I ran out of energy and desire to cover the final weeks of the Winter 2014 season (I’m so glad it’s over). But we’ve got a new season, so it’s time to see how the first episodes fared! The episodes are those I’ve watched from Wednesday to Wednesday, and are listed in the order of my enjoyment of them.
Each episode’s title links to my full episodic notes for the episode in question, in case you’d like my in-depth reactions.
(Shows Covered, in alphabetical order: Akuma no Riddle, Black Bullet, Brynhildr no Gokukoku (Brynhildr in the Darkness), Captain Earth, Fairy Tail (2014), Isshuukan Friends (One Week Friends), JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei (The Irregular at Magic High School), Mushishi S2, Nagi no Asukara, Nisekoi, “No Game, No Life”, and Selector Infected WIXOSS.)
Note, Originally Selector Infected WIXOSS and Nagi no Asukara had been placed just above Akuma no Riddle. Then I decided to embrace fun and bumped them down for the faults I enumerate in my write-ups, basically for being muddled and not brave enough.
From APR – This show was fun. I actually wanted to watch episode 2 immediately after! While people say it reminds them of Star Driver, not having seen that I thought of Eureka 7. It’s fun seeing a mecha show by people other than Sunrise who had really been off their game lately. This show was very shiny, and we not only got hammered with an extra-heavy dose of “mystical prophecy / portentous memories/dreams”, but we actually got to see the origin, and see the truth behind them. Father being a “Captain” is something many shows would’ve dragged to reveal in who knows how many episodes, but we’ve got it all in the first episode.
This show was gorgeous, it was well-directed, well-acted, and it was interesting. The need for everything to have secrets/symbolism and psychology (really, Freud?) consistent in Bones’ anime is a bit tiring, but guess that’s what post-NGE mecha are about. Still, an extremely strong showing.
2) Mushishi S2 episode 1
A small show, full of small moments, and yet so very good. Mushishi isn’t “exciting”. We might be excited it comes, but the content isn’t outrageous. This episode exemplified these things, as the so-called protagonist wasn’t Ginko, and while he often is a passerby, he was even more so here. It was also nice to see a bit more of the daily rituals and lives of “plain Mushishi”. It truly does feel as if this show never left, eh? I’m glad for its return.
No notes. I watch this show to relax. Screw the world :)
Oh my. For those who don’t know, I often watch anime in order to feel, and not just feel, but feel sadness. This show was charming. This show was small. This show with its small nuances, and muted pastel colours, and the small relationship charmed me completely. The boy who has to make the decision to be someone’s friend each and every time anew actually shows us something many of us forget – relationships aren’t “just there”, you maintain them. Each time you reach out you make a conscious decision of calling upon and reaffirming the relationship.
This stuff is heartwarming and heartbreaking and I teared up a couple of times in the first episode. Unless this show pulls a Kotoura-san mood-shift, there’s no way I’m not fully on-board for the full run.
I originally didn’t plan to pick this up. This show is sort of “trash”, but it’s really fun trash. It reminds me of Deadman Wonderland (which I’ve liked) and Danganronpa (which I hated). It actually had solid voice acting, and aside from the too caricature people (crazy girl and dice-sensei), I liked the vibe alright. Give me fun action, not a lot to ask for, right?
All you haters are gonna burn! I don’t care! Ahem. This episode was slightly weird for me. Onodera and Chitoge are supposed to be equal runner-ups, right? My personal taste leans in the direction of Onodera over Chitoge. But, the show clearly seems to be in love with Chitoge. The show has Raku and Chitoge actually get to be natural around one another, and it lingers on her small moments of being adorable. And yet, we’re going to get another girl next episode.
I don’t really get it. “A couple is forced to pretend to be a couple by their mobster parents and slowly grow to like one another after their initial mutual disgust” is a perfect RomCom setup, why do we need for it to be a harem? A harem of this sort is the hallmark of an author trying to fit multiple girls and stories into one story. The harem is about being unable to decide between the girls, but it also shows the author is unable to choose which story they want to tell…
I like JoJo, but I’ll be honest, this episode was kind of boring. It had some of the ostentatious “too big for life” JoJo mannerisms, but we’re still not invested in the characters, and we don’t have enough cockiness (JoJo 2) or ideals (JoJo 1). Seems JoJo 3 will have plenty of attitude, but we’re not there just yet. Dio is by far the best antagonist this show has had, so I’m glad for his return, even if he won’t have his old pal Jonathan to bounce off of.
NagiAsu exploring what “romance” is and how love and pain interact just covered it from all possible angles, via a couple of characters, and it didn’t feel coherent, so the final message fell flat. It did end with a bunch of neat and heart-warming moments, but the road had been so long and muddled that it feels unearned.
I ended up giving it 7/10, but it was terribly uneven, and it’s almost funny to see how I thought it’d focus on social and cultural clashes.
This was a solid episode. We have the usual Hero’s Journey where things begin in normalcy, and are quickly disturbed, as the protagonist is thrust into a world not their own. As is usually the case, we don’t get told what exactly is going on, and more is hinted than actually revealed. Seeing Kuroha’s flashback however, we did get some more content than is usually the case – Kuroha is somewhat of a cipher, but not entirely, and we even see her easily flustered.
Some of the ridiculous moments had been very manga-esque, which relies on visual gags that break the mood at times, and some of the fan-service/male-gaze had been quite overt – it’d be less of an issue (meaning I’m used to it) if it didn’t totally break the bleak and dark atmosphere this show is going for. The instrumental OP is quite something. I actually have some hopes for this.
