There’s a week until the Summer 2015 season begins in earnest, so it’s time to put behind us this underwhelming Spring season in order to clear the plate for new and exciting shows! Wait, I’m only excited for 4 shows, and half of those are returning or continuing shows? Welp. Well, let us see what’s what.
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, as that affects pick status. The “Almost In” category returns, describing shows that I’d pick up in prior seasons, but decided to put aside in order to make more time for backlog, after growing unhappy with how many of the shows I pick up ending up “not worth the time”, let alone “good”.
Most of the information about the shows can be had from 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).
God Eater – Shows (and films) based on video games almost always suck. The more of a storyline the game has, the worse it usually is. Exceptions, such as last year’s Rage of Bahamut: Genesis exist, but they’re few and far between, and atrocities such as the BlazBlue show are much more common. God Eater is a Monster Hunter clone, so expect team dynamics in the face of monsters to be the draw, which is a pretty standard fare as far as anime goes.
The stand-out aspect here is that this is made by Ufotable, who make really pretty shows, and that the voice acting talent is pretty respectable. Hirao Takayuki, the director, is the man behind the best regarded Kara no Kyoukai (Garden of Sinners) film, the 5th, Paradox Spiral. The art-style in the preview is interesting, somewhere between CGI and water-colours, of all things. The faces seem not very expressive, and while it is definitely interesting, it reminds me more of indie video games, or short flash animation. Dunno.
Interest Rating: 1/3. It’s likely to be really pretty, but as Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works has shown, pretty is not enough. And hey, if this ends up being surprisingly good, as has happened with Bahamut, I’m sure people will let me know and I’ll pick it up.
Airing Date: July 5th. Preview.
Overall Sunday Thoughts: Nothing! The weekend is over and with it the deluge of anime. Time to prepare for a barren first half week, and watch what you didn’t have time for during the hectic weekend.
Akagami no Shirayuki Hime / Snow White With The Red Hair – A prince falls in love with a beautiful girl with red hair and tries to make her his, she escapes to a neighbouring country where she meets and becomes romantically involved with that country’s prince, and there are elements from the Snow White story thrown in for good measure. You can tell this is a shoujo, right? I have a fond spot for shoujo in general, and fantasy shoujo in particular, but my one worry is they usually proceed very slowly. But hey, if Yona of the Dawn wasn’t enough for you, this certainly seems interesting.
Director Ando Masahiro had directed Sword of the Stranger, Canaan, Zetsuen no Tempest, and Hanasaku Iroha, which make up for an impressive resume, while Akao Deko on series composition has been behind shows such as Noragami, Etotama, BlazBlue, and Arakawa Under the Bridge, which isn’t as reassuring as it could be.
Interest Rating: 1.5/3. Shoujo Fantasy! Which truly means “Shoujo Romantic-Fantasy,” which while rarely great, is something I enjoy.
Airing Date: July 6th. Preview.
Overall Monday Thoughts: Monday is always a pretty empty day, but a show I’m interested in! Which might be better watched after it ends. I’ll still give it a number of episodes as it airs. But as usual, relaxation after the weekend is done. There’s also Teekyu 5 and more To-Love Ru for those still watching these franchises.
Overlord – An MMORPG closes down, and a player gets trapped inside. Rather than try to find his way out or team up with others, he gets transformed into the shape of a villain and sets out to conquer this world. The art-style in the preview isn’t stellar, and Madhouse’s track record with adapting light novels, as opposed to manga, often leaves much to be desired (Mahou Sensou, The Irregular at Magic High School, and to some degree No Game, No Life as well). And we don’t know who are the people behind this show. All of these leave me feeling wary, but I like these shounen, and trying to come to terms with a new world is something I enjoy watching and much of what I read sci-fi and fantasy for. Will the twist of being an evil overlord be sufficient? I hope so, but we’ll see.
Interest Rating: 1.5/3. A nice twist on premise, but really not much to go on. This is a shot in the dark.
