Summer 2014 Anime Season Expectations

Summer 2014 is nearly here, and the season actually begins on Wednesday, July 2nd. So time to see what I’m more interested in. I wasn’t very good with my Spring season predictions (M3 2.5/3), but it’s more about my interest levels, than how good I think it’d be. Shows that “didn’t make it” are usually shows I’m slightly less interested in, or find it interesting to remark on.

As always, organized by days of the week, because I might pick a show on an empty day or cut shows I enjoy on days already overfilled with other shows. Order is by expectation within that day. I plan to do write-ups for no more than 3-4 shows this season. Furthermore, I’ve realized I don’t enjoy action popcorn shows (shounens) as much when watching them weekly, so more are likely to only be watched when the season ends.

Descriptions will be short, more on why I find them interesting. “Didn’t make it in” could also be seen as shows I might pick up after dropping others based on buzz or free time. Most of the information about the shows can be had from RandomCuriosity’s page, the helpful Neregate Chart, and what I’ve happened to see on various sites, such as The Cart Driver. Check them out if you want more information.

I’m liking the shape of next season, even if not a lot truly stands out to me.

Sunday:

Akame ga Kill! animeAkame ga Kill! - A battle shounen in a medieval setting, corruption and mystery, reveling in over the top action and “grimdark”. I actually like this sort of thing. That’s what B-Movies are made of. So long the material knows what it is and embraces it, why not? Yes, the quest for “Maturity!!!” is usually pretty immature, but so long you know it. It looks pretty, and that’s the most important thing.
Interest Rating: 1.5/3. I’m not expecting anything great, just some fun. Might go on hold after a few episodes since popcorn shows do better in a burst.
Airing Date:
July 6th.
Write-ups/Notes: Nope. Almost tempted to watch it after it airs. Trailer.

Didn’t Make it In:

Gekkan Shojo Nozaki-kun – A shoujo RomCom? It seems interesting, but not something I’d enjoy watching weekly, and not in the first two tiers of backlog, even as far as shoujo romance series are concerned.

Overall Sunday Thoughts: An easy day to kick back and recover from Saturday. Might have to use it to get write-ups for a Saturday show, as it’s packed. For those who liked the first season, you’re going to get more Space Dandy here.


Monday:

Didn’t Make it In:

Ao Haru Ride animeAo Haru Ride (Blue Spring Ride) – A shoujo (aimed at girls) romantic comedy, with character designs to match. A girl meets a boy, falls in love with him, sees him 3 years later and he changed. Maaya Uchida (Takanashi Rikka from Chuunibyou, Ichinose Hajime from Gatchaman Crowds) plays the main role. Shoujo romances are actually something I enjoy quite a bit, but I prefer to immerse myself in them, so this will have to wait until it ends.
Hype Rating: 1/3. I’m actually not going to watch it weekly.
Airing Date:
July 7th.
Write-ups/Notes: No. Trailer.

Overall Monday Thoughts: I’m not watching anything on Monday! It’s becoming somewhat of a tradition. I might end up bumping Glasslip or another show on Thursday for this one, but I just know I’d enjoy it more after it ends. But will I be able to hold off? There’s Hamatora 2nd season for those of you who wish to see how the plot progresses.


Tuesday:

Didn’t Make it In:

Momo Kyun Sword – It looks good, but so did Hyakka Ryouran, which I dropped around episode 8/9 as my brain turned into mush. It might end up not terrible, but that’s not good enough, is it?

Overall Tuesday Thoughts: Nothing! I’m free! There’s actually no other shows airing but Momo Kyun Sword.


Wednesday:

Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 2wei! animeFate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 2wei! - I have one more episode to finish the first season, and it’s only been a year! Expect a write-up on it next week. It’s a show with beautiful fights, cute girls doing cute things, and a lot of fanservice. It’s not terrible, and it’s not great. But hey, the direction in fights had been stupendous. I like pretty fights, and I can’t have so many days where I watch nothing.
Interest Rating: 1.5/3. Manga readers say it’s more serious and better than what came before, but they always do. There’s a reason sequels get rated higher – those who didn’t like the original bailed out. 
Airing Date:
July 9th.
Write-ups/Notes: Er, not really, no.

