, and Shoji Yonemura adapted Guin Saga, co-wrote Fantastic Children, wrote Figure 17 and is overall a very solid writer. The premise looks solid, the promo art looks very intriguing and immediately caught my eye. Bring it on!

First-Glance Potential: 90%

Shingeki no Bahamut Genesis

Summary: ” Mistarcia is a magical world where humans, gods, and demons mingle together. In the past, the black-and-silver winged Bahamut has threatened to destroy the land, but humans, gods, and demons overcame their differences to fight together and seal its power. The key to that seal was split in two, one half given to the gods and the other to demons, so that they would never be united and Bahamut never released. Now, two thousand years later, the world is in an era of peace – until the day a human woman steals the gods’ half of the key.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Mappa
Director: Keiichi Satou
Series composition: Keiichi Hasegawa
Series composition: Yoshihiro Ike

Impressions: This one immediately looks awesome to watch. It created its own universe and lore, it looks utterly gorgeous so far, it has the director of Karas, Asura and Tiger & Bunny, Yoshihiro Ike for the soundtrack and Mappa behind the animation completing this dream team. These guys can make something very enjoyable together.

First-Glance Potential: 90%

Garo: Honoo no Kokuin

Summary: “Mendosa, the chief adviser of the king of Valiante, begins a campaign to hunt down “witches,” resulting in the deaths of many magical knights and their sorcerer assistants. Anna, a sorceress married to the knight Herman Lewis, gives birth to a son before her execution. Herman takes their child, Leon, and flees, raising him to be the heir of the legendary Golden Armor. By the time Leon grows up, Valiante is completely in the control of Mendosa, who drives out Prince Alfonso and his mother. Alphonso decides to seek out the man who inherited the Golden Armor to reclaim the throne and save his people.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Mappa
Director: Yuuichiro Hayashi
Series composition: Yasuko Kobayashi
Original creator: Keita Amemiya

Impressions: Yeah, I pretty much fangasmd when I saw who the original creator behind this series is: the guy who created Mahou Shoujotai, my favourite anime ever. I mean, I can’t believe this: one season with a series from the director AND the original creator from my single favourite series. what the hell?! This one has lots of nostalgia value for me, but even then the setting is creative, the visuals look gorgeous, courtesy of Mappa and with a writer like Yasuko Kobayashi (she also wrote Casshern Sins, adapted Shingeki no Kyojin and Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure) we really are good. The director is someone completely new, so I really wonder what he can do with this gem.

First-Glance Potential: 95%

Psycho Pass 2

Summary: ” The series takes place in the near future, when it is possible to instantaneously measure and quantify a person’s state of mind and personality. This information is recorded and processed, and the term “Psycho-Pass” in the anime’s title refers to a standard used to measure an individual’s being. The story centers around the “enforcement officer” Shinya Kogami, who is tasked with managing crime in such a world.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Production IG
Director: Naoyoshi Shiotani
Series composition: Tow Ubukata
Story concept: Gen Urobuchi

Impressions: A big change between the first and second season of Psycho Pass is that Gen Urobuchi is taking a step back. He’s now just there for the “Story concept”, which probably just means that he came up with the whole concept. Thankfully the guy taking over is also a very good and creative writer: Tow Ubukata came up with Le Chevalier d’Eon, he wrote Fafner, he wrote Heroic Age. This guy really is a science fiction writer through and through. His only issue seems to be pacing, but that doesn’t really seem to be much of a problem here with Psycho Pass and what they already built up.

First-Glance Potential: 100%

Mushishi Zoku-chou Season 2

Summary: “Mushi; the life-blood of nature. They exist everywhere in various forms: micro-organisms, fungi, bodies of water. Sometimes, they’re even mistaken to be plants, animals, or spirits. But regardless of their appearance, they exist, nonetheless, living the only way they know how. At times, their actions can cause strange or unexplainable phenomena. Enter Ginko, the Mushishi (mushi master), as he continues encountering, studying, and dealing with the mysterious mushi along his journey into the unknown.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Artland
Director: Hiroshi Nagahama

Impressions: Well, what’s there left to say? The single best anime of the past number of years continuing on to its second season. I haven’t finished the first season yet, but I sure as hell am planning to do that, because this series is better than any other series of its kind. It was a long wait, but the perfect way of storytelling carried through into the second season and there is no sign whatsoever of it stopping. All stories so far are beautifully told and with this we get 12 or 13 more stories to finish things off, based on the manga. You really cannot expect better than this.

First-Glance Potential: 100%
Posted on 28 May 2014 with categories: Seasonal Previews

Some trends for the upcoming summer season: the series aimed at girls seem to be getting big again after a long drought. The problem is that like the series aimed at boys, a lot of them are looking to be really bad. Beyond that, there are lots of series that have concepts that have been done to death by now. I’m nearly inclined to dub this season “The Summer of Dead Horses”.

On the good news though, there are quite a number of series that are looking to have some serious potential. And not in the way of the Autumn of 2013 in which everything seemed great, only to feature many, many disappointments, but actually in the way that there will be a lot worth watching here, series that take themselves seriously, or are trying out something different. Well, many. Many for the standards of the past few years.

