Posted on 18 April 2015 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Kyoukai no Rinne

Short Synopsis: A girl encounters a grim reaper who solves people’s ghost problems.

I said before that seeing as this is from the maker of ranma 1/2 and inuyasha that this will likely feel dated in this current era of anime. I can now say that I was absolutely correct. This wouldn’t look out of place at all if airing beside sailor moon and Yu Yu Hakusuo. Even if the animation is better and art cleaner. Its both a plus and a minus for it as it does give it retro charm but also brings back the cliches and exaggerated comedy of yesteryear. This really just shows to me that the mangaka hasn’t changed, for better or worse. The episode itself is fine but frankly I am not set on jumping into a series likely to drag on and on.

Potential: 30%

 

Yamada-kun to Nana nin no Majo

Short Synopsis: A boy switches bodies with a girl and both go through the school day.

The episode was decent but there is a major warning flag. This episode adapted 7 chapters of manga and there seems to be plans to go to chapter 70 with one cour. This my friends, has never ever turned out well for any studio who attempted it. Which makes me wonder why some believe they will pull it off differently. Sure I said this story tends to drag a bit but this isn’t the solution. Prepare for pacing issues galore. Which is a shame because the points they did animate faithfully were done well. Perhaps they could somehow manage to make it watchable but I expect this to unravel fast. The same studio is working on Arslan, so I hope they don’t plan to rush that as well.

Potential: 30%

 

Ore Monogatari!!

Short Synopsis: A gentle giant falls for a girl.

Far too much Piano. I understand its a great instrument for conveying emotion but can we use it a little bit less? The selling point of this show is the untypical main character and it works. Its nice to see a character design often used as a low level enemy for the hero to defeat and impress the girl instead be likeable lead. Though he is made stupid for comedic effect but at least he’s well intentioned. The comedy is decent but the romance…well. Let’s just say it’s like shoving your mouth full of sugar. Its nice but very sickening. Watching as the background goes to the void and two characters stare at each other for a length of time that would make any person greatly uncomfortable. But I am watching this still and may even finish it so it must have some draw. However as mentioned before this story caps off quite early and I have no idea how the author would go on after that point that could be entertaining.

Potential: 50%

Posted on with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku

Short Synopsis: A girl joins a school with supernatural battles between clubs.

A main character who is a lesbian gamer? You have my attention. She does tiptoe between endearing and ingratiating but she’s interesting. Even if she suffers from hyperactive delusions that I find Shoujo female leads often have. The animation is decent though jumping ahead to the second episode gets spotty in action sequences. The story is reminiscence of the first episodes of Kill la Kill though a little less over the top. The comedy is hit or miss. Some jokes fall right off the mark while others are amusing at least. One joke had me laughing out loud so points for that. Main detracting factor is that the story is rather typical but its rather enjoyable.

Potential: 60%

 

Houkago no Pleiades

Short Synopsis: A star loving girl becomes a magical girl.

So this is anime sponsored by car maker Subaru. A factoid that I missed in my preview of it. My fault but I really do think that is ridiculously strange. That a car company thinks a great method of advertisement would be to sponsor an anime in a genre aimed primarily at children. Who cannot buy a car, let alone drive one. Overall there isn’t anything particularly bad or notable. But the way that the flying wands sound like racing car engines is so out of place that I will never get accustomed to it. The obvious awkward CG during flying sequences is another issue. The characters are alright and the animation is fairly good. Its a decent watch for a magical girl fan.

Potential: 40%

 

Kekkai Sensen

Short Synopsis: Our protagonist joins a group who keeps a supernatural new York safe.

What is it about Bones and placing pointless mascot characters in their works? There was the balloon squirrell, the parrot, the sloth, the yellow fox and now a super fast monkey. Are these some marketing decision to help sell plush toys? So far we have vibes of Baccano in the music and darker than black in the setting. I find it difficult to judge. The villain is trying too hard to be crazy and the main characters aren’t proving to be distinctive. The structure of the episode could put people off as there a flash forward to what looks to be the end of the series, a jump to present, a flashback, present, flashback…its not giving you time to get your bearings. The action is good though I think the names of supermoves appearing on screen is a bit too Kill la Kill. There are some hints of potential but so far I am not sold.

Potential: 50%

Posted on with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan

Short Synopsis: Haruhi without Aliens, time travelers or espers.

I certainly watched something. And that something wasn’t Haruhi. Sure the characters look similar and bare the same names but are so different they may as well be different people altogether. Kon isn’t narrating or being a deadpan snarker. Nagato is nothing like her counterpart. Asakura isn’t being a psycho smiling doll and green hair isn’t laughing her head off at everything. Only one who’s the same is Mikuru but maybe because she’s the only one that didn’t need to be Moefied. I said before that I don’t see the point of this and I still don’t. Really this just looks like an attempt to capitalise on Haruhi’s success by turning it into something blander and more forgettable. Sure you could write me off saying that I don’t like it because its different but quite frankly this story could be done without using Haruhis characters. Change the character designs and few would make the connection. The point is, that judging it as a standalone anime this is nothing significant at all.

Potential: 10%

 

Highschool DxD BorN

Short Synopsis: I watch this for the plot.

Oh you shameless vixen. I want to hate you and yet I cannot. High school DxD brings what it has brought for two seasons before. Boobs and butts and bare bones animated action. I think its it not that fun being an anime fan if you can’t enjoy something stupid every now and again. And this show is stupid in spades and shows it proudly. I just wish the animators could put a little more effort into the action pieces. With two assuming successful seasons you would think there would be a budget for beefing up the battles. But perhaps that went to another area… So purely for the interests of science I will watch it to its conclusion.

Potential: 0%

 

Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha ViVid

Short Synopsis: A girl receives her first magical device as a mysterious woman is attacking people in town.

This looks to have the same problem as Nanoha Strikers. Namely characters from previous seasons are dragging down the story. These characters have already completed their arcs so adding them in just amounts to fan service. This results in the cast being bigger than it needs to be and complicating the story because it needs to involve all these characters. Nanoha is best kept simple and fun. The previous seasons were not known for epic storytelling after all. But it is interesting that Vivio is a magical girl that focuses mainly on physical attacks and close range fighting. It differentiates her from her mother who was more a long range fighter. The character designs are a little rough on the eyes but animation looks solid. Its hard to gauge so far but it does have that fluffy easy going atmosphere of the original.

Potential: 50%

Posted on 13 April 2015 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Etotama

Short Synopsis: The cat wants to become part of the Chinese Zodiac

Now this is odd. I originally pegged this as a harem anime but it seems its a harem/supernatural battle anime. Not scoring points in the change though. But here’s the thing, the battles are a remarkably clever use of CG. The characters change into a chibi look making them easier to animate and distinguishing them from the main style. By making the battles take place in another world it allows the transition to be more natural than simply switching between the two. The CG is also remarkably impressive. The battle was fluid and dynamic with it actually being difficult to see if it was actually CG animated at times. A truly inventive way to incorporate CG into anime. But that’s where my praise ends. While  basing the animal girls on the chinese zodiac is intriguing the fact is that the girls are annoying and the comedy is flat. It relies on the typical, “stupid person does something stupid, straight man points out they did something stupid” method. It also breaks the fourth wall a couple of times. The problem with this is the same problem I have with punchline. I can’t discern whether I am supposed to take this seriously or not. Comedy wise I thought it was amusing how the girls of the Zodiac kept asking people to recite the Zodiac and half the girls getting depressed because no one can remember the second half of it. Take note that I found it amusing, not funny. Overall I find the comedy to counter the battle which I could possibly get invested in if it wasn’t undermined afterwards by stating it was all a ploy to endear the protagonist. I am disappointed that such great use of CG was placed in a show such as this. I at least hope these animator take their work to more worthwhile shows because this to me is the kind of quality CG in anime should aim for.