Didn’t Make it In:

Free! Eternal Summer (second season) – I didn’t think the first season was bad, it was fine, and not much more. It was cute boys doing cute things, with some sport-show material thrown in to keep us interested. Some episodes, especially the flashback ones were directed very well, and I certainly liked it better than Kyoto Animation’s next two offerings – Chuunibyou 2nd season and Kyoukai no Kanata. But with the original conflict done, it’s going to be more cute guys doing cute things and sports show. I might pick it up due to how empty my schedule is at this point, or after it airs, as a light show.

Majimoji Rurumo – Light novel adaptation, crass humor, gags aplenty… just no. But hey, I know plenty of people might like it!

Overall Wednesday Thoughts: Fan-service day! The two shows I’ll watch or might watch are definitely fan-servicey, then you have more shows aimed at girls, often focusing on “Boys’ love” in the form of Love Stage and Bakumatsu Rock. Something for everyone, so long they’re not looking for thoughtful and serious. I’m alright with it, a third day in a row to engage in non-anime activities or catch up on older series.


Thursday:

Zankyou no Terror / Terror of Resonance animeZankyou no Terror (Terror of Resonance) – 9/11 meets a bunch of teenagers. The rebellion of youth. Tearing down the system to create a new world. Thriller, psychological, action? Helmed by Shinichiro Watanabe, of Samurai Champloo and Cowboy Bebop fame, but more importantly for me, soundtrack is handled by Yoko Kanno. It has all the makings of a great show. Will it be 11 or 22 episodes long? Not sure.
Interest Rating: 2.5/3. It has all the right stuff. Will it be good? Who knows, but it has a shot.
Airing Date: July 10th.
Write-ups/Notes: Very possibly. Trailer.

Tokyo Ghoul – This is billed as “horror”, but it seems it’s mostly the gore and “I’m turning into a monster!” form of horror. It’s looking good, visuals wise. Another “Grimdark” anime, but this one seems to focus less on the excitement of action and titillation of sexuality and more on the horror of the supernatural. I’m game.
Interest Rating: 2/3. Horror anime is hard to come by. Might be shlocky, but hey, I liked Mirai Nikki.
Airing Date: July 3rd.
Write-ups/Notes: Probably not, unless there’s a lot of horror to sink one’s teeth into. Might be best to marathon once it ends. Trailer.

Glasslip animeGlasslip – Ignore the “Glassblower” premise, it’s unimportant. This is a P.A. Works romantic drama – a bunch of teenagers, lots of romantic tension, crying, etc. Anime original, so will get an ending. I like P.A. Works’ shows in general, and they’re always pretty. I am getting a tad tired of them, however. Would rather watch more straight shoujo manga adaptations, for a while. Mari Okada isn’t involved, for once.
Interest Rating: 1.5/3. I like their stuff, but it’s becoming samey?
Airing Date: July 3rd.
Write-ups/Notes: I can do write-ups, but they’d focus on how people relate to one another, rather than “plot” or anything else. You could just read my notes for Nagi no Asukara, P.A. Works’ previous anime instead!

PSYCHO-PASS (New Edit) – The original series placed 11th on my list of top shows finishing in 2013. I actually have an idea for a piece for it which I should type out at some point. This version will air in 11 1-hour long batches, collecting the older material and adding some new scenes. I’m curious to see what they do with it. It’s a good show. A good place to jump on, as they’ll start with the second season later.
Interest Rating: 1/3. Only because for the most part, I’ve seen the series. I still plan to watch it, but I won’t feel terrible if I fall behind or get delayed a bit.
Airing Date: July 10th. 1 hour-long episodes.
Write-ups/Notes: No, because I’d have too much to say, and those are long episodes. Maybe post-episode notes? Maybe an editorial every few episodes? Potentially.

Shirogane no Ishi: Argevollen (Silver Will Argevollen) – A mecha show by XEBEC, the studio responsible for Space Battleship Yamato 2199 and Break Blade, meaning they at least know how to draw their mecha. We don’t really know anything else about it, so it’s hard to get excited.
Interest Rating: 1/3. A mecha anime. Most of them don’t turn out that great. Might not watch. Might watch only the first episode and see from there.
Airing Date:
July 3rd.
Write-ups/Notes: Who knows? It’s on the edge of not being watched as well. Trailer.

