Winter 2015 Anime Season Preview and Expectations

Fall 2014 is over, and I’ve barely watched any series, roughly 7. But enough with that, the season that just ended was apparently pretty great, but we need to look ahead! Winter 2015 begins officially tomorrow, with Tsukimonogatari’s release. Most everything else begins on January 4th, which is next Sunday. This season is a bit sparse, but continuations (Shirobako, Parasyte) and returning shows (Durarara!!, JoJo) pick up some of the slack.

As always, in these posts I cover shows I plan to follow, or have thoughts on why I will not follow them, or considered following and decided not to. As always, I try to strike a balance between giving you enough information on the show, and telling you why I think it is or isn’t worth watching. Shows ordered by day, and by expectation within the day, since I might pick or not pick a show up based on how busy that day is. That’s only sensible.

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, or information on shows I didn’t cover (such as follow-ups to shows I don’t watch).

Sunday:

Junketsu no Maria / Maria the Virgin Witch anime Winter 2015Junketsu no Maria / Maria the Virgin Witch – The Hundred Years’ War. Maria decides to stop the war by summoning a succubus and incubus to sleep the armies’ commander into a happy stupor. Heaven intervenes and decrees Maria will lose her powers if she were to lose her virginity. Manga-based. I am often tired of “non-humor gags” that proliferate through anime, but I actually laugh at many such gags when they appear. Speculative pick of the season for me. Of special note is the director behind the show is Taniguchi Goro, knows as the director behind Code Geass and Planetes. Not exactly known for comedy, but a solid pick.
Interest Rating: 1.5/3. I’m not a huge fan of anime comedies, but I do enjoy them when they work. It seems the combination of humor and comedy might work out for me. Hope springs eternal.
Airing Date: January 11th. Preview.

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Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works Episode 12 (Finale) – Fun Times. Dull Times. Conflict.

(I actually have notes for all episodes. When will they go up on the blog? At some point™. Check the “Episodic Notes Page“, where they’ll all appear eventually. Hopefully this week.)

This episode came out at 3:30 AM. I was awake, but trying to get my sleep schedule even nominally under control, and being as it was a double feature, I decided to go to sleep. With that out of the way, last episode had a lot of gag moments, funny faces, and tsundere-Rin, which was enjoyable but empty calories, and another session of “Shirou discusses philosophy with Rin/Archer”, which was much meatier, but didn’t entirely add up in terms of internal logic. I expect a lot of sweet action this episode, so let’s go.

Thoughts and Notes:

Screenshot album 1 (up to 17:32), screenshot album 2 (up to 35:01), screenshot album 3 – imgur has a 150 image limit per upload. Joint album, but with reverse image order.

1) A Day Out:

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works (TV) anime episode 12 notes - Emiya Shirou, Tohsaka Rin and Saber enjoying a date

1) “The bread I bought is gone and has been replaced by 300 yen.” – TAIGA!!!!

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12 Days of Anime #1 – Community Involvement – Moderating /r/anime & Leaving

It’d be easy to say that this is the top moment of the year because this was a relatively weak year for anime, or that I haven’t watched much anime over the past three months. It could also be said that I just like myself a bit too much, but since these moments are all about our personal moments, and that this particular “moment” took up hundreds of hours of my time over half a year, I don’t really see how anything else could’ve taken the #1 spot.

Paranoia Agent

Nothing like some self-deprecating humor to start us off.

I’ve spent many times on various internet communities since roughly 1997. Every community I come into, I become very involved with, and relatively well-known in short order. I’ve started using reddit’s /r/anime’s subreddit more heavily when I revived this blog, back in April 2013, and completely immersed myself in it when Fall 2013’s season began, back in July. And as part of the community, I’d post pointers to people, correct mistakes, call out when people broke the rules, ask for rule clarifications, etc.

As such, it wasn’t all that surprising, as a high profile and very active poster that I’ve been offered a position of moderating the subreddit back in February, which I accepted. Continue reading

12 Days of Anime #2 – Nine Great Anime Related Moments from 2014

Tomorrow I’m going to post the anime moment that had left the deepest impression upon me this past year. I’ve already written of 10 moments, but here are nine more moments that I thought merited a paragraph each, of an exciting, impactful or “other” moment in my anime-related life from the past year. Why nine? Because tomorrow is the tenth, the big one (Order of following moments is arbitrary).
Moments will be included for: Nobunagun, Mushishi, Avatar: The Legend of Korra, Chihayafuru, Princess Tutu, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (and Stardust Crusaders), Log Horizon, Hunter x Hunter (2011), and Madoka Magica: Rebellion.