OP: Peppy and upbeat

Potential: 30%

 

Shokugeki no Soma

Short Synopsis: A boy can make woman beg for his cooked meat.

Well…Did I mention this manga was made by a former Hentai artist? Before in the manga the reactions to food were pretty ridiculous but now animated takes them to new levels of absurd. Almost as if the protagonist slipped in fifty aphrodisiacs into the plate but even then I doubt anyone would react to food with such blatant sexual excitement. If I am wrong then well I better take up a cooking class. Well besides that odd quirk this is pretty standard shounen with a school setting incoming and the old elite group to take on. As some commenters have mentioned, you can find some enjoyment in it’s absolute ridiculousness. There is a certain charm to it’s complete over the top serious attitude to food. Making it the end all of all conflicts. It’s the usual thing in anime to over dramatize the subject in order to make it more visually interesting. Even one of my favorite animes, Hajime no ippo makes use of this with punches that sound like jet turbines and visual air bursts from each strike. But this is just too much for me. I even had to turn down the sound of this anime because I thought that anyone who heard it would assume I was watching pornography.

Potential: 0%

 

Plastic Memories

Short Synopsis: Our protagonist works as a retriever of robots at the end of their life span.

I hate love at first sight. When you cut out the ‘romance’ of it the idea becomes superficial. Determining that you are in love based on first sight means you essentially judged her entirely by her looks and this line of think has lead many into terrible relationships. When compared to a relationship formed through shared experiences and interaction its clear which of the two is the stronger. But alright besides the typical boy meets girls setup, I at least appreciate the lack of a school setting and a rather unique premise. In terms of how it is handles I say they are going the right way with this. Using a robots end of life span as an allegory for acceptance of death is smart and it is touching to see characters say goodbye to their loved ones. On those aspects you have a perfect show for generating tears. The main problem with it being that it’s very easy to go overboard with it and attempt to make it as melodramatic as possible. But that isn’t the only potential problem with this show. Despite the characters working they are still teenagers which honestly I don’t understand as to why that is. The most annoying by far is the stereotypical tsundere character. Girl, even if you think you are being something original, I have seen you a hundred times before and most likely will a hundred times again. The comedy is just at complete heads with it’s premise. We have a great moment of a grandmother saying goodbye to her little girl andriod only to follow it up with a joke about the female character pissing herself cause she drunk too much tea. Pick a side because you are not going to hit two birds with one stone. There are lots of ways this could go wrong and I already see a future development with the partner andriod thats so foreshadowed that they might as well spill the beans. But assuming this can avoid the trappings that Okada often falls in and kept the slapstick comedy to a minimum then this could be something.

Potential: 60%

 

Posted on 11 April 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Some Quick First Impressions

Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka

Short Synopsis: Our protagonist wants to be an RPG pimp

I am getting SAO reminders already. Let me talk about something for a moment. You see when I first played the game dark souls I was frustrated and angry at myself because of my own failings. But then I worked hard. I learned the enemy tells, figured out how to balance my stats, learned what was useful to what was not. I got good, nay, I got great. And when I struck the final blow on the last boss I knew that I got here from my accumulated effort, by challenging myself and now I could carry that experience into other games with pride. Now I imagine if I was given an ability that doubled my stat growth from the get go, handed all the best equipment and basically given regenerating health. Even if I steamrolled through the game my victory would be hollow. Because I didn’t earn it. I won not because of me, but rather because of what was given to me. It is for this reason that power fantasy such as this show does not interest me. Our protagonist has three girls already interested in him, an outright broken skill that gives him huge stat grown and the over powered equipment is coming. So with that out of the way, the writing is flimsy and contrived, that goddess girl is more annoying than I remember from the manga and the setting is just an rpg game. I will pass on this.

Potential: 0%

 

Denpa Kyoushi

Short Synopsis: A Otaku traumatises three girls for life to teach a life lesson.

Perhaps calling this a poor man’s GTO was a bit generous. It does have the same setup but the protagonist is certainly less likeable. Its hard to get on the side of the gifted prodigy who couldn’t care less about using his talent for anything besides otaku interests. Even worse when he’s a Gary sue who knows everything. It is odd that despite his actions being portrayed as heroic for giving bullies payback, his method seemed rather villainous. I mean the bullies did do something too far but threatening to publish all their personal information on the net, even as a joke, is going way too far. The character designs are not really pleasing and animation is fairly passable. But this is looking weaker than the manga. Or simply the flaws of the manga are getting illuminated.

OP: Very very annoying.

Potential: 40%

 

Arslan Senki

Short Synopsis: A young prince faces the task of inheriting his father’s throne.

This starting episode sets up a solid base for the remainder of the series. Two factions of different beliefs each with pros and cons. Motivations for what seem to be future important players. Excellent animation and art. Topped off with a persian arabic high fantasy setting. The main character is rather stereotypical but has much room for growth. The designs make it very clear that fullmetal alchemists author is in place though she didn’t write the original story. One negative however is the poor CG. Its understandable considering the number of people fighting on screen but it does look like rusty robots in motion at times. There are small pans which use CG as well which don’t look very natural. High fantasy is not often seen in anime nowadays so if this plays it’s cards right we may be looking at a potential highlight of the year.

Potential: 90%

Posted on 10 April 2015 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Punchline

Short Synopsis: A guy whose spirit has been separated from his body

As I expected from just looking at the director and the studio’s pedigree from the last three or four years, this show rehashes stereotypes and fails to distinguish itself from the wacky comedies of the past. Because I’m rather tired of this genre at this point, this first episode needed to impress me, but it unfortunately did not–through its crappy soundtrack and generic set of uninteresting characters.

Potential: 40%

 

Sound! Euphonium

Short Synopsis: Our protagonist joins the brass band

Judging from the first episode, it’s just another music anime, and seems like a dull series I really don’t have much to say about at this point. Seems like a copy/paste of Hanayamata’s formula.

Potential: 30%

 

Triage X

Short Synopsis: Half naked women go around acting like the Thought Police

I hope you like fan-service, because unless you do, there is no enjoyment in this show for you. A terrible premise? Check. Blatant fan-service? Check. Yeah, I’m not going to bother watching this one. The manga was written by the writer of Highschool of the Dead, so I guess fan-service is kind of his thing, but at least Highschool of the Dead was entertaining in that it brought a genre of horror we hadn’t seen very much in those days into anime. This is just…stale and nonsensical.

Potential: 10%

Posted on 5 April 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Some Quick First Impressions

Gunslinger Stratos

Short Synopsis: Our protagonist falls into an alternate world full of trigger happy people.

I am fairly certain that Gen is not writing this. You can see part of him in the concept but not anywhere else. The episode gave me a mixed impression. I hate the characters and find the main to be too much of a “Ordinary highschool student.” The action of the episode was quite good and I like the matter of dealing with alternate worlds even if in practice it’s a very bad idea. The art felt off at points as there were points when the protagonist turned his head and his face just looked strange and not proportionate. One thing that assures me that Gen is not the writer is the few lines which were embarrassingly awful. Two examples of which being when the main and female love interest encounter a blood soaked body and proceed to ask it if it’s ok. And this funny exchange of words

“No, that was an explosion!”