Didn’t Make it In:

Rail Wars! animeRail Wars!- I was moderately excited for this one, but then I watched the second trailer. Go ahead, watch it, I’ll wait. I thought it’d be a somewhat serious series about social issues, dealing with the privatization and socialization of train rails and such, but it seems like it’d be your usual non-serious popcorn show, with an extra dose of “character is new to workplace, filled with wacky personalities, and an extra-big dose of boobs.

It has Maaya Uchida and Fukuyama Jun, two of my favourite voice actors. It has good production values. I might watch it, but I suspect the actual plot will only begin around episode 6, which means watching it weekly will frustrate me, but marathoning it is an option. Seems like it will be the definition of popcorn – easy and somewhat unfulfilling, unless you’re looking for said goofy anime humor.

Persona 4 the Golden ANIMATION – Persona 4 is a Playstation 2 game. Persona 4 Golden is its expanded Playtstation Vita game. It’s great. I really should finish it, but been occupied with other stuff “lately”. It had an anime already a couple of years ago, and this is a reboot… I’d rather play the game, even though it has a (respectable) English dub.

Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler): Book of Circus  – I’ve watched the first two seasons of this. I don’t know why. I was bored most of the way. The 2nd season was better. I have no real incentive to keep watching this. This is very much a fan-service show for people who write slash-fiction, of which I’m not a part. The production is good, the acting is good, but it’s just boring.

Overall Thursday Thoughts: Last season’s Thursdays was calm and easy, for the first time in a long while. This Thursday is anything but. Argevollen is likely to get bumped into “Not watching as it airs”, I can always watch the very highly regarded Space Battleship Yamato 2199, y’know? I suspect I’ll make Psycho-Pass into a Friday morning sort of show. Lots of good stuff, even if not all of it is of interest to me. There’s enough material on Thursday to last a whole week, honestly.


Friday:

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders (2nd season) –  It’s better than the first part of the first season, which was a tad dull. But it’s picking up in how crazy sequences are. It’s really ramping up the horror atmosphere. Not as fun as the second part of the first season, with young Joseph, but what can you do? I feel we perhaps have too many characters around, so it’s hard to devote enough time and attention to any, and a couple aren’t actually that interesting to watch either.
Current Rating: 7.5/10. It’s getting better!
Airing Date:
 Right now! Should be 4-seasons long, meaning 48-52 episodes.
Write-ups/Notes: Haha. No.

Tokyo ESP animeTokyo ESP – Erm, we don’t really know much about this. Is this more about action, about finding out you have powers, about exploration of the world? It seems interesting, and people are saying good things about the manga. I’ll give it a whirl.
Interest Rating: 2/3. Super-speculative pick of the season. I could read the manga, or read more about it, but eh.
Airing Date: 
July 11th. Maybe they’ll release a preview beforehand.
Write-ups/Notes: I might! Hard to say with how little of it we know. 15 second trailer.

Overall Friday Thoughts: Not a lot of shows, but after the madness that is Thursday, and before the madness that is Saturday, that is good. JoJo is a known quantity. You know what you’re going to get. The opposite of Tokyo ESP. How I wish we’ve had more Mushishi without waiting a few months more.


Saturday:

Avatar: The Legend of Korra: Book 3: Change - The trailer and premise introduce a lot of interesting stuff. It may not be an “amazing” series, but I enjoy it a lot, and it’s better than most of the anime I watch. Deal with it. Also, watch Avatar: the Last Airbender.
Hype Rating: 3/3. I really couldn’t be happier.
Airing Date:  June 27th. This weekend, AAAAAH! Double episode, then a week without.
Write-ups/Notes: No, but I’m going to be excited! (Awesome) trailer.