Airing Date: July 7th. Preview.
Didn’t Make It In:
Monster Musume – Ecchi RomComs! Lots of mythological beasts that are an excuse for half-human women to form a harem around a dude. Why all of them for this dude? Why is it all about sex? Because! Not really the thing for me, but it might actually be a decent harem RomCom and not just ecchi trash, but these things rarely work out for me. Have a boobilicious harem RomCom preview.
Bikini Warriors – I really don’t care for this one, but I wanted to call out the description of the show:
The setting is a an RPG-style world with swords and magic, where adventurers form a party to challenge the demon king’s right to rule. But, the adventurers all have beautiful breasts, enormous breasts, and bikini armor!!
At that point you just have to shake your head and wonder why even worry about a premise. This show is designed all about the fan-service, while Monster Musume on the face of it actually cares about characters and humor. Why not just give context-less boobs? Ah, yes, that’s porn, but then again, this is what such shows amount to, and I feel the premise only gets in the way of the shows trying to do what they want to. I know when I watched Hyakka Ryouran whenever things moved to the cast it all became so boring I couldn’t keep watching after a certain point.
Overall Tuesday Thoughts: Two shows for the fan-service lovers, but another slow day where nothing really stands out. Every season is sort of like that with the first half of the week, but there it is.
Gangsta – The Gritty, Dark, Mature and Violent show of the season, how could I pass it up? I actually like such shows (I liked Tokyo Ghoul’s first season, and Deadman Wonderland, and absolutely loved Future Diary. Yes, I prefer it when the shows play it straight), and this actually seems like it might be slightly more “mature” rather than just giving us gritty violence to make us feel good? This is by Manglobe, and I’ve always had a soft spot for them, the preview has art style and visual direction that certainly seem promising, and gave a vibe that reminded me of Baccano!’s 1930s. Director Murase Shukou directed Ergo Proxy, which was very deliberate atmosphere, though series composition is handled by Inotsume Shinichi that gave us “gems” such as The Pilot’s Love Song, but also Akatski no Yona, and SKET Dance.
So, while the story might suffer, this feels like a show that might just coast by on being pretty cool. Expect a lot of “serious and mature” teenage fans to infest online fora discussions for this show, though.
Interest Rating: 2/3.
Airing Date: July 1st. Preview.
Ore Monogatari!! / MY love STORY!! – I figured my issue with this show. It’s not really a Romantic Drama, or even a Romantic Comedy, it’s a moe slice of life show starring Yamato and Takeo being disgustingly cute. I smile, but I’m somewhat bored, and the show is heavy-handed and badly paced during most of those episodes. I still like it fine, and love the Takeo and Suna scenes, but there aren’t enough of those, and the main couple is just, well, uninteresting to watch. I’m still watching, but losing some steam.
Current Rating: 6.8/10. It’s fine, but it’s sort of… empty? Yeah. When it wants to it’s good, but it seems it’s not interested in being good nearly as much as I’d like, or giving me what I care for.
Episodes Watched: 9/24.
Overall Wednesday Thoughts: Two very different shows! One is cute enough to give you diabetes, and if the other were coffee you’d not sleep for a week after consuming it. I’m hopeful for Wednesday, even if I do end up dropping Ore Monogatari. Also, the last day before the weekend’s load hits us, as usual.
Chaos Dragon: Sekiryuu Seneki / Chaos Dragon: Red Dragon Campaign – Various authors dealing with anime, light novels, or visual novels got together and played a tabletop roleplaying game. From their campaign, a light novel series was spawned. The authors are notable figures such as Nasu (Fate/Stay Night), Urobuchi Gen (Madoka Magica), Ryogho Narita (Durarara!! and Baccano!) and two more. It’s a pretty standard story, but I have a fond place in my heart for stories such as this, such as Dragonlance, or the older show, Record of Lodoss War. I don’t really have too many expectations for it, especially as both the director and series composer are new to the scene, but the person behind the script, Aikawa Shou, has some experience, having worked on Fullmetal Alchemist, Un-Go, Juuni Kouki (The Twelve Kingdoms), RahXephon, and more. I am mostly watching it for the mixture of being the silly action fantasy that I like and seeing what sort of mischief these authors’ characters got to.