“An explosion? What do you mean?”

“I don’t know.”

I would like to think of this as a translation error. Or at least I hope it is. I am willing to give it another episode but I don’t see this becoming something worthwhile.

Potential: 40%

 

Seraph of the end

Short Synopsis: Our protagonist wants to kill all vampires

This show has a number of parallels to attack on titan. It would be a lie to say it was exactly the same as it does at least differentiate itself enough in setting and story. However if there is one thing I wish this show would have avoided that was a major negative of Attack on titan.  Namely the lack of subtlety. Seraph of the end is told so heavy handed with pretty much everything shoved in your face. So much so that the ever so predictable tragedy that came at episode’s end left me sighing. But while I feel the execution is poor I do like the ideas here. There is a good bit of potential in this story. However there are harbingers of decay in the future, namely this “Prophecy” mentioned and the worst thing that always cripples story potential, a school setting. Though really I am rather cautious because this was essentially the setting up episode and the next episode is likely the true beginning. I have a firm suspicion that this will go downhill very fast. But provided that it can restrain itself a bit and move the story as far away from that school as possible this could be something.

Potential: 50%

 

Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. Zoku

Short Synopsis: The cynical adventures of captain buzzkill and his crew

There is a noticeable upgrade in art and animation. Though one complaint I have in that department is that Hikigaya looks like he’s been bishied up a bit. The pacing does look quick and I noticed moments were it seemed that scenes were cut out altogether. That said I don’t think anything cut out looked significant. One of my major concerns about this season has not yet been put aside. That being that harem antics overtaking the plot. I question as to why these girls pretend to show disdain for hikigaya despite their affection for him being maxed out. But admittedly not much has changed from the first season. Hikigaya’s cynical disposition and snark is delightful as ever as how the other characters play off him. (Though for once I would like to see a fujoshi character whose main purpose is not a one note joke) The first episode at least promises more of what made the first season enjoyable which is fine by me.

OP: The guitar riff is catchy and the tune is pleasant. The visuals colours are somewhat washed out but nice use of geometric shapes and stripes.

Potential: 80%

Posted on 1 April 2015 with categories: Anime Reviews

When you see a harem anime and sigh as the breasts of the female lead jiggle with every step and wind that can flip a skirt it’s easy to forget that somewhere in Japan a group of people worked hard to get that jiggle right and draw each frame of animation. The hardships of the animation studio are a tough one as they could be demonized for putting in a recap due to production problems or tossed under the train tracks because of a small miscommunication between people. Shirobako is an anime I overlooked because I saw it as typical moe fluff with just glancing at it. Yet it’s the anime that gave me an appreciation for the hard work that goes into my weekly shows. I say this now. Shirobako should be required viewing for any fan of the medium. For it is a well served humble pie to the arrogantly ignorant.

In fact it may be useful for those even not into anime. Shirobako presents the animation workplace and all the trials and tribulations that appear in not only anime production but in every workplace in general. As a working man I can relate to Aoi’s starry eyed leave from school, only to discover the mundanity of the job. Or Shizuka’s powerlessness as she attempts to get a job but is put aside due to a lack of experience. Shirobako has a lot of truths about working life that school doesn’t teach. Like the most important lesson of all, in any job there is a Tarou. There is always a Tarou. That guy who somehow bluffed his way into a job he can’t do, never gets fired and pretty much does nothing but make your life more difficult. Out of the five main girls there’s bound to be one that encounters something you will, or have faced. And it presents it with cynical wit and lighthearted tone making it an addictive experience.

But I am not here to lavish praise for I am a critic and thus must critique. Do I even need to comment on how unlikely it is that five cute girls enter anime production? Its clear that a number of girls here have been added for the moe factor. The most grievous offender being a artist who is so shy she requires another person to interpret what she says through a series of small utterings. Though I do relate to the struggles the main five goes through I find that they are not interesting characters. When the story moves away from the animation process and focuses on daily event it becomes significantly less interesting. It doesn’t do it often but when it does things tend to get bogged down. I do feel it’s also a little bit of a optimistic filter of the animation industry but that’s a personal grip. The art and animation is up to PA works standards and for once I think the photo realistic backgrounds don’t seem out of place when compared to the anime character models. There are also strange moments of collective hallucination which come out of nowhere and are rather off putting considering this show is set mainly in reality. Like when they are talking about a plane anime and out of nowhere the plane shows up outside and it seems like everyone sees it but then they just go back to talking like nothing ever happened. I get the intent but it just forces me to do a double take every time it happens. This last thing is definitely a nitpick but at times things in Shirobako are too animated for a show set in reality. Characters can heavily overact, mainly for comedic effect. Its hard to explain but things feel staged, when they should be natural.

There’s a lot to love in Shirobako and I am honestly truly glad that I have seen it. It teaches you a truth often forgotten. That the anime you love and the anime you hate didn’t just spring into existence. That there’s some poor souls working day and night to bring animated characters to life and show us their stories. To the animators of Japan, you have my sympathy and my respect. Though sadly if your end product is terrible, you will not have my leniency.

Posted on 22 March 2015 with categories: Seasonal Previews

A new year means new anime and I can say that this year looks to have a better lineup than the last. There are quite a few hopefuls this season. I can see a number of these turning out to be surprise hits. That is of course if they are handled properly. Of course there is the usual trash that gets made every season but at least I can look at the season and be glad that there isn’t a incest focused anime. Maybe that annoying fad has finally died out.

As I said before, I am not psgels. So the anime preview this time will go a little differently. I don’t really see the value of checking the staff unless there’s someone remarkably notable. My impressions here are mainly based on Promo impressions, my view of the source material and either the authors or studios previous work. Also some animes have impressions from myself and co-writer K-Off.

One final thing to add. This season I will blog three anime. Two will be if my choosing. I leave the third in your hands. The link below leads to a poll which contains each anime in this season. (Fate is excluded because I will blog that no matter what. And unfortunately I had to remove a few sequels/not a chances and such as the poll has a limit of 30 choices but I got most of them in there) Whatever wins I will blog no matter what. So of course I trust that you won’t make me blog something like NiseKoi….yeah that would be far too cruel……have mercy….please.(Don’t use bots either. This is just a bit of fun guys) You will also notice options for a kaleidoscope if you would prefer I give an small opinion on everything. The polling closes on the air date of the first anime of this season. That’s about twenty days from now.

http://strawpoll.me/3924048

Let’s get started.

 

Series that I Don’t Look Forward To

Ameiro Cocoa

Due to various circumstances, college freshman Aoi Tokura begins part-timing at the café “Rainy Color” run by Shion Koga and owned by Kouji Amami. Attending the café are the cool and handsome Keiichi Iwase and the confident Ryouta Sakurai. Aoi’s life gets a lot more hectic, but fun.

A guy who works in a restaurant that “cool” and “handsome” guys go to? I think I see where this is going.

Baby Steps 2

Season 2 of Baby Steps.

A sports anime I have not seen the first season of and likely nowhere near an end goal. Marvelous.

Battle Spirits: Burning Soul

Buy our toys.

Diamond no Ace: Second Season

The second season of Diamond no Ace.

The same as baby steps 2. But with less interest.

Duel Masters VSR

The 11th Duel Masters series.

The first (or shall we say second if you count the zero series) is not going to be beat at this point. The 11th try is not the charm.

Dungeon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka?