This show was very interesting. Aside from many Madoka callbacks, it also made me think of Neon Genesis Evangelion. I’m definitely intrigued. However, the show had some awful consumerist messages about how “things” can make your wishes come true, by changing you to be able to fulfill your wishes – almost good, since in the end it’s you fulfilling your wishes, and “earning” it by your hard work. But then they said how you can’t do it and are essentially given it. Even the interaction between the two characters – they pulled out what could’ve been a great punch and source of future strife.
Mari Okada in these two shows (NagiAsu and WIXOSS) had shown muddled messages and unwillingness to fully commit, and you can’t get either NGE or Madoka without going all the way, from minute 1.
This is the first show where things get decidedly “meh”, on my weekly round-up. I seem to have expected this show to be what I expected of Mahou Sensou and the upcoming Rail Wars! but after looking at the previews again, realized this is all about being a fun action romp. This show was sort of crazy. Trashy fun, but not as fun as Akuma no Riddle, not as celebratory of its trashiness, with trying to be serious while characters kept pushing their boobs, or the 10-years old girl got covered in viscous white fluid and declared the 17 year old is her fiancee.
Even so, the show was at times adorable, and the loli didn’t feel as much like fanservice as she did of a young chick who imprinted herself on her only “family”. The show went for “brutal” but it mostly came off as ridiculously farcical or ironic. It was colourful and stylish, and it still has some room to go.
For those who don’t know, I’ve read all the LNs for this series, and wrote about the first 11 and some adaptation predictions here (expect lite-spoilers, but mostly focused on themes and writing-style). This adaptation was sort of weird for me in the sense that they upped the comedy and gag-comedy count quite a bit, as well as emphasized the whole “Bro-con” sister quite a bit more than it’s already emphasized in the books.
Aside from Yakumo (the ninja tutor) being made completely ridiculous, I actually think that was the right call, because the books’ greatest sin isn’t on a story-level, but on a story-telling level, where they tell rather than show you. Remove all the “telling” and you’re left with very little characterization, and people who are unable to piece together what the characters and their interactions should convey, so obviously by stressing these things, they got to help pass along the right feeling.
And though we’ve had some monologues and internal notes, and a bit of infodumping, it’s so much less than in the books. They actually managed to cover a hefty chunk of the first book. All in all, ye olde exposition piece, but soon we’ll get to some great action sequences. I’m here for a solid popcorn show, honestly.
My write-up for the first episode actually has a mini-editorial, and I plan to do them every so often when the show gets to an idea or theme I found interesting in the books. Next time might not be for about 12 more episodes or so, though.
I came to this expecting trashy light fun, and that’s more or less what I got. It is all sorts of ridiculous and arbitrary, and the narrators say things I agree with on the nature of the world and why they withdrew from it, then reach all the wrong conclusions, and so does the narrator. But seeing the narrator is a Child-God, I guess we can put him under “untrustworthy narrator” as well.
Similar in some ways to Black Bullet, while there the fan-service felt more innocuous or ye olde “must fill my anime trope shit”, here it’s pushed in our face somewhat more. The thing I disliked the most is how the games, how the fights for supremacy we came here for are completely skipped over – “They cheat? So will I” and then our side wins. I get that the first episode needed to cover a lot of ground, but this show better actually show some depth and intricacies to its fun next episode.
13) Fairy Tail episode 1
I actually knew going in that this would be “bad”. This episode was a complete exposition/time-gap, but it was that way in the manga. I’ve read up to the end of the current arc, and either next episode or the one after it’d turn into nothing but action. Yes! I’m not a fan of the new character designs, even if they’re truer to the manga. Triangle-body Erza and that weird form of Gajeel… do not want.
Spring Week 1 Summary: Oh shit. Usually around the first week I already have a couple of shows I can’t wait to drop, and a couple more just on the edge of it. Not only is this not the case here, but Akuma no Riddle isn’t a show I originally planned to watch. Furthermore, I am grabbing the first episodes of most shows and then as time permits I watch one if I’m bored and have 20 minutes to burn. The only thing that is going to save me this season is that aside from taking notes for the first episode of basically all shows, I plan to drop taking notes for almost all shows. Yes, I keep saying it, to keep reminding myself, and to not let this decision fade away, which would be Very Bad™.
Current contenders for full episodic notes – Selector Infected WIXOSS. Maybe Brynhildr, but waffling on that. Captain Earth could get it, but honestly, I just want to marathon that show, to just blast through it. Maybe I’ll do it with Star Driver which I just grabbed.
The only shows somewhat on the chopping block after the first week are No Game, No Life, and Black Bullet, but both have at least one more episode to show me what they’ve got.
The World is Still Beautiful episode 1 – That’s #1 on the “This is surprisingly good!” from the shows I didn’t pick up.
The Pilot’s Love Song / Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta episode 13 (finale) – Man, this feels like such a drag. Episode 12 was the (bad) ending to the show, that there’s another episode just makes it even worse.
Pupipo! episodes 14-15 – Just need to find those 10 minutes. Guess I should do it instead of/before checking out Spring 2014 shows I didn’t check yet :D
Gatchaman Crowds episode 13 – I want to be alert for this. This show deserves it, oh yes.
And the following unaired shows:
- Ping-Pong the Animation
- Sidonia no Kishi / Knights of Sidonia
- Mekaku City Actors
- M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane
- Break Blade – It’s out, but there are no subtitles.
So, what did you guys watch this week? What stood out as great, and what stood out as terrible? Anything in my listing you disagree with?