As usual, lots of assumptions follow. I do not read manga so I have no idea about any original source material and stuff. My impressions are purely based on the stuff that I can say something about, like the staff, premise and promotional material. These ain’t full reviews, yo.

Series that I Don’t Look Forward To

Momo Kyun Sword

Why I don’t like it:`Yeah, this one is going to be terrible. It’s in the genre where cute girls with lots of boob fight with big powers, while at the same time raping the original story of Momotaro (the kid who was born from a peach). I mean, just look at the art here the creators weren’t trying to be subtle about the characters’ cleavage in any way were they?

Pripara

Why I don’t like it: It’s yet another one of those shows there to promote idols. Seriously, that too has turned into a complete dead horse. I wouldn’t mind so much if we just got one of these shows once in a while or something, like what it used to be in the past, but nowadays they’re everywhere! Idols are not so special that they deserve this many series people! The only saving grace here is that it’s from the director of Milky Holmes, but this isn’t a genre he can parody so well because it would make the idols look bad. Blegh.

Himegoto

Why I don’t like it: This is a stupid cross-dressing show with a ridiculous premise. The worst thing is that it’s the same bloody premise that every single bad cross-dressing series uses for its shenanigans: for some contrived reason a dude needs to enter a female only high school and therefore he needs to dress up like a girl. Blah boring! Skip this one!

Jinsei

Why I don’t like it: Well first of all it’s a light novel adaptation with an overly cute girl on the front page. That’s one of the clearest early signs that this will be bad. And yeah, it’s a dull school series. The premise however does hold a tiny shred of potential: it’s about the writer of a life advice column of the school newspaper that follows a few of the life advice requests he needs to write about. If they can deal with those requests intelligently, then this might make a chance. But then I direct your attention back to the covers of the light novels, which all feature overly cute girls in suggestive poses and yeah… this one’s gonna suck.

Survival Game Club

Why I don’t like it: Blah blah, another club full of girls at school that does something. Again something we’ve seen waaaay too many times by now. This time it’s about survival games, and is that me or does that really sound eerily similar to that Gainax show about the gun club that came out last Autumn?

Persona 4 The Golden

Why I don’t like it: Ooh, I still remember what a disaster the original Persona 4 anime was, and now they’re planning to make more! It was completely incomprehensible for people who didn’t play the game. It spent huge amounts of time on things that didn’t matter, and flew through the important bits. It was littered with bad humour. It was the first point at which I realized that Seiji Kishi had completely lost it with his new style, and he’s back. However he really turned into a Shinbo-wannabe right now by assuming the task of chief director while another director is the real one. And I know that having a chief director and a director is more common and all, but none are trying to rip off Shinbo as blatantly as he is. I have a pity with the fans of the Atlus that they keep getting stuck with this guy. I mean in the span of a couple of years he managed to turn me off completely to their games.

Nobunaga Concerto

Why I don’t like it: Normally I’m a bit more lenient on historical manga that look kindof serious. But for god’s sake come on! A high school boy who travels back in time and who must become Oda Nobunaga? Is that the best you can think of? Let’s try to rape his character even more by turning him into a high school boy for god’s sake. Japan has many more interesting time periods. You don’t have to stick with this guy. Here is the weird thing: when Sengoku Basara did it, the warring states era was hardly ever used as a setting. After that though, every single historical series suddenly was about that bloody period, to the point where there was hardly anything else. I mean come on Japan: move on!

Francesca

Why I don’t like it: You just know that this one will be bad: it’s basically one big advertisement for Hokkaido (like, the island), personified in a cute girl. As a zombie. Or at least, something that’s supposed to be a zombie. WHATEVER IS ON THAT PROMO IMAGE IS NOT A ZOMBIE.

Akame ga Kill

Why I don’t like it: This one doesn’t seem like anything special: it’s just another show in which a boy and a girl use magical powers to fight some evil empire. The weapons look stupid, the character designs bland. The sole salvation here is that there isn’t a school to be found, but that’s nowhere near enough to make up for the blandness of the rest.

Hanayamata

Why I don’t like it: Here’s a case of talented people being wasted on the wrong project. I mean, these people aren’t bad at all. They worked on some really good stuff: Madhouse, Reiko Yoshida and Atsuko Ishizuka (the latter in particular: she’s one of the few female directors who actually made it into the big leagues and consistently gets assigned to projects). However, what’s the show about? High School Girls dancing. Now Yosakoi is something that we haven’t seen before and all, but there is no hint whatsoever that there will be any depth here. Tip for future promo artists: don’t feature an all-cute girl cast on your image who look way too much like each other and nothing else. That’s just bland and boring!

Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya 2wei!

Why I don’t like it: For god’s sake stop milking out the Fate franchise! It’s done, it’s over! Enough already and think of something new here. this is just getting ridiculous!

Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance

Why I don’t like it: Yeah, this one will be really bad, all of the warning signs are there. A promo full of only cute girls, they all use magic, they are all of nobility, and there is exactly one guy who gets to be special and ends up inbetween them for contrived reasons. Next!