The story takes place in the town of labyrinths, Orario, also called “Dungeon.” Bell Cranel is a newbie adventurer that admires “Having a fateful meeting with a person of the opposite gender.” One day during an adventure, he is attacked by a Minotaur. Close to destruction, he is saved by a top-class female adventurer, Eyes Warenstein. He falls in love with her at first sight, and begins actions to become an adventurer that is on her level. He later encounters Hestia, a god called a “Lolita god” due to her stature who falls in love with him.

I read the manga and found it to be like the growing popular genre of Reincarnation/other world novels. Unfortunately it is an example of the problems of that genre as a whole. Namely overpowering a protagonist by handing him a power that makes him untouchable. In this case it’s extra silly because this power is given to him because he got a crush on a girl. Imagine watching Dragon Ball where instead of Goku gaining strength throughout the series, he gets super saiyan right from the start. This is just poor wish fulfilment writing. Which will likely be very popular.

Etotama

The manga’s story revolves around Nya-tan, the cat of Chinese astrology who wants to become a member of the Chinese zodiac. Nya-tan is simple and suffers from memory loss, and she tries various foolish ways to become a member. She meets Takeru Tendo, a high school student who lives alone in Akihabara, and becomes a freeloader at his house. Little by little, she gets closer to her goal

Cat girls, dog girls, bunny girls…if you got a animal girl fetish it’s likely here. With what looks to be the same story every harem has. Girls gather around and fall for a faceless plank who made no effort at all. But this time it’s animal girls. Which likely has been done before but will still sell anyway. Enjoy your fruitless fantasy there buyers.

Grisaia no Rakuen

The Grisaia no Rakuen visual novel continues the Grisaia no Meikyuu visual novel’s main route and concludes the trilogy. It also includes a prologue following the five heroines as they arrive at Mihama Academy.

8-bit have you not done enough damage? You butchered the first season and even topped it off by adding the base equal of hentai with fan service specials. Can we not just had this over to someone who actually cares about the source material? Listen people. If you somehow enjoyed the first season then go and buy the games. A kickstarter to bring Grisaia’s first three games to the west was recently funded. (Yours truly was a backer) You will get something ten times better than anything these poor adaptations can give you. You even get better porn than these could give you. Don’t want porn? Well these are also going on Steam with sex scenes removed. Just don’t do the disservice of experiencing them with this anime.

Kaitou Joker 2

Second season of Kaitou Joker.

Didn’t watch the first season. No interest in the second.

 

Koukaku Kidoutai Arise: Alternative Architecture

A TV anime version of Ghost in the Shell: Arise. The first eight episodes are an edited version of the four movies while the last two are new content.

When the arise OVAS are good why is it that I am not looking forward to this? Simple. Because this is the OVAS chopped up into an anime series. I am not interested because I already seen it. There are a few new episodes getting into this but I don’t think it justifies the series.

 

Kyoukai no Rinne

As a child Sakura Mamiya mysteriously disappeared in the woods behind her grandma’s home. She returned whole and healthy, but since then she has had the power to see ghosts. Now a teenager, she just wishes the ghosts would leave her alone! At school, the desk next to Sakura’s has been empty since the start of the school year. Then one day her always-absent classmate Rinne Rokudo shows up, and he’s far more than what he seems!

From the creator of ranma 1/2, Inuyasha, and Urusei Yatsura. You know what those series had in common? A ton of episodes that went absolutely nowhere. Sure she was also behind something like mermaid forest but this story sounds to me like Inuyasha 1.5. In this day and age I think her storytelling style would be dated and uninspired.

 

Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu

This spin-off of the Haruhi Suzumiya series takes place in the world of the “Disappearance” arc of the original novels, focusing on the high school life (and romance!) of a tentative and bashful Yuki Nagato quite unlike the one you’ve come to know and love through the usual exploits of the SOS Brigade… but no less charming! As the shy head of the Literature Club, Nagato has had a hard time recruiting members. Her close friend Ryoko Asakura supports her in this. Drafting Kyon, she eventually meets up with Haruhi Suzumiya, Tsuruya, Mikuru Asahina and Itsuki Koizumi, and has to put up with their hijinks while trying to romance Kyon. Asakura seems ambivalent about the latter prospect.

So it’s Haruhi without aliens, time travelers or espers. So Haruhi with anything remotely original removed. What’s the point of this exactly? It’s like taking Attack on titan and putting it in a school setting…wait that exists. Well like Soul Eater without soul eating…oh right, Soul Eater Not. I don’t get the fascination of placing the characters in much blander setting. If we are going to switch genres then why not have fun with it? K-on: zombie apocalypse or Csi To love-ru. I even saw a Web comic that takes the characters of gurren lagann and puts them in a buddy cop story. That turned out to be far more entertaining than this has any chance of being. I get that the draw of this is emotional Yuki but that is only special because it’s rare for the character to have emotion. A kuudere without kuu is just another character entirely.

 

Nisekoi 2

Season 2 of Nisekoi

Somewhere around the time To Love-Ru finally gave up pretending to not be softcore porn and start putting out, a gap was made in the cocktease category of manga. That gap was then filled by Nisekoi, a soulless harem which spends it’s time teasing story development only to pull right back into the status quo and harem hijinks. All to promote the japanese dream of having five constant teases in love with you whom you cannot touch or enter any meaningful relationship with. I have actually read Nisekoi completely up to date. Why?…good question. Don’t really know myself. There’s really nothing here than more Nisekoi.  More plot less, go nowhere Nisekoi.

 

Punchline

The series follows Yuuta Iritatsu, whose spirit has been separated from his body.

K-Off’s Opinion: So from a quick glance, it seems like Yutaka Uemura is in charge of this show, so it’s definitely one reason to be hopeful about it–he’s worked as a unit director on a Gurran Lagann movie, but the kind of premise found in Punchline is stupid and honestly should be retired (it’s about a boy who will destroy the world if he sees underwear). Yutaka Uemura worked on seriously enduring shows with a long-lasting fanbase like Gurran Lagann and Blood+, but he’s not alone with MAPPA (who he’s now with) when it comes to consistently creating shows that will be as contemporary and irrelevant in a year or a few months as possible. With the exception being Kids on the Slope (which was co-produced with Tezuka Productions) in 2012, MAPPA has since churned out shows with a lot of initial potential, like Terror in Resonance, Shingeki no Bahamut, and Garo, which ultimately ended up being “meh” shows that I haven’t even gotten the need to go back for and watch seriously. Oh, and I won’t even talk about Teekyu here. So, although I don’t have a very positive outlook for anything MAPPA puts out anymore, I can guarantee that Punchline will be an entertaining watch for some of you–Bahamut and Zankyou had great production values and were initially really entertaining, although Punchline will definitely be far worse than some of the excellent over-the-top comedies that have been released over the years. This isn’t going to be your Level E or One Punch Man, Uemura.

 

PriPara 2

In season two of PriPara the story continues with Laala and her friends Mirei and Sophy, who are part of the “SoLaMi♡SMILE” PriPara idol unit, which is rising in popularity. In the PriPara amusement park, a new zone called “Dream Theater” has opened, and it’s said that when a fateful five-man team filled with charm that performs there, a new event called the “PriPara Dream Parade” will be held. However, it is not known which five people make up this team, and the PriPara idols scramble give the greatest performance in the new zone.

This would make one great horror anime with all these mutants with huge dead soulless eyes. Like walking into the doll section of a shop and seeing them stare at you. Really unnerving. Well it isn’t a horror anime but a sequel to a magical girl show. So I couldn’t care less.