And hey, it has good voice actors, colourful art-style, good music, and seemingly sharp art, I’m game.
Interest Rating: 1.5/3. Hey, it’s the sort of show I like! I’d normally put it on “Almost in”, but the meta-truth of this concept, of how it came to be, pushed me over the edge. I recommend not coming to it with great expectation, a roleplaying campaign usually adheres to genre tropes.
Airing Date: July 2nd. Preview.
Gakkou Gurashi! – Your regular moe slice of life show, with a bunch of girls wandering around having silly fun and nothing much happening! Except they’re trapped in school when a zombie apocalypse comes to pass. I suspect the extraordinary premise will be in the background as most of the show focuses on the “cute girls being cute” focus, which I absolutely find mind-numbingly dull, but I am going to give it a try, even if Koufuku Graffiti and Kantai Collection should’ve taught me better.
Interest Rating: 2.5/3. Hype Rating: 1/3. I don’t usually split those, but while the premise’s twist is deeply interesting, such shows are usually my bane.
Airing Date: July 9th. Preview.
Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace – An anime-original murder mystery show inspired by the works of a famous Japanese mystery novelist? I was really quite interested in this show, and then I found out it’s directed by Seiji Kishi and the script is handled by his usual partner Uezu Makoto sucked all the excitement out of me. This pair can handle comedies, sometimes, but any attempt at doing anything more serious just ends up badly, with them hammering at the audience far too hard and not letting the content breathe at all, giving us shows such as Hamatora the Animation, Danganronpa, Assassination Classroom, and more, almost all suffering from the same fate. Oh well.
Interest Rating: 1.5/3. I’d watch it, but I’ve been burnt far too often by the pair behind this show, so I’m going to pass.
Airing Date: July 2nd. Preview.
Aoharu x Kikanju / Aoharu x Machinegun – The premise sounds like a slice of life show, with the protagonist meeting a strange person who the next day turns out to have tricked his schoolmate out of some money. But turns out that this is a show about survival games, and is a shounen-publication comedy, which might also have yaoi understones. I just don’t know what to make of this show based on all of this conflicting information and how the released premise doesn’t actually describe what the show is apparently really about, just the premise for the first, dunno, 10 minutes of the show? I’ll be keeping an ear for it, but I don’t know what to render judgment based off of. Director’s full-series directing debut, script composer hasn’t done many full shows either, aside from Blood Lad.
Interest Rating: 1/3. There’s just nothing to go based off of here, to either excite or repel me.
Airing Date: July 2nd. Preview.
Overall Thursday Thoughts: Thursday actually has quite a few shows that are nominally interesting, mostly due to interesting premises or due to how little is actually known of them. Sadly, premise-only but with lacking people working on the show doesn’t instill confidence, and not knowing what a show will be about is hardly the best way to get started. I’m likely to give every show on this day an episode, but I’m not holding much faith in Thursday as a day where I end up watching more than a single show, if at that. A big “Watcher Beware!” warning is attached to each of these shows, unless you like your moe slice of life shows, then you should just go ahead with the zombies.
Classroom☆Crisis – My pick for the “Punchline or Rolling Girls of the season,” neither of those showed ended up amounting to much, but what I mean is that this show could end up anywhere between great and terrible. And while technically an show can, I think some shows have higher ceilings, but also lower floors they can reach. An anime original show about high school kids sounds normal enough, but this group of kids is training as test pilots, mechanics, and other more serious endeavours. If this show works out well it could be Hanasaku Iroha, but on the other side of the spectrum lies Glasslip…
Director Nagasaki Kenji worked on Kiba, No. 6, and Gundam Build Fighters, so I’m going to be willing to afford some trust. Maruto Fumiaki, the author behind Saekano which I detested, and White Album 2 for which I didn’t care is behind this show’s plot, which worries me somewhat, but even if I dislike his stories, I think he’s mostly a capable storyteller.