Shounen Hollywood

Why I don’t like it: Aaagh! More idols! Such creativity! This one does come from the director of Sukitte Ii na Yo, however can we for god’s sake tone it down on the sheer number of these things?

Invaders of the Rokujyouma!?

Why I don’t like it: Yup, many warning signs that this is going to be terrible. All the male characters are absent from the main promo art on the website, character designs who all look the same aside from hair, eyes and boob sizes, a bland premise for a show. Not to mention Shin Oonuma and Silver Link being at it again. This is one to skip.

Argevollen

Why I don’t like it: Aaah yes, finally! Xebec is going back to making mecha series, the thing that they did that they were actually good at, until they radically shifted their focus towards producing crappy fanservice shows. Tatsuo Sato will write it, and this is a guy who also wrote Mouretsu Pirates, Basquash, Madesico, Shingu, and adapted Azumanga Daioh, and the director will be… what?! Atsushi Ootsuka? The director of To Love-Ru, Kanokon and Ladies Versus Butlers? Some of the worst shows Xebec has ever made!?! Seriously, you really couldn’t get anyone better? And yeah, the trailer confirmed that this is just going to be a dumb action series with a generic plot.

Magimoji Rurumo

Why I don’t like it: I do have to hand it to Rurumo: it’s got its own premise. It’s not completely original, but at the very least it has a premise that doesn’t attempt to rip off as many other generic series as possible. However, that does not mean that I look forward to a series with a tagline called “Pervert and Apprentice”. I find sex jokes bad really easily, so this show is going to have to try really really hard not to be annoying. So yeah, that’s not going to happen.

Love Stage

Why I don’t like it:Kenichi Kasai, the director who gave us the brilliant rendition that were the first season of Nodame Cantabile and Honey and Clover! After years of silence he’s finally back with another series: shounen ai! Fans of shounen ai: rejoice! Non-fans of shounen-ai: keep waiting. He may be brilliant, but he isn’t able to make people buy a genre they previously weren’t into.

Dramatical Murder

Why I don’t like it:Oh my god, BL with an actual plot! The problem with boys’ love series is that they’re just too often entirely dedicated to fanservice, to the point where the fanservice gets completely in the way of any potential that might have been there. Show me a great series that has a gay couple in it and I won’t complain at all. The reason I’m not looking forward to this is the one who’s going to adapt this: Machida Touko. Her adaptations comprise Amnesia, Allison to Lillia, Ookami Kakushi… basically lots of series that completely botched any potential that their original source material had.

Rail Wars

Why I don’t like it:Here’s an interesting one. The premise is creative, I like that, and I really want to like this series, but everything else is throwing up red flags: the guy who adapted Kanokon will adapt this, it’s based off of a bunch of light novels, the stereotypical character descriptions, and how the poses that the characters are all making are all trying a little too hard. Don’t get me wrong, these don’t immediately mean that we’re dealing with a bad series here. But there are an awful lot of hints that do point into that direction.

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun

Why I don’t like it: I don’t really have anything to whine about here. It seems like a standard romance, just not a special one. It will work decently if the creators take care in developing all of the characters, they don’t make the romance too stupid or convoluted, the usual stuff. It won’t stand out in any way though, which is why I’m not looking forward to it.

Free – Eternal Summer

Why I don’t like it: Well, this obviously had it coming, the actually well produced slice of life series with lots of gay undertones. What sets Free apart from the shows like Utapri is that it actually bothers to put some effort into its characterizations, and making the characters come alive rather than portraying them as a bunch of cardboard boxes. They’re stil stereotypes, but hey at least it’s something: it’s progress. I’m obviously not going to watch it, but I do have a question to the fans of the series: does it really warrant a second season, or is this just milking it?

Ao Haru Ride

Why I don’t like it: Don’t get me wrong: Ao Haru Ride looks like a very solid romance. I can just say with certainty that the premise just isn’t interesting enough that I’m going to continue watching it. I mean, it’s got the director of Yahari blahblah, a solid scriptwriter, a premise that’s neither good nor bad or overused. It’s just another high school romance that doesn’t try to pretend it’s anything else. And I just don’t want to watch those shows any more.

Bakumatsu Rock

Why I don’t like it: Oooh, the cheese. Plus this show gets points for being historical and not featuring Oda Freaking Nobunaga. This sounds like a series that’s so bad that makes it worth watching at least an episode, featuring some bizarre love child between AKB0048 and Utapri. It will be glorious. Gloriously bad, but glorious. (For those uninitiated, this is a show about a bunch of bishies who try to save the Bakumatsu era with hard rock!)

Psycho Pass Recap

Why I don’t like it: This entry is just here to prevent confusion, which will very likely to be there considering how bad rumours can spread over the internet. Psycho Pass Season 2 will air for the upcoming fall season. I am psyched about that one. This summer season meanwhile will re-air the first season as an 11-episoded series with 50-minute episodes, and a few re-cuts here and there that probably will not amount to much. However, they’re really trying to make this one big, and they’re really profiling this series as targeted towards adults. This is good, Noitamina is slowly but steadily returning to what actually made it good. This is actually pretty important here, because this isn’t trivial. Out of all the possible series to focus on, the producers chose Psycho Pass. Not Guilty Crown, not Fractale. Psycho Pass. They really want to keep the original spirit of the timeslot going.

