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%

Posted on with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Mahouka

Short Synopsis: Our lead character uses magic and enters high school.
Really now? This is the next big thing to appear? Where we last year had Shingeki no Kyojin, we now have a show taking place at a high school where people fight with magic with a heavy dose of incest? This is the best you can offer? There was just this world war, everything has changed, and the only thing that the creators could think of was to start with was a high school? I mean, I had hoped that at least the execution in this episode would make up for things, but we only got some nicely animated fight scenes, plus a few characters who take themselves a bit more serious than usual. But even then, the dialogue has some really weird issues. Characters make random leaps in logic, things don’t make any sense, and the comic relief is incredibly forced. And really, I don’t care if the light novel that this is based on is really good: it’s the execution of the anime that really matters. The fact of the matter remains that this is YET ANOTHER show about incest. Also, “Weed” and “Bloom” remain really stupid names. If it were supposed to be about discrimination, it did a pretty generic and black-and-white job about it. I’m not expecting tons of depth from a first episode, but I am looking for hints that this show knows what it’s doing. I got none here!
ED: Generic J-rock
Potential: 30%

Baby Steps

Short Synopsis: Our lead character wants to play tennis.
Haikyuu could really use some lessons from Baby Steps. This episode actually worked, and it showed that a first episode doesn’t necessarily have to be full of excitement. I just need to see that the creators know what they’re doing. This episode had its problems, but at the same time it actually tried to break some of the cliches of the sports anime. For example: while the series is yet again about high schoolers, it’s not about a high school tennis team, but instead the characters practice at a tennis club outside of school. Watching anime, you’d nearly think that those things don’t exist in Japan. This also allows for some variety in the people you see walking around, ranging from kids to adults. Beyond that, this first episode nailed how you’d obviously get extreme muscle ache when you start training really hard from out of nowhere. Plus the characters actually break some molds. Not all of them; there still are some obnoxious cliches present, but I do appreciate how this show is trying to remove some of the blatant sexism that exists in the genre. Usually in sports series, the women get delegated to be a manager. Pretty much a pointless role other than for some romantic tension. Here, the lead female actually wants to go pro, and is actually very talented. That’s a nice step here. Just don’t let her degrade into this romantic trophy, okay? That would be even worse. Heck, there still is enough that can go wrong here, but the start is there, at least.
OP: Generic J-rock, though I guess better than average.
ED: The singers don’t work together, this ED sounds weird
Potential: 65%

Haikyuu

Short Synopsis: Our lead character plays volleyball
I like sports anime, however I dislike watching sports. How is that possible? Well, because of the incredible execution of some of these sports series. Giant Killing, Cross Game, Chihayafuru, even think sports Shogi and Go. These shows made me throw away all of my biases and managed to make me like something I normally have no interest whatsoever in. Because of that though, I have come to expect high standards from sports series: stand out. Promote your passions. Don’t just go lazy and show this ambitious bratty kid who just enters school who somehow becomes the center of the series. And yeah.. that’s exactly what Haikyuu does. A first episode that didn’t really stand out in any way, they keep to all of the basics. There also is this rival who also fills in way too many cliches. I mean come on. Use some creativity for god’s sake. I also did not manage to finish the first episode of this one. I know it’s unprofessional and all, but right now I don’t care. I find it more important to check out as many series, rather than force myself to sit through an entire episode that I already know is not going to be anything for me.
OP: Generic sports OP blah
ED: At least the guitar is nice
Potential: 30%

Posted on with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Akuma no Riddle

Short Synopsis: Our lead character battles assassins
Yup, this one turned out as expected. Akuma no Riddle is a series that tries to look all cool, but shining behind that is the ridiculous stupidity of the premise. And now don’t get me wrong: I like really far-fetched premises, but not when said premise goes out of its way to include a school in a setting it totally doesn’t belong. I mean really: this just is another one of those school battle shows that’s perhaps a bit grittier than usual. Nothing else stands out. It did not make up for this premise in the slightest. The characters all just have one quirk that they try really hard to shove down the viewers’ throats, especially with the snarky characters. Add everything together and yeah, I see no potential. I didn’t even have enough interest to finish the entire episode.
OP: At least it’s not bad j-pop
ED: Vocalist does a pretty bad job…
Potential: 30%