Interest Rating: 1.5/3. “Real slice of life” is a genre I like, I’m split about the staff working on it, but they’re capable people. There’s chance of greatness.
Airing Date: July 3rd.
Ushio to Tora – For context, this is a shounen manga that ran between 1990 and 1996. Anime adaptations of not currently serializing material that doesn’t coincide with re-release or a real live movie adaptation (as was the case with Parasyte) is bewildering, especially when the source material is 313 chapters long. This show was announced as triple-cour (36-39 episodes), but even so, either the show will be very rapid in its pacing, or require much cutting of fluff. What’s it about? A boy has a demon locked in his cellar, whom he must release to fight invading spirits.
Anyway, a shounen action battler! I like those, but they’re usually much more enjoyable after they end, so I might pick this up and then put it on hold, especially with the length of time it’s going to run for. We’ll see! Director Nishimura Satoshi has his name on works such as Trigun and Hajime no Ippo, so I suspect he’ll fit the job.
Interest Rating: 1.5/3. Shounen battlers, I like them. I just don’t always like watching them weekly.
Airing Date: July 3rd. Preview.
Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya 2wei! Herz! (Fate/Kaleid 2nd season 2nd cour) – I’ve watched two seasons of this, and I might end up watching this, either as it airs or later on and hating myself, but if you want more moe slice of life mixed with extreme fan-service of 10 year old girls, and some really cool fights, this is the show for you. Sadly the fan-service has been getting more extreme, even as characters became less interesting and the amount of gorgeous fights also took a nose-dive in the 2nd season’s first cour.
Interest Rating: 1/3. It’s never been a great show, and last season was worse, ehh.
Airing Date: July 24th.
Gate (Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri / Gate: The Self-Defense Forces Fight Like This in Another Land) – This is apparently the nationalistic anime your parents have warned you about. A gate to a fantasy world opens in Japan, and a team of soldiers led by an otaku (who is also a soldier, and 33 years old! An adult!) steps forth and deals with the local inhabitants. I’m fond of such stories, who are actually sci-fi, or use the backdrop of sci-fi to set up a harem of sorts, which might be the case here (see Outbreak Company’s case, that started so well and then devolved into usual anime-jokes harem-nonsense). Apparently, as is the case with quite a few sci-fi works set in Japanese manga/light novels/anime (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei, and others), the sub-theme here has to deal with how other international powers are pressuring Japan.
This show looks pretty sweet in terms of animation and art, with A-1 giving it a good treatment, and I like how such stories could be carried out, though they usually end up disappointing. I usually don’t mind Japanese nationalism as much, even when I notice it, but it seems to be very wrapped up about jingoism here, which I find more annoying in my media, and will give this a pass, or check it without being invested in it. Director Kyogoku Takahiko is the man behind Love Live, Snow Halation, and other idol stuff, while Urahata Tatsuhiko who’s in charge of series composition has done a lot of work on numerous shows, such as Nana, Aria, Cardcaptor Sakura, but also Haganai, Black Bullet, and others. He’s also the man in charge of this season’s Rokka no Yuuusha. So it seems the director will either have to work with more serious material than he’s used to, or the show will lean more on comedic elements.
Interest Rating: 1.5/3. I like this sort of show, but decided to heed some of the warning signs and check it out later if I decide I wish to.
Airing Date: July 3rd. Preview.