Series I Am Looking Forward To

Kuroshitsuji – Book of Circus

Summary: “In Victorian-era London, on the night of Ciel Phantomhive’s tenth birthday a fire destroyed his manor and killed both of his parents. In a moment of death Ceil strikes a deal with a demon, his soul in exchange for revenge. This demon becomes his butler and calls himself by name of Sebastian Michaelis, to protect and serve Ciel until the deal has been completed. One month after the fire Ciel returns from being missing, with his new butler Sebastian. Ceil is now the head of the Phantomhive corporation, handling all business affairs as well as the work as the Queen of England’s guard dog and looking for his parents murders.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: A-1 Pictures
Director: Noriyuki Abe
Series composition: Hiroyuki Yoshino

Impressions: OH GOD NO! The new season of Kuroshitsuji has a completely new staff behind it. Noriyuki Abe is actually a very skilled director: before directing Bleach he gave us Great Teacher Onizuka, and that was no fluke even with a very strong source material. Kuroshitsuji is exactly the kind of series that can get something great out of him again. The first two seasons were adapted by Mari Okada, and this actually fitted her very well as a series with the craziness that went on. For season three though… we have to deal with Uber-troll Hiroyuki Yoshino. If you don’t know him, be glad. This is the guy who wrote the original story for Seikon no Qwaser, Guilty Crown, Code Geass, Mai Otome. This guy writes grandiose stories which are often so grandiose and convoluted that they collapse in on themselves. His adaptations are hardly ever complete, even when well written. You’re almost guaranteed to get a completely botched up ending here, even though the endings are what I loved about the first two seasons of Kuroshitsuji. And to make things even worse, Ichiro Okouchi, the original creator of Code Geass and the writer of Valvrave is joining in for the scripts!

First-Glance Potential: 30%

Tokyo ESP

Summary: “The science fantasy story begins with Rinka, an extremely poor high school girl who lives with just her father in modern Tokyo. One day, she is going home from school when she chases a “flying penguin” to the top of New Tokyo Tower — only to have “fish swimming in the air” suddenly appear before her. One of the fish goes through Rinka and gives her extraordinary powers beyond those of normal humans, particularly the ability to slip through solid objects.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: ?
Director: ?
Series composition: ?

Impressions: Because no staff has been announced whatsoever, I’m going to go and give this one the benefit of the doubt. Why? The bits of creativity in the premise and the promo artwork. Because of that it might have potential, but the whole premise is one that really can go both ways: from great to terrible. It needs to be more than “girls fight each other with supernatural powers”. We’ve seen that so many times before. Give us some depth here.

First-Glance Potential: 50%

Sailor Moon Crystal

Summary: “Usagi Tsukino was a normal second-year middle school girl whose own life changes one day when she encounters a black cat. The cat’s name is Luna who can talk and bears a crescent moon on her forehead. Luna tells Usagi that she is the chosen guardian of justice with the power to transform into Sailor Moon. Usagi now has a new responsibility which is a mission to find the Illusionary Silver Crystal as well as the other chosen guardians to protect the Moon Princess. During her mission, she must deal with various enemies sent by Queen Beryl who is also after the Illusionary Silver Crystal.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Toei
Director: Munehisa Sakai
Series composition: Yoji Kobayashi

Impressions: First of all I should exclaim that I’m not a Sailor Moon fan. My relationship with it was a weird one, because it was one of the series that I watched on Dutch television before I actually discovered the internet. However, it had just the bad luck to air at a really inconvenient time in the morning, right before Card Captor Sakura. I LOVED Card Captor Sakura, and in comparison Sailor Moon seemed just a cheap knock-off (I only learned later that it in fact was quite a bit older) with some annoying characters and a romance purposefully dragged itself out for ages. Not to mention that the network ended up cancelling giving Card Captor Sakura an even more impossible timeslot in favour of Sailor Moon. So that’s not the reason I’m looking forward to this. The reason I’m looking forward to this is that it’s the first ambitious shoujo series we’ve had in many years now. We seriously needed something to revitalize the genre, and Toei really seems to have allocated a big budget to make it happen. For that, I want this series to succeed. Not for Sailor Moon, but for the shoujo genre as a whole. It used to be one of my favorite genres, but it got completely pushed aside by the shounen genres to the point that the only shoujo shows we nowadays get are school series.