Mushishi Season 2

Short Synopsis: Our lead character can see strange creatures called Mushi.
Jojo is glorious and all, and that’s of course fine and dandy. But let’s not forget what that show really is: a dose of adrenaline that you watch before you start punching an angry bear or something. It’s consistently awesome to watch, but here comes the real deal: Mushishi goes a whole lot further. It’s on a whole different level. This is intelligent; this is art, this series, more than anything else, has its own vision and doesn’t care about anything else. It’s the best of its genre, and based on this episode, the creators still are incredibly competent: the atmosphere, the animation, the pacing, the mood: everything fits perfectly. This really creates something much more than the sum of its parts, that individually are already amazing. Best show of the year? Something would have to go really weird for it not to be the case. Heck, this show is the best of its genre. Aria, Natsume Yuujinchou? Eat your heart out. This episode again had a wonderful story. It’s told from the perspective of a sake brewer, and more than anything, they portray him as an actual human being. This episode is quiet, but they showed a very authentic story of his that made perfect use of both his childhood as his current life.
OP: HOW CAN THIS NOT BE THE SINGLE BEST OP IN YEARS?
ED: HOW CAN THIS NOT BE THE SINGLE BEST ED EVER SINCE THE FIRST SEASON ENDED?
Potential: 100% (Really, it is that I once vowed not to go above 100% with my potentials)

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – Stardust Crusaders

Short Synopsis: Our lead character kicks ass with magical powers and strange poses.
Oh, this was glorious. This is the Jojo that I remember: completely over the top with weird powers and just lots and lots of energy.What I especially like this time is that it’s really a story that spans many generations. We have the main character, his mother, his grandfather and his great-great grandfather all playing a major role here. Obviously its’awesome to see everyone back again, while at the same time seeing this series go into a completely different direction again. The first Jojo was pretty much the ideal son-in-law, while the second was completely crazy in every way. The third meanwhile is dark and gloomy. The reason he works is because of the context of the rest of the series: every single other character being a complete and utter extravert. The good thing also is that this show wastes no time in explaining its powers, hopefully hinting at only few training arcs (yet again, thank god). And at the same time there is one thing that this show still does really well: alternating huge powers, with really small ones. Joseph’s camera trick was hilarious, for example.
Potential: 100%

Shoutbox

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  • Emma
    (Friday, Aug 29. 2014 09:51 AM)
    Unfortunately for that upcoming season I will only have the sequel to Yahari to watch then at the time =<
  • Emma
    (Friday, Aug 29. 2014 09:48 AM)
    @Bam:Its more of a case of a show turning silly and into a guilty pleasure as a result.
    That death ninja show by trigger is upcoming and I don’t think I’ll watch it until the blue rays are out, I’m expecting censoring.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Aug 29. 2014 09:44 AM)
    @Emma: I have a feeling that Tokyo Ghoul might have the same ailment. There is a pinnacle in suspension of disbelief that is clearly tipped when you have buckets upon buckets of blood and contrived tasteless violence.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Aug 29. 2014 09:43 AM)
    There was another video with videogame and other anime deaths/gore too but the only ones that left me depressed where clips from that game the last of us. That one death scene in shiki had me in a mix of laughter and sadness.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Aug 29. 2014 09:38 AM)
    Off topic, but I realized I never watched blood C, another, Higurashi uncensored , I’ve big criticism on those but looking at the deaths uncensored in another and blood C in particular, its taken so far its laughable rather than offensive.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Aug 29. 2014 09:24 AM)
    @Emma: That’s completely understandable, but these two games are made with casual players in mind and are extremely approachable. They are very light on your system requirements so I really suggest you just torrent them and give it it a try (specially Valiant Hearts in your case). I’ll guarantee you’ll get a kick out of them just as much, if not more, than the best LNs that you have played.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Aug 29. 2014 09:18 AM)
    That second one though, the inspiration behind it catches my attention. That light hearted tone with dark themes will need to balance itself out well however.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Aug 29. 2014 09:15 AM)
    I’m not really one for videogames anymore Bam but my brother likes indie games I’ll take note of them and put him onto them then.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Aug 29. 2014 09:10 AM)
    I understand that it might be a little difficult to purchase both if these games, but at least download, play and appreciate them which helps get the word out. I’m sure the game will do a convincing job of making you donate some money to the well-deserved creators (as it did me).
  • Bam
    (Friday, Aug 29. 2014 09:07 AM)
    (2/2)
    2)Valiant Hearts: The Great War
    This game is equal parts historical documentary and platform puzzle game. Inspired by the millions of letters sent during the first World War, this game tells an endearing human story which while done in a light-hearted style doesn’t shy away from the horrors that set in motion all the events of the 20th century.

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