Didn’t Make It In:
Prison School / Kangoku Gakuen – Have an NSFW preview. Ok, you’re back? This is a show about 5 boys getting admitted into an all-girls’ school, but not the light RomCom version… I heard chatter of this show non-stop on my twitter feed and on reddit. It sounded as something that is very much Not My Thing, but I thought I’d check it out anyway, but the preview 100% confirmed for me I’ll be giving this a pass. I might enjoy this in manga form, but in anime form this humor, or non-humor, or whatever this show is supposed to be is just not my thing (Kung Fury and Inferno Cop, as an analogy, bored me to tears). Weirdly enough, the director for this show is Mizushima Tsutomu, better known for directing Another, Genshiken, Girls und Panzer, and the recent breakout success, Shirobako, so at least it’ll be well-directed by someone who also knows how to do comedy.
Overall Friday Thoughts: Friday is an interesting day. A strong day, even. A long-running shounen battler, some more action shows, humor shows, and fan-service shows. Classroom Crisis is the show I’m most looking forward to this day, but there should be a lot of anime chatter following Fridays, as it’d give something for everyone.
Gatchaman Crowds Insight (Gatchaman Crowds 2nd season) – Gatchaman Crowds was the 3rd highest show on my top shows of 2013 list, but in terms of “favourite”, it probably tied for first (with the great Kyousougiga). A show that dealt with numerous ideas regarding society, human relations, gamification, and the nature of heroism. A colourful cast and a great soundtrack and visual flair tied it all together. What will the 2nd season really be about? Oh, there’s this villain, and this is purportedly a superhero team show, but who knows what the show will really be about? I’m excited, either way. Gatchaman Crowds’ first season was a surprise, and even if the 2nd season doesn’t surprise, so long it gives me the same meaty broth, I’ll be more than content.
Interest Rating: 3/3. G-G-G-GATCHAMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN! If you liked the first season, like I have, you’ll be giving this a shot.
Airing Date: July 4th. Note, episode 0 prologue is already out, sans-subtitles.
Write-ups: This might actually happen! I’ll try for shorter notes about “ideas”, as I did for the first season. Speaking of which, here are my write-ups for the first season, which I’m quite fond of. Relatively short.
Durarara!!x2 Ten (Durarara!! 2nd season, 2nd of 3 cours) – More Durarara!! The first cour wasn’t always pretty, and production sometimes failed and resulted in veritable slideshows. But we’ve had our cast, and even expanded it with no character feeling out of place, and while it wasn’t great, it was still quite good. We’re certainly having Mikado’s story as the centerpiece here, discussing the limits of power, responsibility, and what he wants out of life, and out of The Dollars. A lot of setup, and some crossed-paths that are the hallmark of Durarara!! abounded in the first cour, and now it is time to see how Mikado’s choice plays out and intersects with everyone else, and with Ikebukuro.
Interest Rating: 2.5/3. More Durarara!! is always good. Hopefully they’ll get on top of the production issues, and the story will hopefully be better now that we’re done with setup (presumably).
Airing Date: July 4th. Preview.
Write-Ups: I had a post-episode write-up for all but one episode of the first cour (which you can read here), and hopefully I’ll keep it up with this cour as well. No promises, only if I have what to say (and I usually do). You can read my final essay on the first cour here.
Rokka no Yuusha / Braves of the Six Flowers – Six heroes of legend must gather to defeat an ancient evil, but there are 7 heroes gathered instead, so one must be fake. This sort of light novel premise is something I like quite a bit. I like my silly fantasy action shounens, but this one seems to be a tad more, or at least holds the promise to be. It is directed by Takahashi Takeo, who directed Spice and Wolf and Maoyuu, both are shows I quite liked, and the preview does bear similarities to the art-style within the first episode of Maoyu. That Urahata Tatsuhiko, the man behind the script and series composition has done work on Hanasaku Iroha, Nana, Monster, Aria, but also lighter stuff such as Haganai and OreShura fills me with more confidence.
Interest Rating: 2/3. This is the sort of show that I like, made by capable people. I’m hopeful it’d give me that shounen+ fix I often search for.
Airing Date: July 4th. Preview.