First-Glance Potential: 70%

ALDNOAH.ZERO

Summary: “In 1972, a hypergate was discovered on the surface of the moon. However, war breaks between humans on Earth and those who immigrated to Mars.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: A-1 Pictures
Director: Ei Aoki
Series composition: Katsuhiko Takayama
Original writer: Gen Urobuchi
Music: Hiroyuki Sawano

Impressions: Yup, we’ve got a solid one here. The winner of the most creative website, and overall it’s got a really solid casting behind it with an original story by Gen Urobuchi, directed by Ei Aoki who is very consistent as a director (you may remember him from one of the Kara no Kyoukai movies and Fate Zero), the music from the guy who wrote the score for Shingeki no Kyojin and Kill la Kill (and Kalafina for the opening yay!). Yes, this is ambitious. The key deciding factor for this one will be the series composition: Gen isn’t gonna write it this time, someone else is. So who will it be? Katsuhiko Takayama, the guy who in the past adapted ef, Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, Ga-Rei Zero, Hantsuki, only to afterwards completely lose it with Boku no Pico, Asobi ni Iku Yo, Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu, Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate, Majikoi, Sasami@Ganbaranai and Dusk Maiden of Amnesia. So, the matter for this series will entirely depend on one thing: does this guy still have it? Can he still write serious stories, or has his mind been diluted too much by writing senseless crap? I mean, if that’s well, then the rest of the creators can make something out of it. He is the one who will make or break this show.

First-Glance Potential: 75%

Glasslip

Summary: “I won’t forget the summer we met. The place was a little town tucked in between the ocean and the mountains. There, they met a transfer student. The sun is so dazzling, and the fireworks are so fleeting. A story that starts in summer that six high school students experience.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: PA Works
Director: Junji Nishimura
Series composition: Rika Sato, Junji Nishimura

Impressions: There was a time at which I worshipped Junji Nishimura, the guy behind Simoun, one of my favourite series in like, ever. Then came Kyou Kara Maou… and Nurarihyon no Mago… and Dog Days… and I really started to doubt this guy… however this time, I’ll bite. This guy is brilliant at original stories, which is exactly what this series is: he’s both writing and directing it so he should have an amount of control that should allow his talents to surface again after so many years (dear god, I feel old now that I realize that True Tears was already six years ago!)

First-Glance Potential: 75%

Barakamon

Summary: “The slice-of-life comedy manga centers around the ikemen (handsome) 23-year-old calligrapher Seishu Handa, who moves to the remote Gotou Islands off the western coast of Kyushu. Seishuu grew up in the city, and the manga chronicles his interactions with the people of the island, who drive tractors on public roads and don’t enter through his front door when they visit. On top of that, Seishuu’s house becomes a hangout for the island’s children.” – (Taken from AN)
Produced by: Kinema Citrus
Director: Masaki Tachibana
Series composition: Pierre Sugiura
Music: Kenji Kawai

Impressions: After many years of absence, Kenji Kawai is doing the soundtrack for another series! Awesome! And it’s quite an interesting slice of life series which really seems to be aiming to bring something new to the table. We know that it’s in able hands, with the director of Tokyo Magnitude,

First-Glance Potential: 80%

Tokyo Ghoul

Summary: “The suspense horror/dark fantasy story is set in Tokyo, which is haunted by mysterious “ghouls” who are devouring humans. People are gripped by the fear of these ghouls whose identities are masked in mystery. An ordinary college student named Kaneki encounters Rize, a girl who is an avid reader like him, at the café he frequents. Little does he realize that his fate will change overnight.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Studio Pierrot
Director: Shuhei Morita
Series composition: Chūji Mikasano

Impressions: Now this is an example of how you grab my attention. Promo art that stands out and immediately tells you that something is going to happen here. The premise may not say much, but we know that we’ve got ourselves a horror story, plus it’s made by people who are outside of the conventional anime business. The Shuhei Morita directed Freedom, which was actually a pretty good science fiction series, and he has done many other short indie films, rather than big titles. They also got an actual playwright in in order to adapt this series, rather than picking from the usual scriptwriters, and I’m really curious what difference he can bring to the table.

First-Glance Potential: 90%

Zankyou no Tokyo

Summary: “On a summer day. A massive terrorist bombing suddenly struck Tokyo. The culprits behind the act that woke up this complacent nation from its slumber, were just two boys. Now, the culprits known as “Sphinx” begin a grandiose game that encompasses all of Japan.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: MAPPA
Director: Shinichiro Watanabe
Music: Yoko Kann

Impressions: Now this series screams Noitamina, this series understood it. It’s not even that the characters are teenagers that can distract from that. Here we have a series with a skilled and famous director, lots of production behind it, looking ambitious from all sides and dealing with actual current issues that are grounded in the real world, rather than just the fantasy that most anime series are stuck at. The trailer looks and sounds excellent, and with Shinichiro Watanabe being really busy this season, this series is something to look out for!

First-Glance Potential: 95%

Space Dandy 2

Summary: ” Space Dandy is a space hunter, someone who is paid to search for new, undiscovered alien species. It’s an industry where the prize goes to the person who finds aliens the fastest. Dandy searches unknown planets for strange beings with his companions, QT the worn-out robot and Meow from Betelgeuse. Meanwhile, they’re being chased by minions of the Gogol Empire, for reasons that are still a mystery.” – (Taken from ANN)
Produced by: Bones
Chief Director: Shinichiro Watanabe
Director: Shingo Natsume

Impressions: Two Shinichiro Watanabe series in one season. Holy balls this is going to be awesome. And with Space Dandy, we already know what kind of a series it is: every single episode is different. Shinichiro Watanabe can handle two series at the time because of how much freedom he can give out with this series: every episode is basically in the hands of a group of talented people, and they’re instructed to be as creative as possible. The first season already showed that that was a great combination, as long as you don’t expect the next Cowboy Bebop. However, I do wonder what the creators have in store for closure. The second season needs that, something to really leave behind a fantastic taste.

