Well, I’m watching a lot of shows this season, even more than last season, about 20. So I’m going to split this post into two parts, the first will go live today, and the second will likely go live in a couple of days. I will not post this sort of list every week, certainly not for this number of shows. I intend to cut down the amount of shows I’m watching to 10-12 by next week or the week after, to leave me more time for other things.
There will be spoilers of episode 1-2 of the shows discussed, but that’s part of the premise, honestly.
Shows covered in this part: Coppelion, Nagi no Asukara, Gingitsune, Yuushibu, NouCome, Strike the Blood, BlazBlue: Alter Memory, Tokyo Ravens, Kill la Kill, Outbreak Company.
Well, let’s dive straight into it. Again organizing it by how well I like them thus far to make it easier to read. Will also use some keywords to describe each show.
Got Me Hooked:
Kill la Kill – In case you’ve lived under a rock, this is the hottest show of the season, and perhaps the year. Made by the people who had left Gainax to form Studio Trigger, many of the people behind Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann are also behind this show, and it shows. Kill la Kill is very sure of what it wants to be, which is a spectacle. Everything is over the top, and we also get some interesting note on the nature of power in the background. Koshimizu Ami who plays the main role of Matoi Ryuuko is an inspired choice, giving the same vibes she did as Kallen in Code Geass. Watch it, it’s fun.
Keywords: Popcorn, over-the-top action, fascism, nature of power.
Gingitsune – Girl loses her mother, lives with her father in shrine, where it turns out she can see the fox-spirit guarding the shrine, who is her friend and confidante.
This was magical. If you liked the first few episodes of Kotoura-san, then you owe yourself to watch it. The two main characters play well off of one another, we see magical reality, and we see magical reality intruding upon the mundane life of a high school student. This episode could be treated as a (good) 1-episode OVA, even. The preview showed that we’re going to get a bunch more slice of life in the next episode(s), which is fine. For now, I’m seriously hooked.
Keywords: Magical Realism, emotional, slice of life, romance.
Coppelion – A radioactive accident or bomb went off in Tokyo, so now you can only enter for a limited time wearing protective suits. Enter the Coppelions, girls who had been genetically engineered to withstand the radiation, sent in to search for survivors.
Coppelion to me occupies the same spot as Kamisama no Inai did last season – it’s the biggest wildcard of the season thus far (though Samurai Flamenco is probably going to give it a run for its money later on). Dealing with concepts of what makes humanity, free will, and making rash decisions without thinking them through and putting a load on others, in order to undo earlier rash decisions that had created pressure about everyone. The nature of humanity and free will will hopefully be paramount in this show, because these are always fruitful avenues.
The show looks good, and though it looks a bit “weird”, I prefer to think of it as otherworldly. The contrast between the girls’ washed out appearance and the majestic nature of their surrounding is brought to the forefront as a result. I also like the action’s direction and fluidity in this show. I hope it doesn’t flop, but that’s the nature of gambles.
Keywords: Post-apocalyptic, transhumanism, nature of humanity.
Nagi no Asukara – Meet two civilizations, one lives underwater, the other on sea. Enter a group of Junior High School students from the sea who must now attend school on land, and the clashes between the two civilizations.
The ties to Whale Rider are unmistakable, and I wish more anime watchers had noted the similarities, no matter, I’m pointing it out, and if you want a good story about the clash of civilizations and water, then this beautiful movie should definitely be on your watch list. This show really gives you the “Fairy Tale Realism” show you need, I certainly hope it’d end up more along the lines of Uchouten Kazoku than Red Data Girl, their shows from the previous two seasons.
The show is definitely heading up towards conflicts between civilizations, deities (and thus nature) and people, traditionalism and change. The show is beautiful, the characters are all characterized very well – they are characterized strongly, but it’s a good starting point if you want to have clear growth arcs, and makes sense for the youths. I hope the romantic square (or pentagram) will not have the show buckle under its weight. For better or for worse, the characters are JHS students.
Keywords: Magical realism, tribalism, clash of civilizations.
Strike the Blood – Boy becomes uber-powerful vampire, girl demon hunter is sent to observe him. They confine the known demons to an artificial city off the coast of Japan.
Did you like Index? Do you want more Index? Watch this. The main character reminds me of Touma with a little bit of Accelerator thrown in. The city where they are also reeks of Academy City. You might say I’m not giving this show a fair shake, but it feels like a clone. A good clone, but thus far a clone nevertheless. If you hadn’t liked Index, then you might want to give this show a pass, unless what you thought Index was missing a slightly more overt fanservice. Episode 2 had next to no fan-service, the action scenes were so-so, again more like Index 1 than Railgun.