A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist / Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai (Shimoseka) – Can you tell by the title that this is a light novel adaptation? The story follows a Japan where in order to protect the youth anything that is “lewd” had been banned. As someone who lives in a country where religious parties are working hard to encourage such behaviour, I certainly find it interesting. The hook? 15 years have passed, and a girl leads protest against these draconic laws, enlisting the help of a boy who’s in love with the Student Council President.
This is a show that could be great, it certainly could have a noticeable sci-fi social commentary aspect, and it could even be somewhat like Sekai Seifuku in terms of tone, but it could also end up as a pretty bog standard school comedy with an interesting premise that runs out of steam after the first arc. I’ll keep an ear to this one and probably check the first episode, or watch it during the slow period of the early week.
This is director’s Suzuki Youhei’s 2nd full directorial position, after HenNeko, which I liked but was forgettable. Yakotani Masahiro who’s in charge of the series composition has worked on Beelzebub, Free!, and The Devil is a Part Timer, further solidifying this as something that’s likely to be enjoyable but veer more into the comedic. Solid staff, but not outstanding.
Interest Rating: 1.5/3. Looks interesting, but Saturday is too stacked, and the risk too high.
Airing Date: July 4th. Preview (Slightly NSFW).
Didn’t Make It In:
Charlotte – Jun Maeda, he of Clannad, Kanon, Air, Little Busters, and Angel Beats! is back with an anime-original, which focuses on a boy and a girl and how their meeting will change the fate of super-power users, naturally. Melodrama is very hit and miss for me, and as much as I loved AnoHana, I found myself tolerating NagiAsu’s, and outright laughing at the final scenes in White Album 2. Jun Maeda is mostly known for creating melodrama and leaning on it far too heavily. While he can create characters as vignettes, he’s not the best at making fully realized people, which such shows call for. I’m also more likely to enjoy such shows in a condensed manner, so I’ll be giving this a pass as it airs. It’s certain to be popular, as Jun Maeda’s shows usually are.
Overall Saturday Thoughts: As has been the case for the past few seasons, Saturday is stacked, especially compared to the rest of the season. The two shows I’m most interested in are continuations, so while expectations are high, disappointment will also be higher than usual if they fail. I think Saturday is solid, with comedy, romance, action, and social commentary might actually be a thing as well. Furthermore, I have two shows I might write about on the same day, and while I’ve done 3 in the past as well, 2 is already pushing it a bit in terms of time commitment. I mean, I know I wasn’t excited for Aldnoah.Zero’s 2nd cour by the time it was airing, but that I was watching and writing about Durarara!! undoubtedly had something to do with it as well. I may very well end up watching World Without Dirty Jokes on Sunday. We’ll see!
Overall Season Thoughts:
I’m not overly impressed by this season. How many shows am I excited for? 4, with a couple more I’m very curious about, and half of the shows I’m most looking for are continuations of shows I love. And all the shows I’m really excited for are grouped in two days. It’s often that I end a season with only a couple of shows I actually loved, or even liked a lot, that part is pretty normal, but it’s been a long time since I’ve been pre-emptively excited, or even intrigued, by so few shows.
Is this going to be a “bad season”? I’m not going to say that, because just as the shows I’m looking forward to could end up being terrible, the shows I’m super skeptical about could end up being great, or they could be great but simply just not for me (such as the zombie moe slice of life show, or Prison School), but for me, personally? I’m underwhelmed, before the season even started.
I would say this season has a lot of shows with interesting premises, or shows that take concepts that were done before but inverts them in some fashion (Zombie Moe, Overlord, Prison School, World Without Dirty Jokes), so if I were back at the point where I picked shows based on premise alone, which was up to Summer 2013? I’d have probably been ecstatic about this season, but there it is, the pain of knowledge :p
I would say that once more those who like shounen action shows and comedies are the main winners, with dramas taking a back seat, or those curious and very different shows, but that’s to be expected.
Which shows are you excited for? Anything you think will be terrible but can’t avoid checking out? Anything you’d like to see me cover in particular?