First-Glance Potential: 100%
Posted on 17 May 2014 with categories: Random Posts

I’m not sure how many people still follow what I write because the updates have become so sparse, but from may 31st till June 9th, I’m going on a holiday to America and I’ll be visiting San Francisco and New York, so if any of you happen to live there and want to meet up: just go ahead and drop a comment. :)

Posted on 11 April 2014 with categories: Random Posts

Well, the only shows that are still set to air are that cats and dogs show and that one Shaft series, but all of the shows I cared about have aired. Here’s a quick spoiler-free overview of the series that I’m going to try and follow, and think have it in them to keep watching in order of preference:

Baby Steps: Very knowledgeable, but it still needs to deliver on the emotional level.

One Week Friends: I’m a bit on the fence on this one, but it has the potential to be really heart-warming.

Knights of Sidonia: Dystopian sci-fi that has an actually good atmosphere. Note that you need to be able to stomach 3D CG to watch this.

Hitsugi no Chaika: Lots of magic this season, but this show did it actually well by putting restrictions on its magic. Beyond that it’s got very good characters and a setting that has quite some potential for an epic yet grounded storyline.

Captain Earth: This show sets itself apart in the writing with lots of references back and forth to keep it interesting and fun. Because of that there is also a lot of potential in the characters.

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Not a moment of boredom or waste. Huge heaps of fun returning and the third season looks as strong as the others.

Ping Pong: Awesome animation, but also really well acted characters who are different, yet very fun to watch. Also Masaaki Yuasa took some cues from Osamu Dezaki.

Mushishi: Fantastic return. A truly relaxing and authentic show with deep and intelligent storylines and characters. The best of the best.

These are the series I’ll be looking out for. I have no idea how I’ll cover that in this blog, that’s going to be a matter entirely dependent on how I feel. I’ll try to at least cover Mushishi though. It deserves it.

So what are your favorites of the season after just one episode?

Posted on with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Knights of Sidonia

Short Synopsis: Our lead character has special mecha-piloting powers
Knights of Sidonia is made fully in 3D CG. At one point, quite early in the episode, the main characters breaks two of his fingers, and DAMN, that looked painful. That’s actually one of the first times that CG animation managed to elicit that. Oh, the CG still looks weird, but I can see some definite improvements over previous series. The length of each cut for example is shortened drastically when compared to other CG shows, and that really helps things from not looking as awkward as what they could have been. Really: as far as CG goes: I have seen much, much worse. Everything added together, Knights of Sidonia is actually quite good at its atmosphere: bleak and tense through the entire episode. It’s also got a very good soundtrack to back this up. It’s got some nice ideas laying around, (although it does have one shot of really pointless fanservice). I want to learn more about this series, it dropped a few hints to some very nice ideas about what life in the very distant future would be like. I want this show to explore that.
OP: Actually a good OP that a show like this deserves.
ED: A bit poppy, but it does carry the atmosphere of the episode further.
Potential: 80%

Nanaka’s Buried Treasure

Short Synopsis: Our lead character moves into a new school.
I only lasted half an episode here. I mean, this show does not feel like Noitanima at all, it’s just a bland teen rom-com with very annoying characters. Especially the male lead is bad, his dirty mind was really painful to watch, and he just kept finding new ways to annoy me. I was already afraid that this would happen, but there have been veeery few Noitamina series that were this bland and annoying to watch at the start. There might be a heart-warming story behind this, however I don’t want to watch that while being annoyed by these dumb teenagers.
OP: Bland
ED: Boring
Potential: 40%

Ping Pong

Short Synopsis: Our lead character plays table tennis.
Yeah, this is something different entiely. It’s without a doubt the series with the best animatiom of the season. Movements here are wild and vivid, like we’ve come to expect from Masaaki Yuasa. The big question though, was whether he could do something with a topic as Ping Pong. And well, first of all let me say that this episode was very different from his other first episodes. However, it was still really good in capturing its characters. Everything felt life-like, thanks to the animation, but also the dialogue and the way in which the characters talk about each other: it really shapes them and painted a very detailed picture about them in just one episode. It’s funny when it needs to be, and it doesn’t try too hard when doing so. Plus, it also knows how to keep you hungry for more. The drama also really worked, and everything here just feels very authentic. This probably won’t be the next Kaiba, but nevertheless it’s a ridiculously solid character study as expected from a few master storytellers.
OP: Yeah, this OP is awesome. Great idea and if it weren’t for Mushishi it would have easily made the best OP of the season.
ED: Absolutely gorgeous! Really if Mushishi didn’t return with the best ED ever made, this again would have easily made the best ED of the season.
Potential: 100%

Posted on 10 April 2014 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Hitsugi no Chaika