Sword Art Online 2: Phantom Bullet animeSword Art Online 2nd season: Phantom Bullet - For those who don’t know, I love Sword Art Online. I’ve read all of the light novels that have been translated to English. GunGale Online was pretty good, IMO. A lot of overpowered Kirito, yes, which I honestly found very cool, but also a number of scenes I personally found to have a good emotional impact. Sawashiro Miyuki portraying Sinon? How could that go wrong? I just hope they stick to 12-13 episodes, as I doubt GunGale Online can support more than 14-15, unless they decide to also adapt the 7th book, Mother’s Rosario, though I think that’d work best as a movie.
Interest Rating: 2/3. Why only 2/3? Because I’ve read the source material, so I’m not as excited or intrigued. I’ve also realized watching action shows weekly takes out a lot of the fun. I just hope they don’t swamp us with fanservice, though the trailer has me worried :-/
Airing Date: July 5th.
Write-ups/Notes: No. I plan to crank out a write-up on books 5 onward this week or next week, also explore why I’ve liked SAO but not Mahouka. Who knows, I might do a mini-editorial or  two as I’ve done for the early episodes of Mahouka.

Sailor Moon Crystal animeSailor Moon Crystal (Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: Crystal / Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon: Crystal) – Sailor Moon never aired where I live. Watching 200 episodes of a not very visually polished show had also never been at the top of my priorities. This will be my first experience with Sailor Moon. I won’t care at all how it compares to the original series, or to the manga. The fandom is already out, and is somewhat combative, so I plan to try and avoid most discussion of this show, same as I did with Kill la Kill.
Interest Rating: 2/3. I could easily wait until I hear what others say, but can’t really trust I’ll get a clear opinion on this one. Too much investment and preconceptions.
Airing Date: July 5th. 26 episodes, airing once every two weeks.
Write-ups/Notes: I don’t know, should I? It airs once every two weeks, so notes could help me remember what happened better. High quality Japanese trailer. Lower quality English-subtitled trailer.

Barakamon animeBarakamon – Soft art-style slice of life. Not “cute girls doing cute things moe slice of life”, but a man messes up at work, and gets sent to the countryside. I don’t know, it just calls to me. I think this will be my relaxing view of the week.
Interest Rating: 1.5/3. It’s not “interesting”, and that’s part of the point. I loved Usagi Drop, I loved Gin no Saji (Silver Spoon), and I hope to love this as well.
Airing Date: July 5th.
Write-ups/Notes: Don’t think so. Aim to relax.

Aldnoah.Zero – Gen Urobuchi, script-writer for Madoka, Fate/Zero, and Psycho-Pass also wrote the script for this show. Or did he? It’s possible he only wrote the original story/concept, but not the actual script. Urobuchi likes dealing with Utilitarianism. I don’t always like his shows, or find his ideas too well expressed or agreeable, but they are always interesting. The director behind this show is Fate/Zero’s director, which others liked a lot better than I did. It’s mostly interesting due to Urobuchi’s name, and I often give interesting shows a whirl anyway.
Interest Rating: 1.5/3. Speculative pick. I don’t really know what to expect.
Airing Date: July 5th.
Write-ups/Notes: Possibly? We know very little of this one. Trailer.

Didn’t Make it In:

Fairy Tail (2014) – really liked the original Fairy Tail. This… I don’t know what happened. Meandering story and direction, sloppy art, watching it weekly instead of marathoning it. I might watch it again when I have 10-20 episodes to go through at a time, but for now, it’s just failing, and it makes me sad.

Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei / The Irregular at Magic High School – Oh man. I knew it’s not going to be “great”, but I figured it’d be better than it’s been. I hoped they’d cover 8 books in the series, and it looks like we’ll be lucky for them to cover 6. They focused on mostly the wrong things in the adaptation, and it’s not like the source material was that great to begin with. It’s boring, and when it’s not boring, it’s filled with obnoxious subtext. Expect a write-up on its adaptation sometime soon.

Overall Saturday Thoughts: What a day! Clearing up Fairy Tail in the morning will open up to waking up to Legend of Korra (yes, it’s Friday in the states when it comes out, but it’s Saturday for me). A lot of shows that are somewhat speculative – action, slightly deeper action, slice of life, shounen, shoujo… it’s just a really interesting day to have!

Monogatari Second Season: Hanamonogatari is also coming out, but as I’m waiting for BDs of _monogatari, I’ll be watching it at a later date.