 

Re-Kan!

An anime adaptation of the manga Re-Kan! has been announced. The manga centers around Hibiki Amami, a girl who can see ghosts and other supernatural phenomena in her surroundings. The stories follow her daily life with both her friends and the otherworldly.

The second series in this season about a girl who sees ghosts. However without the notable creator and a worse studio. Even if that wasn’t so this sounds like a run of the mill slice of life comedy.

Shokugeki no Souma

The anime adaptation of the Shokugeki no Souma manga that centers on Souma, who works with his dad at his family’s restaurant. His dad is a culinary master, and he often hosts cooking battles with his father. His father then enrolls him in an elite culinary school that is very difficult to enter, and the graduation rate is only about 10 percent.

I gave the manga of this a shot just recently. The story pretty much is made up of anything you seen in a shounen jump manga. A protagonist who is aiming for a goal with an unspecified road.(King of the pirates, Hokage, etc) Has a hidden talent and works hard. Challenging an elite group to a series of one on one battles. But I feel it has a hidden agenda. Actually scratch that. It’s not hidden but out in the open. For example, the first chapter has tentacle groping fanservice. The sad thing is that isn’t a joke. Girls who eat the protagonists food usually tend to become overly sexually excited and fanservice images are used to describe the foods flavor. Like “it’s as if I am being groped by angels.” That my friends, is a direct quote. Gentlemen, this manga is most certainly not about food.

 

Show By Rock!!

Metropolis of music, MIDICITY. A kitty girl wearing gothic lolita clothing named Cyan is scouted by Maple Arisugawa, the president of a music agency. From there, she meets Chuchu (a pun off of the sound that rabbits make) the honor student rabbit girl, a net geek dog girl named Retoree (from “Retriever”), and an alien sheep (?) girl named Moa. Together, they form the band named “Plasmagica,” and aim for the top of the world.However, the path there is long and tough, and keeping in high spirits is important. By battling against other strange bands, Plasmagica slowly grows toward a top-grade band. In the end, they’ll be a band that becomes the driving force of MIDICITY’s music industry… Maybe? Gonna be a music millionaire!

Etotama with music apparently. The synopsis with various animal puns is enough to make me retch.

 

Triage X

 

Mochizuki General Hospital boasts some of the most well-trained (and well-endowed) nurses in town. But though these ladies spend much of their day battling disease, their after-hours are spent fighting a very different sort of sickness… Under the leadership of the hospital chairman, a handful of staff members and local teenagers form a group of mercenary assassins, targeting the “cancers” of society and excising those individuals before their wickedness spreads.

It’s always a bad sign when your main heroines ass is more prominent in the promo image than her face. But it does get the message across well. I don’t even have to watch this show to guess what it’s about.

 

Urawa no Usagi-chan

An original anime to advertise Urawa City in Saitama, Japan. The project features eight anthropomorphic girls representing the stations in the prefecture, which have “Urawa” with their names.

An original anime to advertise Urawa City in Saitama, Japan by making the train stations into cute girls…well it might be slightly educational at least.

 

Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ Maji Love Revolutions

The third season of Uta no☆Prince-sama.

This is essentially a harem anime for females. So it’s just as worthless.

 

Series I am middling on

Denpa Kyoushi

An anime adaptation of the manga which centers around Junichirou, a young man obssesed with manga, anime and games. He was a young genius who published papers in the journals Nature and Science when he was only 17. However, after graduating college, he became a NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) absorbed in his anime blog. Unable to watch Kagami throw away his life, his sister Suzune gets him to work at the Ichou Academy she attends. The head of the school’s board, Koyomi Hiiragi, assigns Kagami to his new life as a teacher.

It’s a poor man’s Great Teacher Onizuka with a Otaku nerd instead of a gangster. That one sentence pretty much encapsulates this series as a whole. Now there nothing wrong with being a poor man’s GTO. Many manga have tried to be that and failed. Denpa Kyoushi does at least succeed in being a little entertaining. However I feel something is lost when instead of an uneducated gangster teaching life lessons through his personal experiences in life, we have some prodigy genius too into otaku culture to use his talents for anything meaningful doing the same thing. Still with the right execution this can be a watchable show.

Digimon Adventure tri

The Digimon Adventure 15th Anniversary Event announced that the characters of the first Digimon Adventure anime are returning next spring. The video shown at the end of the event described the main character Taichi as being 17 years old in high school with his Digimon partner Agumon. The sequel series will tell a “new story” “for all the ‘DigiDestined’ in the world.” “Now, [once] again, the adventure evolves.”

Digimon Adventure. That brings me back. I really liked this show as a kid and well quite a number agree that it’s a good show. Even the likes of Chiaki Konaka was a fan. They even let him write my favorite season of the show, Digimon tamers. Not sure what they were thinking letting the guy behind serial experiments lain, Texhnolyze and ghost hound of all things write a kids show but hey good for them. The big question here is whether this new show with its new cast can capture the magic of the show. Well I am willing to give it a chance for nostalgia sake.

K-Off’ Opinion: Growing up I was a little too old and therefore missed out on the whole Digimon/Pokemon hype of the early 2000’s, and only got into Digimon Adventures through playing Pokemon sometime before college. Strangely enough, as I grew older I began to strongly dislike Pokemon and appreciated Digimon Adventure’s comparatively deeper storyline, and this show will hopefully capitalize on why that was so.  If Digimon Tri does for the outdated Digimon series that Pokemon Origins did for Pokemon, I’ll be perfectly content.

 

Eikoku Ikke, Nihon o Taberu

Based on the book which follows Booth, his wife Lissen, and two kids Ansger (6) and Emil (4), on their 100-day trip to Japan as they try a wide variety of Japanese foods. Booth was inspired to make the trip by Shizuo Tsuji’s book, Japanese Cooking, A Simple Art.

I am willing to give this a chance for being different

Gintama°

A new TV anime of Gintama was announced at Jump Festa 2015.

How many seasons of this can there be at this point? Well it’s more Gintama for those who want it.

Gunslinger Stratos: The Animation

A.D. 2115—the island nation once called Japan is now known as the “17th Far East Imperial City Management District.”
The citizens were promised a life of peace in exchange for some of the comfort they were used to having. People believed their lives would never change and tomorrow will be the same as today. No one suspected the impending doom which their society was about to face.
“Degradation”—a rare disease which led to the total disintegration of the human body to a mere pile of sand was slowly but surely spreading throughout the world.
Tohru Kazasumi, an ordinary student becomes embroiled in a multi universal battle between his world and the parallel world of “Frontier S (Stratos).” This meant that Tohru must fight himself from an alternate world.
Their futures collide as their paths cross. Will both worlds ever find peace?

Video game adaptations are usually tricky business. Off the top of my head the best one I can think of is Gungrave. Story wise this does not look promising though Gen Urobuchi is credited for the story. Though I would hold my hope till I see how much he’s involved. But it may be able to deliver on the action front if it can keep the animation it has in the an promo up for a full cour.

Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic

The second season of Kiniro Mosaic.

I seem to remember a few people talking about the first season saying it was good. Maybe the second will show me why.

Hibike! Euphonium

The anime begins when Kumiko Oumae, a girl who was in the brass band club in junior high school, visits her high school’s brass band club as a first year. Kumiko’s classmates Hazuki and Sapphire decide to join the club, but Kumiko sees her old classmate Reina there and hesitates. She remembers an incident she had with Reina at a brass band club contest in junior high school…

So this is an anime where a group of girls join a club about music and if the promo is any indication, hijinks ensue. KyoAni…didn’t you make this anime already? I have long lamented KyoAni’s lack of ambition. So much like their other work this is likely forgettable fluff. But very pretty animated forgettable fluff.