Keywords: Popcorn, magical realism, Toaru Majutsu no Index clone, romance?
Outbreak Company – Japanese government establishes link with another realm, it’s a fantasy realm, and they had decided to export Otaku Culture to them, and so they hire an otaku to handle the business. Different culture, no knowledge of Japanese, no electricity. How will they handle?
This show is what I thought it’d be. It made me smile, though not laugh. The characters are alright, the situation is alright. I hope we’ll get some real world exploration/misunderstandings as they try to push the “Otaku Culture” onto people who don’t know media like we do, especially since so much of otaku culture currently is built on recognizing tropes and memes, rather than appreciating things on the “straight” level. It’s light-hearted, but I like it.
In episode 2 we had more content about social stratification, the balance of power. I wonder how far they’ll take it.
Keywords: Harem, Cultural Exchange, Otaku Culture.
Try Harder Please:
BlazBlue: Alter Memory – Based on the BlazBlue series of fighting games, this show is quite obtuse to people without background in the franchise. I have just enough to understand some things.
Good music is a given. Fights were nice. Thus far we got a bunch of hints and background information dropped on us without explanation. Having played some of the BlazBlue series I can follow some of it, but the show is going to have to make good on its promises, and show us how all these things add up to a proper storyline, and I think it can. Right now though the characters have characterization, rather than proper personalities. It remains to be seen if they’re going to become more than the (cool) semi-archetypes that they are.
Keywords: Action, Video-game.
Tokyo Ravens - This is popcorn. This is an unabashedly shounen show, with the characters all needing to grow up. The CGI was bad, but the fights aside from that were nice. The characters’ interactions and personalities could use some work, but this is the first episode – but also, considering the vibe this show gives, I suspect we’re mostly going to have fun with this show. A solid popcorn show and not much more. The premise, the characters, they’re all things we’ve seen untold times before, and nothing really strikes you as fresh, aside from this being “Magical Realism” and the action showing on national TV – of people fighting rampant spirits.
Keywords: Popcorn, romance, shounen, magical realism.
Yuushibu – First in our ridiculous name category, also known as Yuusha ni Narenakatta Ore wa Shibushibu Shuushoku wo Ketsui Shimashita (I couldn’t become a hero so I had to get a real life job). Someone set out to be a hero, but the demon lord had been defeated before he could, so now he works in retail, and now the demon lord’s heir comes and joins him as a co-worker.
Maybe it’s my fault, that I had no idea this was going to be an ecchi show. I like Disgaea. I like Disgaea-like shows, and this show is especially reminiscent of Disgaea 3. Hataraku Maou Sama two seasons ago was solid, Blood Lad last season was less than solid, and then we have this. I actually appreciate fan-service, but this show was just poor – poor characters, unimpressive acting, poor non-plot. So what do we do? We throw fan-service at you, and you’re going to like the fan-service, and then think you liked the show (you liked the fan-service). 10 minutes into the episode I looked at the clock, I was sure I was watching it for 30 minutes and couldn’t believe I had 10 more minutes to go. The last 5 minutes of the show, once it’d been revealed the demon-heir is in fact a demon-heiress, and the characters’ interaction flowed much better, but I still don’t think it’s enough for me.
People said it got better in the 2nd episode, and there was less gratuitous and offensive fan-service, but I’ve dropped this show.
Keywords: Comedy, ecchi, working retail.
NouCome – Second in our ridiculous name category, also known as Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Love Comedy wo Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru (My Mental Choices are Completely Interfering with my School Romantic Comedy) – our protagonist has a voice that presents him with two choices, and he must choose between the two. The choices are quite.. juvenile, examples include eating dog poo or rubbing his face in an adult magazine, asking to feel a girl’s breasts or asking that a girl feel his breasts.
This show… 2 minutes in I already felt we weren’t doing well. Then we had a literal 3 minute list of various “decisions” people had made throughout history and how human history had been changed as a result. I felt no cringe from moments that should’ve made me cringe, because of how ridiculous and arbitrary they were. The “choices” thrust upon our protagonist are the sort you’d get from asking a drunk man or a 5 year old repeatedly to give you choices. They’re just dumb. The female characters try waaay too hard to be funny/quirky, giving us yet another non-comedy comedy. This show has the dubious honour of fighting Yuushibu for the least fun I had watching anime this week (or in months’ time, honestly). Dropped so hard it’s not funny.
Keywords: Comedy, harem, juvenile.
So, which of these shows had you guys watched and what did you think of them?