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: Kyoukai no Kanata, Valvrave the Liberator S2, Log Horizon, Unbreakable Machine Doll, Galilei Donna, Walkure Romanze, Miss Monochrome, Super Seisyun Brothers, Golden Time, Sekai de Ichiban, and Samurai Flamenco.
Click here for part 1, covering the following shows: 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:
Samurai Flamenco – Also known as Sumamenco, this is definitely the most surprising show of the season for me. The show covers a young man who dreams to be a superhero, and the show bears definite similarities to kick-ass. He meets with a slightly more cynical cop, and that’s episode 1.
This show is drawn in the classic way, and I mean the near classic, think Samurai Champloo, which can trace itself back to Cowboy Bebop, and from there we’re solidly in the early 90s. This show oozes style, and charm. Everything about this show makes me nostalgic, which isn’t enough, right. It’s drawn in a gorgeous way where there’s attention to details. The attention to detail is noticeable elsewhere as well, with the actors all doing a splendid work in their roles, delivering believeable lines and characters, with solid character interaction and chemistry as well.
Keywords: Old School, buddy cop show, delusions, sentai?
Log Horizon – A bunch of gamers suddenly find themselves locked within an MMORPG, and though it seems to have resembled a game of the sort we can play in our world until now, now they seem to be there in person. We also get some really neat sci-fi moments, and signs that show the writers like and play MMORPGs.
I’ve played various online games since 1999. I remember reading the comic USER. In other words, this is exactly the type of show I enjoy. We had good action sequences, we had the players thinking about their humanity, what it means to live in this reality, and reflecting about their goals, about motivation – meaning this show will have definite themes for us to bite into, while also actually exploring the rich premise that we have, rather than ignoring it for yet another battle royale. We also had plenty of Akatsuki.
The characters continue to be human, in a good way. A solid show, thus far. The pacing is quite slow, but I think we’re still setting up our characters and their situation as relatable, as well as providing exposition to non-MMORPG players. For a 25 episode show, this is fine.
Keywords: MMORPGs, Comedy, Economics?
Also, this OP certainly has a lot going for it, and the English is even worthy of being called English, I present to you “Database!”
Kyoukai no Kanata – “Beyond the Horizon” is the English name of this show. This is a KyoAni show, better known as the studio being Haruhi, K-On! and Free! or in other words, the “Moe! studio,” this is a magical realism show with action, happening in school, as people try to find themselves in the intricate web of relationships only complicated by being humans, semi-demons or demon hunters.
The show is very good looking, and the characters obey their tropes, for better and for worse. It still remains to be seen whether the character interactions and plot feel natural enough to carry this show or not, but it was a very close call to making it to the next tier. This is the show that has the most to proe, but might also have the easiest time proving it. If not, it’ll still be better than most shows for production values and solid, if cliched, writing.
Keywords: Moe, magical realism, demon hunting.
Sekai de Ichiban Tsuyoku Naritai! – Also known as “Wanna be the strongest in the world!” or SekaTsuyo, this show covers an idol who turns to professional women wrestling after someone looks down on idols. The show follows the tried and true story of a sports’ show, and of the need to prove that you are at the top. I actually think this show’s story is solid, and it could’ve probably covered quite a bit more territory in the first episode had they not spent so much time on women grunting and shots that stick for ~10 seconds on someone’s cameltoe.
Erm, yeah, this is an ecchi show, and this being placed this high means that the story and acting are all solid. Had thus season been slower, I might have actually stuck with it. There are quite a few moments of censorship in this show, so if you want to watch a non-horrible ecchi show, you might want until the BDs are released and truly get your time’s worth.
Keywords: Wrestling, Sports, Ecchi, Fan-service, revenge.
Galilei Donna – The premise of this show and the levels of action and gizmos shown in this show really make me think of J.J. Abrams’ Alias, where three girls who are the descendants of famous inventor Galileo Galilei must flee as they are chased by mysterious people. Naturally, they’re half Japanese. The show’s levels of actions and the quality of them are very high, and we’ve also got flying fish-ships which lend the show a distinct air of steampunk. Not enough of the story or characters are actually seen in the first episode, but it was a very strong showing and I’m eagerly awaiting more episodes.
Keywords: Action, family, over-the-top, mystery.
Try Harder Please:
Unbreakable Machine-Dolls / Machine-Doll wa Kizutsukanai – This show covers a transfer student to a school focused on magical dolls, who is searching for the man who killed his family and wants to have his revenge on him.
This is an action show, and while the CGI in some moments was quite distracting, the action is quite well done. I need more action, as the characters themselves leave quite a lot to be desired, though the acting is solid.
The show is an unapologetic loner type shonen, of the show I like. It does have a few fan-service moments that feel intrusive, but this show in general seems to pander to a certain type of viewer on multiple levels, and this sort of thing seems more prevalent, so I guess I’m growing used to it.
Show needs to stop having so much time spent without action, or to get better at these non-action sequences.
Keywords: Revenge, Action, Solo hero, dolls, fan-service.
Golden Time – This is from the writer of Toradora! so like many other I have had great hopes. A RomCom set up in a college setting, rather than the usual high school fair.
Problems with this show are that for a character-driven drama we more or less had zero character interaction during the first two episodes, a lot of comedy but which is entirely generic and seems lifted from half a dozen other shows. That the show suffers from the worst production values I’ve seen in a good time is unfortunate. I’ve put this show on hold, and might pick it up after it ends if I hear enough good things about it.
Keywords: College, Romantic Comedy, Slapstick, Awful Production values.
Walkure Romanze – Another fan-service show, this time about a bunch of girls who compete in a jousting school and this one boy they all want to be their helper… the show seems innocent enough, but it’s just not interesting enough for me. The plot seems to be a well trodden territory, with slapstick humor that usually veers into someone losing their clothes. Bad? Not exactly, but not nearly good enough to merit my time.
Keywords: Fan Service, Ecchi, Romance, school, jousting.
Miss Monochrome / Super Seisyun Brothers – I am going to describe the two shows in the same segment – 3 minute long episodes, supposedly comedy but suffering from not having anything actually be funny. They both have a “detached” narrator who tells you what you should know, but all too often repeats the same things each episode.
I still think Super Seisyun is the superior choice, due to actually having actual characters, and half of the voice actors doing quite a good job. There’s nothing really to recommend Miss Monochrome, except you only lose 3 minutes a week, but I’d rather spend them elsewhere.
Watched: 2/? for Monochrome; 4/? for Super Seisyun.
Keywords: Comedy, Narrator, “shorts”, skits.
Valvrave the Liberator/ Kakumeiki Valvrave S2 – The only continuing show this season for me. Honestly, it doesn’t feel like season 2, but like the second half of a 25 episode show. Ramifications abound in the first episode, with the adults being their usual political shitty selves, as explored in this show in general. If you made it through season 1, then keep watching, otherwise don’t.
Keywords: Mecha, Space, action, vampires, humanity.
Shows not caught up with: White Album S2, Yozakura Quartet, Kyousougiga. I need to leave something for the future. Monogatari 2nd Season is also going to be marathoned at later date, I just prefer to handle it that way.