High School DxD BorN

 

The third season of High School DxD.

My credibility as a blogger has likely plummeted with this. But hear me out. We all know that every season has to have that show. You know the one. The fanservice harem supernatural battle show that is a near carbon copy of the ones that came before. They are a necessary evil in this world. But the one thing that bugs me about these shows is how each one acts like it’s presenting something new and different. But then you have show like High school DxD which just said that it wanted to present a story with some action and nudity. And I find a certain charm in its honesty. This show isn’t trying to be anything more than what it is. Instead of censoring the fanservice they just show it. Instead of trying to present some been there done that story with complete seriousness it just doesn’t take itself very seriously. If we have to have this kind of garbage every season I at least would prefer it to be as enjoyable and honest as this. The first two seasons where a guilty pleasure of mine. The third is likely going to follow.

Houkago no Pleiades

So it’s a magical girl series from Gainax with a pink haired lead with a short blue haired friend, a blond girl with curls and…a long black haired girl…wait a second. Is this a Madoka wannabe? It’s only an inkling as the trailer shows no darkness but I find it odd for Gainax to come in with a magical girl show when the only other magical girl show they did was Petite Princess Yucie. Other than that this has some good animation and looks decent enough. But I am on to you Gainax. I wait for the traditional Gainax ending too.

Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha ViVid

The manga takes place four years after the JS incident in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, and stars Vivio Takamichi, a fourth-year elementary student at St. Hilde Academy of Magic. Vivio has learned to conjure her adult form and has received her own Device — named Sacred Heart — from Nanoha, and has promised Nanoha to never use either for mischief. Then a mysterious magical fighter appears and targets Vivio.

Seven Arc’s is notable absent for this entry for the Nanoha series. Possibly to prepare for dog days season four. Though I hope not. With the success of Madoka, Mahou Shoujo was given a revival which to be perfectly honest has been rather disastrous. The Madoka wannabes have been all equally awful so I for one would like to see another take on the other notable magical girl series. And with the director of the best season of Nanoha (Nanoha As) at the helm here this could be a return to form for the series. I for one would look forward to girls learning about the power of friendship by blasting each other to bits with weapons of mass destruction.

Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku

The story of the original light novels and manga revolves around high school girl Eruna Ichinomiya, who enters the Mikagura Academy dreaming of a boarding school life filled with beauty. However, Eruna finds out that in the culture clubs, there is a rule that battles that are fought with special powers decide a club representative’s treatment. Through various circumstances, Eruna becomes a representative of a club, and is thrown into the fray.

Why is it always a school? Why is it always a club? Do the japanese truly value their school life so much? Cause I remember school and I truly wish I didn’t. My life got a whole lot better once I left school and I never looked back. Now when I have to listen to someone prattle on and on I can at least say I am getting paid for it. Still even with the most stereotypical of settings a show can work if the plots good enough.

Narudoma

The “unorthodox hard surreal gag” comedy centers around the narcissistic (narushi na) Hagito and the masochistic (domazo na) Kei. Together they are “Narudoma.”
Hagito is a handsome yet pitiful man with a loli complex. Anytime, anywhere, a mirror is his constant companion. Surrounding him are a host of highly idiosyncratic characters: the diehard masochist Kei, the unnaturally strong yet girlish Totono, the exceedingly stylish working stiff Saitou, and the extraordinarily negative Roku. Even the one normal guy has his own issues

Comedy has never been a strong point for me in anime. This does have good points of having a wacky setup of characters but if this is the kind of comedy where one person does something stupid and then another points it out, then this will not be very amusing.

Ore Monogatari!!

Takeo Gouda is a giant guy with a giant heart. Too bad the girls don’t want him! (They want his good-looking best friend, Sunakawa.) Used to being on the sidelines, Takeo simply stands tall and accepts his fate. But one day when he saves a girl named Yamato from a harasser on the train, his (love!) life suddenly takes an incredible turn!

Points for having a protagonist who isn’t an average high school student. I read the first three chapters and can say I found it an rather heartwarming story. Its by no means a masterpiece but I can see myself putting time into it despite my utter despise for the Shoujo genre. The one thing that worries me is that the chapter I stopped at essentially capped off the story. I don’t see how it could continue after that and still be entertaining.

Owari no Seraph

The story takes place in a world where an unknown virus has killed the entire human population except for children. Those children were then enslaved by vampires. The manga centers on Yuichiro Hyakuya, a human who dreams of becoming strong enough to kill all vampires.

The warning signals are abundant. I see a school setting with potential haremettes in the mix. Not to mention with the protagonists declaration to kill all vampires I cannot help but be reminded of Attack on Titan. It also does not help that the animation studio making this are the ones who made Attack on Titan. This could be the first of the Titan wannabes. While I find vampires to be downgrade, the animation in the promo is impressive and I wish that this will at least break out on its own merits. However I am highly skeptical that it will do so.

Plastic Memories

This story takes place in a future not too far away when androids that look exactly like humans begin to spread across the world. The android production company SA Corp. produced Giftia, a new kind of android that has the most amount of emotion and human-like qualities out of any other model ever seen. However, due to problems in technology, the androids have a service life, and once they pass that, they… Well, it gets pretty bad. For this reason, SA Corp. creates a terminal service in order to retrieve Giftia that have gone past their service life. A new employee at the terminal service named Tsukasa Mizugaki forms a team with the Giftia Isla to retrieve the other androids, but…

This show has a premise with a large amount of potential but several warning signs. The first being that the cover image is of a cute girl. The promo does not inspire hope either. This is my wishful thinking that this may turn out to be more than it appears.

Yamada-kun to Nananin no Majo

Ryu Yamada is a second year student at Suzaku High. Ryu is always late for school, naps in class and gets abysmal grades. His life is a dead bore. The beautiful Urara Shiraishi, on the other hand, is Suzaku High’s brightest student. One day, without explanation, their bodies are swapped! Ryu ends up in Urara’s body, and Urara in Ryu’s.

I have read up to date with the manga and found it passable. The nature of the witch powers is somewhat interesting and the comedy can hit the occasional funny joke. I have dropped it and picked up the story a couple of times mainly due to dwindling interest. Its from the same author who did Yanki-kun to Megane-chan which is another manga I was mildly interested in but dropped and never looked back. So the main problem is whether the anime can keep people’s attention for a full season. In truth even if it succeeds I see this as an anime that you will enjoy but won’t leave an impact on you.

K-Off’ Opinion: Now around this time last year, I picked up reading the manga for Yamada-Kun to Nananin no Majo, and found it a pretty below average shonen comedy. I ultimately ended up dropping it pretty quickly because it was just too formulaic, not to mention it also turned terribly stale after 2-3 arcs into the story. So, I predict this show being somewhat watchable for the first few episodes and drying up pretty soon afterwards.

 

Series that I Do Look Forward To

Arslan Senki

The mangas story: In the prosperous kingdom of Pars lies the Royal Capital of Ecbatana, a city of splendor and wonder, ruled by the undefeated and fearsome King Andragoras. Arslan is the young and curious prince of Pars who, despite his best efforts, doesn’t seem to have what it takes to be a proper king like his father.
At the age of 14, Arslan goes to his first battle and loses everything as the blood-soaked mist of war gives way to scorching flames, bringing him to face the demise of his once glorious kingdom. However, it is Arslan’s destiny to be a ruler, and despite the trials that face him, he must now embark on a journey to reclaim his fallen kingdom.