Overall Season Thoughts:

14 shows, not a lot. Ok, that I don’t think of it as a lot is a sign of insanity, and as seasons end and I have 12-13 series to keep up with, and am not excited for about 5 of them, it does feel like a lot. I already have a couple of shows here that are borderline “Drop” or “Watch after they end” such as Glasslip and Argevollen. Legend of Korra will likely finish early, and Sailor Moon Crystal is bi-weekly, all of which should ease up some burden.

Due to my realization that even though I rate them the same, I enjoy popcorn shows a lot more when watching them in one go, Tokyo Ghoul, Akame ga Kill, and Fate/Kaleid S2 might find themselves put on hold after the first week or so, and then watched later on. That’d add up to a totally manageable season. Then again, I always end up dropping some shows anyway.

I like how this season looks – a good mixture of action, romance should I choose to bump up series from the “Didn’t make it”, dramas, mystery-thrillers. Shows that should be light and shows that should be darker, light and more meaty shows. I’m not super excited for nearly anything this time around, but there’s a lot that I think will actually be good.

Write-ups. The shows that are more likely for a write-up, at least right now are: Sailor Moon Crystal, Zankyou no Terror (Terror of Resonance), Aldonah.Zero, Psycho-Pass, and Tokyo ESP.

Which shows are you guys excited for? Assuming you read my episodic notes, which would you like to see me cover? Up to three shows only.

(If you’d rather not comment, here is a small strawpoll for which shows you’d like me to cover. Up to 3 votes, please.)

17 comments on “Summer 2014 Anime Season Expectations

  1. Taka says:

    Hello! I’ve been following the blog since about the beginning of the spring anime season, and I have to say, I really love your writeups! You go into a lot of depth about what works or doesn’t work about an episode or work of fiction if it grabs you (or fails to!), and it’s both very interesting and very informative to read.

    If I might suggest an anime, are you planning to catch up on The World is Still Beautiful at all? I don’t think jumping into it in the middle would work very well given the ongoing plot at the moment, but it was the best anime I’d watched this season (which, admittedly, was not in a long list: the only two I ended up keeping were Isshukan Friends and this, and I didn’t watch favourites of the season like Ping Pong, JoJo’s, or Mushishi, though the latter is only because I’m holding out for the dub).

    In my opinion the romance aspects of it are very sweet and believable, and the political drama with a hint of magic realism aspect is also well-done, with the darker aspects of certain characters being definitively /there/ but also condemned by the narrative rather than romanticized, which is something that I think works hugely in its favour and keeps the premise from turning into something kind of awful. I don’t want to bias you if you do end up watching it, so I’ll leave the rest of my thoughts out of this post, but if you have the time, I’d recommend the show!

    • Guy says:

      Originally, I didn’t plan to pick up Soredemo Sekai. But I put it on my list of “If I have time, I’ll check it out” – I was also buoyed by people saying the first couple of episodes were good. But then as each additional episode came out, people said it kept dropping lower and lower.

      So, it’s not on any sort of immediate plan to watch, and I have much better regarded shoujo shows on the block. I might watch it at some point, because I sometimes decide to watch a random show, such as I’ve done with HenNeko, but no plans.

      And thank you for the kind words about my write-ups! I do plan to write less of them though, to make more time for more shows from my backlog, and more time for writing editorials that are usually more interesting. Sadly, we don’t have endless time. And sometimes I feel like I’m covering the basics of how a story should be constructed, or relationships are formed, such as with my Nagi no Asukara write-ups, which are somewhat less of interest to viewers – as opposed to thematic breakdown of stuff like Kyousougiga or Gatchaman Crowds where the mind’s racing.

  2. Artemis says:

    I didn’t know that Book 3 of Korra was due out so soon! That’s fantastic – even though The Last Airbender will probably never be topped by any of its sequels, Korra still has quite a special place in my heart.

    • Guy says:

      Yup! And yes, it’s all done, so we might get a few more double-episodes now and then. Trailer hit last week, and BAM, here’s the premier.

  3. k robert m says:

    Have you been following Hunter X Hunter? It’s aired 134 episodes so far, so it would take some commitment to start watching now. Anyway, I’m really looking forward to the upcoming cour, after which it will probably go on hiatus, possibly for a long, long time, depending on Togashi’s output rate.