Short Synopsis: Our lead character
The genre of a boy and a girl who fight monsters using magic is very crowded. Though this one is the best incarnation in quite a while. A big difference between this show and its contemporaries is that it puts restrictions on the magic: it’s difficult to cast and you can actually see the characters struggle, rather than things being a matter of whoever having the biggest power level winning, and also using that for quite some funny jokes. It also cares for continuity (if a table gets destroyed, you have to pay for it later). It’s got the basics down. Then there are the characters, who actually are quite likable and down to earth, plus enough room for development. AND OH MY GOD IT HAS A BROTHER AND A SISTER WHO DON’T HAVE THE HOTS FOR EACH OTHER! STOP THE PRESSES, IT’S A MIRACLE!
OP: This song just doesn’t work…
ED: Not bad, there is some nice art inbetween this.
Potential: 85%

No Game No Life

Short Synopsis: Our lead character ends up in a world of games.
Basically Dog Days without the dogs or cats, this show is about a world in which all disputes have to be solved through games. The show looks great, the characters are interesting to watch. This one actually has potential. It’s not perfect, though. The big issue here is that the creators aren’t good at showing how their games progress. The main characters are supposed to be invincible, but all we see throughout the episode is them pulling Deus ex Machina winning powers out of their asses. Also, for a NEET with a communication disorder the male lead is surprisingly good at bantering, a skill that requires exactly that. It’s difficult for this series to really make me suspend my disbelief, but then again I am not the target audience for this show. It’s obvious that this is a gamer’s wet dream, an actual show where games become reality. However, what makes this show special is that it doesn’t entirely glorify NEETs. When you read between the lines, it’s clear that these two NEET are social failures and that this series really is about escapism. That’s not something you get out of every NEET-series.
ED: Nice eye candy.
Potential: 75%

Black Bullet

Short Synopsis: Our lead character fights monsters with magic.
Ooh, Black Bullet actually shows that the creators of the anime put in effort: the soundtrack is great, it has a few small details that were quite funny, the acting is nice. It’s just a shame that when you look past that and into the big picture, you’ll start to see problems. For this show, I have no idea what is going to make it worth watching in the long run. It’s just a show about killing big monsters with superpowers. The characters show no hints of upcoming development, there is no mystery, there is nothing that really makes you hungry for more, beyond this boring dead parents plot thread, but it’s all just so inconsequential.
OP: An actually good opening, surprising.
Potential: 65%

Posted on with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Fuuun Ishi Dai Shogun

Short Synopsis: Our lead character kicks ass and is a virgin.
Um… Okay. I have to confess here: I laughed at this series quite a bit. This show really is the creators just jerking around and not taking themselves seriously at all. Everything in this series was just hamming it up, from start to finish. While this looked like a random samurai show with fighting can be more classified as a comedy with lots of fighting, sex jokes, freaking mechas that appear from out of bloody nowhere, ninjas and people who look like samurai. What saves this show from its contemporaries is that it can actually be funny, and the sex jokes are equally putting men and women down, objectifying them both. I’d say, go for this one if you like crass and unashamed comedy, for one episode and one episode only. Yeah, I’m not in the delusion that this will remain funny for long. This looked like a show where the best jokes were spent in the first episode. One random detail: the soundtrack is surprisingly good for some weird reason.
OP: Bland J-Rock, that’s the best you can think of?
Potential: 45%

Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka

Short Synopsis: Our lead character geht zu Deutschland um kaffee zu bedienen.
This show has one aim, and one aim only: being as cute as humanly possible. It doesn’t succeed, but at least puts in a bit of effort: it’s just a dumb series about a bunch of girls talking to each other and nothing more, but the banter has its amusing moments. Of course it also has plenty of moments that are just bad, like how one of the characters walks around in her underwear for no reason whatsoever. At times it gets a bit too dumb for its own good, and I’m not going to continue watching this, but I uess it’ll make a few slice of life fans quite happy.
OP: Meh, generic J-pop again.
ED: Really badly sung
Potential: 30%

Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushi

Short Synopsis: Our lead character marries a king of a rich country.
Ooh, this has been a long while: an actual shoujo adventure series. After Fushigi Yuugi this was a genre that for a few years enjoyed some real popularity, but it has nearly died out during the past years. So of course it’s up to the director of Fushigi Yuugi to finally do something new again. Having said that though: I watched a few episodes of it and didn’t continue with it due to how incredibly stupid some of the characters were. In Fushigi Yuugi this was the main female lead, though in Soredemo it’s the cast of side characters. The main character isn’t exactly bright or anything, but she does have charisma: she’s interesting to watch and I see potential for her to become a balanced character. However, I do have to say that when you compare this series to the big ones: Ashita no Nadja, Twelve Kindoms, Saiunkoku Monogatari, Kaleido Star, Glass Mask… yeah it really is shallow. But heck, if this can revitalize the genre and allow the shoujo genre to reach its former depth again, then I’m all in!
ED: Quite a lazy ED with a boring song
Potential: 50%

Posted on with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

And here is a collection of really quick impressions for the shows that I really can’t be arsed to really write much about.

Dragonar: random harem crap with a nonsensical premise.

Mangaka-san to Assistant-kun: this is just crap. The lengths that creators go to to get girls to grope themselves. I especially hate how the creators treat it like it’s the most normal thing to do.