Well it’s high fantasy manga by the author of fullmetal alchemist based on a series of novels called The Heroic Legend of Arslan. Do I really need to say more? I read the first two chapters of the manga and find it very promising. My only issue is that the manga and novels are both still ongoing so this likely will not have a satisfactory ending in one cour.

 

Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works 2nd Season

The 2nd season of ufotable’s adaptation of the Unlimited Blade Works route of Fate/stay night. Set to air in April 2015.

Well now. For what possible reason could I be looking forward to this show? The high production values? The story? The fact that I have been a long time type moon fan and the first season was the very reason I started blogging here in the first place? Yes I think it should be rather obvious. This season will be the climax filled end the holy grail war. So naturally I am blogging it and naturally I am foaming at the mouth in anticipation.(That promotional image is also truly artistically beautiful)

 

Kekkai Sensen

A breach between Earth and the netherworlds has opened up over the city of New York, trapping New Yorkers and creatures from other dimensions in an impenetrable bubble. They’ve lived together for years, in a world of crazy crime sci-fi sensibilities. Now someone is threatening to sever the bubble, and a group of stylish superhumans is working to keep it from happening.

Bones has been in a slump ever since “Heroman” and I do want them to come back with something. Kekkai earns points for having what looks to be no teenagers in the cast and the promo has style. True the super powered team facing a monster threat is hardly original but maybe with some Bones character building this could work.

K-Off’ Opinion: The idea behind this story seems pretty similar to that of every anime in its genre, save for the slightly more interesting premise of mixed fantasy which takes place in New York City–which is my home city. I don’t know anything about this manga as I hadn’t heard about it until now, but it’s supposedly written by the author of Trigun so I can at least hope for some semblance of originality. I know Bones is perfectly capable of producing quality anime, so I’ll have to withhold judgment for later, although honestly the only reason I’m even looking forward to this anime is because it takes place in NYC.

Lupin III (2015)

The story of the new series will take place in Italy and San Marino.

I never watched the original Lupin the third. I have seen the Mine Fujiko anime and while Okada had her usual over dramatic breakdowns in it, I found myself intrigued to see the original show. Its also referenced everywhere within anime and manga so being an anime veteran I feel it is my sworn duty to watch it. Then I see it has well over two hundred episodes and the same reason as to why I have not watched one piece to this day comes up yet again. That episode count is daunting and I have never seen a show that had that many episodes that retained it’s quality throughout. So I am hoping this 2015 version can give me the cliff notes as to what the big deal is.

 

Sidonia no Kishi: Daikyuu Wakusei Seneki

Season 2 of Sidonia no Kishi.

The first season of Sidonia had the element of surprise. I expected nothing of it and was given so much more. The second season does not have that luxury so can it deliver again? There were sidestepped pitfalls in the first season that the second could very well fall into and become something inferior. There are plenty of ways this can go wrong. Yet I hope that is not the case. The first season left threads that could lead to exciting developments this season. I hope that they can tie up these threads with care. I also hope the CG animation has improved to prevent those uncanny valley moments.

Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. Zoku

Second season of Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru.

The first season of Yahari took a cynical approach to a tired concept. It was a refreshing show. However there are few shows that managed to retain quality with a second season. Even fewer that managed to surpass their previous seasons. What I hope for here is more of the main characters cynicism and observations. What I dread is a growing harem of girls and romantic antics that eclipses the plot.

Posted on 9 March 2015 with categories: Yearly Summaries

Well as they say, better late than never. Now I am aware that I am not psgels and so the summary is not quite as extensive as I only joined the site at the end of the year. Not to mention my tastes are far away from psgels tastes. But to have an anime year without a summery bugged me. Also thanks to a few commenters for bringing it to my attention. I will try my best. Another thing to note is that there are likely shows that deserve a spot on the top anime that are not there. Reason for this is probably because I didn’t see it. Examples such as Ping Pong or Gugure! Kokkuri-san.

Now many people claim anime is dead and needs saving. And certainly when looking at anime this year it can be quite depressing. There is a reason why it’s a top ten this year instead of a top twenty. Though part of that is because I simply didn’t watch every good show in each season this year. Shows with some great potential that lead to great disappointments. But the creative process is a lottery. Despite what many anime fans believe, there has never been a golden age of anime in the past were masterpieces came out at regular intervals. And to say there were no interesting anime this year would be a lie.

So without further ado, the 2014 summary.

 

Worst series

Grisaia no Kajitsu

I was willing to hand this to Sword art online 2 but couldn’t as I gave up on it in its ninth episode. As I have not seen the remainder of the series I cannot judge it as the worst. But if the rest of the series is anything like what I watched then it would have taken the award. To give it to a harem would be shooting fish in a barrel. But what did I watch fully that was just terrible in every shape and form? Grisaia, it breaks my heart to give you this but what did they do to you? Bad animation. Music ripped straight from the visual novel without any attempt to fit it with the visuals. An adaption which crushed and ripped apart the source material only to attempt to duck tape it together into something coherent which failed completely. Some of the most out of place, downright insulting fanservice ranging from a panty shot of a girl who is panicking while buried alive to slow pan of a girls underwear clad body when she is dying from disease and malnutrition. Think about the context of the scene for gods sake. But what makes it worse is there is potential for a good anime here but now because of general incompetence and a lack of care it shall never be realized.  And to top it all off there are two sequels coming. Just stop.

Biggest disappointment

Psycho Pass season 2

The first season of Psycho Pass had problems but the blade runner-quese world of Sibyl it built was rife with potential. So surely with the writer of Le chevalier d’Eon and Ghost in the Shell arise doing the series composition for the second season that world will now be explored with greater detail. Or…that’s what we hoped. Maybe the script should not have been placed in the hands of Jun Kumagai, a man responsible for writing some of the worst episodes for series such as Gaila Donna, Resonance in Terror and Persona 4. Its clear to tell that Jun either didn’t see the first season of Psycho Pass or just didn’t care about it. The script of this show starts decent and goes downhill fast with events becoming so nonsensical that one would claim it’s bad fan fiction. At the end of the story no one’s choices made sense and the entire season is made pointless. Only to be a large blemish on a decent anime franchise .

Most pleasant surprise

Sidonia no kishi

CG in anime is not very good. So one would think that making a full anime in CG when anime characters CG models are in uncanny valley territory sounds suicidal. But against all odds and iffy CG aside Sidonia turned out to be a good anime. A very good anime. The story has great pacing and action visually impressive and exhilarating.  There are problems with mild harem elements peaking in but the strengths of the show help those moments become tolerable. The world is fascinating and the situations do or die. To an anime I expected nothing with it came and gave me so much more than I anticipated.

Best animation studio

Ufotable

Ufotable is quite the mystery. At a time when KyoAni and Madhouse were the height of quality animation, Ufotable came out of nowhere and blew them both away. A studio whose most notable work being Coyote Ragtime Show it was a shock to see them come with something as finely produced as Kara no Kyokai. As it is now they are the pinnacle of japanese animation. If asked by someone to show them the quality of of anime visuals I would likely take out a Ufotable work. My only concern is that they may become limited to just creating type moon works. I love type moon but I would like to see Ufotable branch out from just that. Gyo was a decent attempt to do so, even if it was misguided and not really a wise choice to attempt with. Though I do think that it was brave of them to choose something so obscure and downright unadaptable.