Princess Tutu Anime - Kureha / Rue standing over Prince Mytho

1. Princess Tutu is a Magical Show: Princess Tutu is hands down the best show I’ve watched this year, which makes me not finishing it even worse. I’ve listened to a lot of classic music and ballets as a child, and Princess Tutu using them all was splendid. The story is basically timeless, speaks to my love of narratives and meta-narratives (similar to The Witches’ sub-series in Terry Pratchett’s The Discworld series), and the more thought you put into the show, the more you get into it. Would be a great show to watch with one’s children, for the older readers of my blog.

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12 Days of Anime #3 – Sword Art Online II Isn’t My Top Anime – Watching Myself Watch a Show

When the anime year of 2014 began, I made a comment that I sure hope Sword Art Online II would be my top anime for the year, with Mushishi’s second season being #2. I added a wink at the end of said comment, and partially the reason was that I knew it’d annoy the rest of the Aniblogosphere/Anitwitter crowd, but there was more than a bit of truth to it. 2013 had been an amazing strong year for anime, and had Sword Art Online’s first season ended during 2013, it’d have still made it to the top 3 of my personal list.

Sword Art Online II Anime - Death Gun

I could’ve probably used some more action in my shounen.

It’s not that Sword Art Online II was bad or disappointing in its own right, it had actual character development, it had quite a few moments where you could see a strong control of the medium by the director. I agreed with most of the decisions made by the adaptation, such as when they cut out most explanations that speak to the nerd within us all, but just take up time (a lesson Mahouka could’ve used). But while everything was fine on paper, it just didn’t click with me as strongly as the first season did.

Part of it is certainly connected to yesterday’s post, about “outgrowing shounen” shows. Continue reading

12 Days of Anime #4 – Too Old For Shounen and my Mahouka Blog Flamewar.

Mahou Sensou (Magical Warfare), Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei (The Irregular at Magic High School), Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works, Fairy Tail 2014, Gokukoku no Brynhildr (Brynhildr in the Darkness). This year had a lot of shounen shows which made me realize some things about how I watch these shows, and what I think of them. I still like these shows, or I wouldn’t watch them, I always have high hopes, and sometimes they are met, such as with Hunter x Hunter, or even Tokyo Ravens, but more often, I realize I’m not enjoying these shows as much as I wish to, and as much as I once had. It didn’t help most of the shows mentioned earlier were either outright bad, lacking, or just lacking in a certain way.

Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei / The Irregular at Magic High School  - Shiba Miyuki loves her brother

Darn straight, you tell them, /sister/! – Mahouka

This realization actually started more towards the tail-end of 2013, with shows such as Unbreakable Machine Doll and Strike the Blood, but back then I ascribed it to the bad art and over-reliance on fan-service, in part. But it’s more than that, it’s also more than just me being too old and tired of these shows (my love for I spoke of before, more than once) – it’s the difference in how I watch them. Shounonsense (the female version would be “Shoujunk”, thank you AniTwitter) often just don’t have enough happen every episode, and you need to watch several episodes in one go to get anything out of them, and hopefully think slightly less on the episodes as you go, which my note-taking interferes with.

But no, some of the aforementioned shows are definitely not up to snuff. Continue reading

12 Days of Anime #5 – Tokyo Ghoul’s Finale Was Stunning

Tokyo Ghoul started out strong. It had gore, it had violence, it had some of that “I’m going to show you sexy stuff”, all that makes one think a show is trying to pass itself off as “mature”, but is anything but, right? But if you read my notes for the first episode (the only ones I published), you’ll see I actually saw something there, it reminded me of werewolf and vampire stories, and how often they’re used as allegories for sexual awakening, or of growing up. I saw something similar in Tokyo Ghoul’s premier.

Tokyo Ghoul Anime - Kaneki Ken

The question at the heart of any story about growing up, and also many horror stories.

Now, aside from horror at what the protagonist has become, horror at the world he’s found himself from, which seems to be the tension and hallmark of most psychological horror, this show did indeed have quite a bit of a “shounen battler” feel, which wasn’t the greatest. At least they spent most of their thematic time on the topic of recreating horror, of people replicating what has been done to them, and that the true horror is how people treat one another, how they “Other” each group they don’t belong to, and allow themselves to replicate the atrocities that had been done to them, an endless vicious cycle.

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