Daimidaler: this show… it’s by far the single worst show of the season. Dear god, did I actually see this show that completely and unashamedly glorifies groping every single women you lay your eyes on? Seriously Japan? Fanservice is one thing, but this show actually promotes sexual harrassment

Kamigami no Asobi: Those male transformation sequences… And oh my god, these bishies are so pretty that flowers spontaneously bloom in their vicinities. I know that this show uses existing tropes and all, but the way in which it carries them further than everreaches the point where it looks so bad that it becomes funny. And OH MY GOD THEY ACTUALLY HAVE A PINK FLUFFY PEGASUS. Yeah, definitely so bad it’s hilarious territory, although that won’t last beyond one episode.

Brynhildr‘s main character is so impulsive that he has no control over his actions and can’t even wait for a bit while checking out a girl who resembles a girl he knew ten years ago. Could have had potential, but I got turned off by the fanservice, awkward acting and the school setting. The OP’s good though.

Kanojo ga Flaw wo Orareta‘s lead has the same problem as Brylhildr (seriously have some creativity dammit!), but at least she’s aware of her own actions. This show is a lot weirder than what I thought it would be. This show plays with irony, but it’s laying it on really heavy here. This feels like a worse version of Noucome.

Soul Eater Not: What have they done to you?! It’s so generic! Everything here is blatantly uninspired and bland! What did Soul Eater ever do to deserve this?

Posted on 6 April 2014 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Captain Earth

Short Synopsis: Our lead character must use Captain Earth to protect the planet from evil aliens!
This show gets it: what makes a great opening episode. I’ve mentioned hinting many times before, and the creators here are really good at that. The entire episode just kept hinting at stuff over and over again, either to things that it would showcase a few minutes later, but also enough hints about the course of the rest of the show, about the different characters, the villains. This really was the kind of episode that made me excited to see more about this show, to learn more about the characters, and to find out how the setting works here. That’s pretty good for a show that at first sight deems like a generic mecha series. On top of that, this series also really knows that it’s an anime, and you can see a lot of stuff being said inbetween the lines, with nonverbal communication. This episode was very compact and it used that time optimally to show as much about the different characters as it could, including a short flashback. The soundtrack is excellent as well. If it can keep this up then this will be a killer.
ED: Boring song, and I hope that next week we’ll get more than a black screen
Potential: 90%

One Week Friends

Short Synopsis: Our lead character meets a girl in high school
Wheee…. another high school series… how exciting… what an original setting…. Sarcasm aside, One Week Friends at the very least is a good show about dating. It shows the main couple spending time together, there is a visible chemistry between them, rather than them being totally not a match, their conversation feels quite natural. Really, the only thing I can really fault it is being boring. Really, I’m nust not in the mood for watching a show that’s entirely about the romance of a bunch of high school kids, but for what it did, it did a pretty good job. So because of that it’s a good thing that the second half brought in a bit of interesting and surprisingly good drama, and the success of this series will depend entirely on how they’ll use the main gimmick of this series. If we’re just going to watch the same episode over and over again, this will obviously become a failure. However if they continue to challenge all characters involved in different ways, then this can actually become something.
OP: Nice art.
ED: A good ending that actually segues in from the end of the episode. Finally another series that gets it.
Potential: 75%

Shoutbox

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  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 04:14 PM)
    You don’t buy and play final fantasy 7 only so you can gamble on the chocobo races if you know what I mean.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 04:12 PM)
    @K-Off, hey the Sims I get. The Sims lets you play god and raise a family so that at the height of there glory asnd happiness you can burn them to the gound.
    This is paying to do something that is pretty much indistinguishable from doing the exact same thing in real life.
  • k-off
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 04:05 PM)
    @Aidan You also have people today, dumping tons of money into Sims games.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 01:53 PM)
    *virtual
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 01:52 PM)
    Actually that just blows my mind. Think about it. In SAO there are people, people who pay monthly subscription fees who when in a MMO spend their time at a virual bar, drinking virual beer while watching a virual tv show.
    ….really?
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 01:11 PM)
    @Bam, That wasn’t live TV. That was a TV show that was in the MMO. Yes, a tv show which is broadcast and filmed in a MMO. You may put faces to palms now.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 01:06 PM)
    @Aidan: I haven’t watched it past episode 2 but I gather from you guys that there are two deathgun guys, one of them which is the RL killer. So I’m saying how did he kill that guy that was being interviewed on live tv in the 1st episode?! Makes no fuckin sense.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 01:02 PM)
    Seriously this show….f*ck this show. We both are eager to drop it. But we are waiting for Grisaia to start up so we can watch that together.
    And yet it’s still getting praised…I am truly baffled.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 12:56 PM)
    Funny enough that isn’t even the worse of it. The last episode consisted of Ass-chan and trapito(Our pet names for the two) sitting in a cave talking. Mostly about stuff that has already happened or been gone over. All while being…weirdly intimate. I mean this is the girl whos sorta tsundere and she’s laying her head on his lap and he’s invading her personal space. They weren’t even talking about anything remotely romantic.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 12:51 PM)
    So how did second death gun break in while leaving no traces, shoot this guy while leaving no traces and leave without raising suspicion despite wearing a f*cking hoody and a helgast mask?

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

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