Best Guilty Pleasure

No Game No Life

Quite a polarising anime to say the least. Now don’t get me wrong. If you said that No Game No Life was garbage I would actually agree. It is garbage. Its wish fulfilment tripe with an absolute minimal level of intelligence. But it’s entertaining garbage. I had fun watching this show despite its many, and I do mean many, glaring flaws. However if you were to come up to me and ask if it was good I would hesitate. And then mumble a incoherent response. I even considered putting it in the top anime below but it just felt instinctively wrong. I can’t even promise I would like it on a rewatch. But for what it is, it was fun. Just hope there isn’t a second season. Lighting like this does not strike twice.

Best animation

Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works

Yes yes, I know I have a personal bias for this series. I would like you to know how hard it was to restrain myself from putting it in every best of category. But whether you love it or hate it, it’s hard to deny this is one beautiful series. The animation is phenomenal and art equally so. I would even be so bold to label this show the best looking anime series to date.

Worst character

Mika Shimotsuki

There are characters you love to hate and then there is Mika Shimotsuki. A character whose very nature is to insight utter contempt in the viewer. It makes no sense considering her character in the previous series but in the second season of Psycho Pass Mika was made into a pro Sibyl puppet. Her every action, her every line of dialogue only there to anger viewers. At any chance of improving her character she does a 180 and regresses further. To the point where they will make her as stupid as possible in order to make choices no human would ever make so that she is hated further. This is not a well written character. This is just an object to inspire hate, a quite literal animated troll. In the end her role in the story is pointless and she didn’t even give the viewer the satisfaction of seeing her recognise her mistakes or paying for them.

 

Top 10 anime of the year

10: Gin no Saji 2nd Season

Basically the same as the first season. It’s hard for me to talk about Sliver spoon. This is due to myself becoming tired with the heavy saturation of slice of life anime. This is unmistakable a solid show as anything that can make something as mundane as agriculture watchable is commendable. Out of the series in 2014 it was one of the most solid.

9: Shingeki no Bahamut Genesis

The show that could have been so much more. With more character development this could have really stood out. However despite that it did have good animation and a fair amount of action. If you walk into it expecting a adventure it will deliver on that front. The story didn’t throw any twists or turns that you won’t see coming but it does excel when it comes to presentation.

8: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders

It does not have the same spark as it did in the first season but it certainly is trying. The stands have made the battles less inventive, the story is a long episodic line of one note villains, and the main characters are not as amusing as the previous entry. This season to me seems to be quantity over quality which is a shame. But despite all that, the over the top nature of the show is intact. The latest episodes of the egypt arc have gotten better and few shows have the infectious energy and ridiculousness of Jojo.

7: Isshuukan Friends

Slice of life is a genre that has been beaten into the ground already. Despite that One week friends managed to be a lighthearted enjoyable watch each week. Considering that I have grown completely sick of the genre that this show could get me to tune in each week was quite an achievement.

6: Log Horizon 

Essentially the anti-thesis of Sword Art Online. I mean that literally as Log Horizon was in fact created by those dissatisfied with SAOs presentation of MMOs. The first season was a fascinating look at how living in a MMO would be like. Essentially delivering on all the things SAO left to the side. While the comedy is weak and relies on repeating gags, the world building aspects are solid. With the change in studio for the second season not really bringing any changes and the quality of the show more less the same, it still remains a decent watch. My only real complaint being that it’s very slow and the current arc’s are not quite as interesting. So I place the first season here instead of the second.

5: Shirobako

I was late to see this little gem. Shirobako was something I shunned as I saw it as yet another show of moe drivel pretending to be about a subject but instead just uses it as a setup for cute girls doing cute things. But I seen some comments about it and gave it a chance. And was honestly surprised. Shirobako is a nice look into the trails and tribulations that give you your weekly anime fix. It has a lot of uncomfortable truths about the workplace environment in general. There are issues of course, such as the main cast of five girls not really being interesting at all. Two of whom I could swear where essentially taken from other Pa works like Hanasaku Iroha and Nagi no Asukara. They seem like a flat attempt to bring Moe to the show that quite honestly, didn’t need it. But when it focuses on the animation process, it shines.

4: Sidonia no Kishi

A fully CG anime should have been doomed from the start. But if you can put aside the uncanny valley you will have a addictive battle for survival. The are problems with clunky romance and harem moments but the action is intense and the situation dire. Was honestly looking forward to each episode. And I did get left wanting more by episodes end.

3: Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu

Truthfully despite a hugely faithful adaption I find Parasyte to be missing an ingredient that made the manga special. That said there are not many anime like it. The horror genre is surprisingly stark with the anime medium so I welcome any new entry that dares to be different. Ah, but less dubstep please.

2: Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works

Obvious choice. I know. Fantastic production values, great action and a overall solid ride with a likeable, distinctive characters. Its not for everyone but if it is your thing then you get entertainment in spades. There are problems such as a number of battles where characters decide to battle another day for the sole purpose of delaying servants from being taken out of the war and calm which might put off those who want more action. Another thing is that this is essentially only one half of a story, so it is incomplete. Truthfully these things do not concern me.What does concern me is whether UFOtable can continue to deliver for the second half.

1: Mushishi Zoku Shou

It’s hard to beat an undeniable classic. The first season of Mushishi is considered a must watch for all anime fans. The second season carries it’s legacy. The only real negatives are its formulaic nature of the show and the character designs can make people look too similar. But it still can spellbound even the most tired anime veteran. There’s truly not much more to say about it.

Shoutbox

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  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:25 AM)
    I get choked up over Bergmans cries and whisper and Autumn sonata, I look back on a work by Key and Jun Maeda and wonder, think of how silly it looks to me now.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:24 AM)
    I also find it easier to get an emotional response from a honest drama, live action film, largely due to the real people doing the acting. Sometimes you get an actor whose just that good too…
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:22 AM)
    I’ve gotten my odd emotional reaction here from anime and manga but a lot of the time it feels like the jump scare in a generic horror movie, I got shocked but I felt minipulated afterwards it wasn’t genuine, the same goes for some anime/manga drama when it takes a melodramatic turn instead of a bleak, honest one.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:16 AM)
    Keep in mind mature plot elements are different from graphic violence. A lot of times you are shocked because of sympathy for the circumstances of the characters, not their actual vicarious pain which you feel. As things move away from live-action and become animated the less it looks human the less natural respond it elicits. That’s why a lot of anime have emotional deathbed monologues to help hammer home the point.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:03 AM)
    @Aidan: meh … I think Madoka could’ve also been better if it used a more rigid style. I heard a lot that the moe made it more shocking for some people, I guess I can see that even if I don’t personally feel that away at all. I think Madoka was a good series that brought a wider shonen type of audience to more adult themes, but some of the fan-praise to me is a little halfbaked and unfounded.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 04:49 AM)
    I’m fairly fond of the artstyle sunrise used back in the 90s also.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 04:46 AM)
    Actually with old artstyles in mind, I watched an old ova called california crisis recently, the character design stood out for me, the ova itself is fairly trashy however, more of a guilty pleasure.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 04:31 AM)
    I still don’t like the art in madoka regardless though.
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 04:29 AM)
    “Even if a series which has detailed backgrounds and a sharp dark tone features moe characters the show would be considered lighthearted and Moe, and any violence will come off as forced or even comical.”
    Madoka says otherwise.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 04:24 AM)
    But still even in terms of cutesy looking female characters, I’m still going to pick the old art over the new usually.

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