    • Guy says:

      No, but I’ve recently downloaded up to episode 115, so it’s only a matter of time. And yeah, I know it’s about to go on hiatus, which makes waiting till it ends a more appealing choice. I watched Chihayafuru’s 50 episodes in 4 days while also going to school and following currently airing series, so with a school break, I’m sure I could get through Hunter x Hunter at a respectable pace.

      • Jimmy Chan says:

        I really liked the animation style and story of chihaya. HunterXHunter gets really interesting with the ant arc. I would say really nice blend of drama and actions.

  4. Alex says:

    The likely-writeup shows look like they’ll have the most interesting material to cover I’ll vote for those ones that you already listed! I’m most excited for Sailor Moon Crystal, Zankyou no Terror and Aldnoah.Zero, and don’t really care about anything else at the moment. I’ll just play wait and see for the others. I thought the Tokyo ESP manga was kinda average from the few chapters I read before dropping it, but maybe animated fights and stuff will make it more fun.

    • Guy says:

      Playing it as you go is the best way! I still miss the days of watching 6-8 shows as they air, but I’m interested in too much stuff, and then end up disappointed :(

      Me noting the “popcorn shows” is an attempt to alleviate it, along with the shoujo manga-based ones. The question is if I’ll be able to hold off on them or not. Probably yes on some, and no on others.

      Also, I’m sure some people would like to see me do write-ups on Sword Art Online. Then again, both here and on reddit, people read them, but rarely say anything. My write-ups are hardly entertaining.

      • While my mind isn’t exactly racing when reading your write-ups I’d hardly say it’s not entertaining. After reading your numerous write-ups on Ping Pong and Mahouka I began to really appreciate (and in the case of Mahouka, disdain) the various themes and sub-texts hidden in the anime.

        Even though our opinions may differ on some anime, I still appreciate how you express your opinions in an intelligent and logical manner.

        Keep up the great work :D

      • Guy says:

        Ha! Well, I guess I’m not the exciting sort of writer. I know it. My mind races with some shows, but yeah.

        And thanks for the kind words! With how often I feel like no one reads or has anything to say about what I write, it’s nice to hear encouragement now and then.

  5. Asian Ed says:

    Strangely, the one show I’m extremely excited about for is Sailor Moon. I have a lot of nostalgia for it, as it was the first anime I ever really watched, even if it was the horrible bastardization of the original. I’m actually going through and watching the “classic” episodes as they’re being re-released.

    Based on the trailer and what I’ve read, I have some mixed feelings. I’m really glad that they’re going back and staying more true to the original manga in story. The art style shift to line up with the manga style is an interesting choice, one that I’m pretty neutral on. The only think that rubbed me the wrong way was the replacement of the OP theme. After 166 episodes where Moonlight Densetsu was the opening theme (Sailor Stars has it’s own OP, though the final episode did end with the classic OP), it feels wrong to change it to something else.

    Nonetheless, I’m excited. ^^

    • Guy says:

      Strangely, the one show I’m extremely excited about for is Sailor Moon. I have a lot of nostalgia for it, as it was the first anime I ever really watched

      It’s not strange, you just explained exactly why you’re excited for it :)

      I’m so going to avoid reading others’ opinions on it. I have zero exposure to Sailor Moon, and I’d like to form my own opinion, without endless comparisons to how it was, or could be, or was expected.

      I think I’ll read on the journeys of old fans once the series is done, in a year’s time :) I hope you’ll all be pleased with it, but I somehow doubt it (because there’s never 100% approval, for anything).

  6. Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun actually isn’t really a shoujo romcom, despite its name. Well, I guess it is a romcom in the loosest sense of the word – there is romance, and there is comedy, and the two are correlated with one another. However, it is a series that leans heavily towards the comedy side of things – it is a 4-koma, after all – and that comedy mainly comes from making fun of common tropes (storytelling elements, character archetypes, artistic facets, et cetera) associated with shoujo romances. I personally find the manga to be very funny because of that, though it might not be for everyone.

  7. jstorming says:

    Three words: ZUKO IS ALIVE.
    Stoked for Avatar: Legend of Korra: Season 3. The last season floundered a bit before setting us up nicely for this season.

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