Summer 2015 First Impressions (Part 1)

I’ve been very busy this past week, with 12 hour workdays every single day. I watched 5 of the 10 shows I intended to, so here’s a first part first impressions. There’ll be part 2. I should have more time again from next week, so expect a return to normalcy in the third week.

As I actually wrote something longer for each of these shows, I’ll keep it brief, and link to the lengthier impressions post. As always, the list is ordered by how much I liked the episodes, combined with how good I thought they were, in a descending order (first is best, last is worst).

1) Durarara!!x2 Ten Episode 13 (Durarara!! Season 2 Cour 2 episode 1):

Durarara!! X2 Ten episode 13 anime overview - Orihara Izaya sees the darkness

Durarara!! is back, rejoice!

Durarara!! is back! True to the way the first season, and the second one started, we had a sort of quiet episode. “Sort of” is exactly right, because as we saw characters going about their daily lives, it was still full of small paths that criss-cross, and we’ve had some time inside Izaya’s head, narrating his life, in a manner similar to both how we’ve had for Mikado when we first encountered him, and mirroring the girl in the 2nd episode whom Izaya tricked. Izaya is a jerk, he’s a scary villain because he understands people deeply, and uses this knowledge to crush their hopes and dreams. But he’s still great to watch in terms of screen presence. Things are going on in Durarara!!, and although in this episode we supposedly took a break from “the main plot”, there were plenty of signs in the background, true to show’s fashion.

I wrote a full post-episode editorial, check it out!

2) Ushio to Tora / Ushio and Tora Episode 1:

Ushio to Tora anime episode 1 overview - Tora dreams of subjugating humanity

Ushio to Tora isn’t special, it doesn’t bring anything new to the table. It has silly characters who make fun of one another, it has chibi and super-deformed art, it has hijinks in the midst of serious business, and it has some dark moments, with great stark shots, mixed with underwhelming CGI. What Ushio to Tora has that isn’t summed up by this list of ingredients is the magic ingredient, fun, and it has it exactly because it feels like a shounen battler out of the 90s, making me think of Hunter x Hunter and Ranma 1/2 as well. It’s silly, it’s energetic, and it’s fun. Watch it.

Full first impressions.

3) Gangsta. Episode 1:

Gangsta. Anime episode 1 overview - Beautiful composition

This episode rode in on style, and it was quite stylish. I didn’t like the OP’s style, where the show opened by showing us half-naked prostitutes, drugs, and guns, to drive home how mature it is. The show had more of it, with a prostitute being beaten, crying after having sex in an alley, and lots of people dying by gore. But that’s not what I mean, the show had a very deliberate pacing to it, with shots composed carefully and many film noir overtones, from morally grey characters, to femme fatales, to cool jazzy music. I liked it overall, but the plot and its hints at super-powered badass characters left a bit to be desired. We’ll see. Right now it put me in mind of late 90s/early 00s shows, or western television drama. Overall a promising start.

Full first impressions, more musings on style.

4) Overlord Episode 1:

 

OverLord anime episode 1 - Mononga is the cutest overlord

“My skeletal overlord can’t be this cute!” – Alternate title

Overlord’s opening segment, thinking about the value of time spent with friends now that you no longer spend time with them or the game, the nature of self-definition by one’s chosen game, all reminded me of episode 10 of Log Horizon season 2. That’s a good thing. But it might be something that only stays as backdrop, and doesn’t get explored further, because as the episode progressed we’ve had a couple of funny moments where the nature of geeky coders was brought in, but it seems we mostly went in the direction of a Light Novel, some talk of powers and cool fights, and our skeletal overlord being conscientious about how he should be a proper example to his underlings who seem to have gained consciousness, but mostly it seems like a harem is being built. The art and animation aren’t anything special, but extra attention sems to have been given to the women of the show. We’ll have to see where this show goes.

5) Chaos Dragon: Red Dragon War / Chaos Dragon: Sekiryuu Seneki Episode 1:

Chaos Dragon anime episode 1 overview - Mustache man looks down on others

Only the best lines and character designs.

This show reminds me of Saekano from the winter season. As I wrote my overview for its first episode I realized the only good thing I could say about it is that it’s not terrible. Chaos Dragon, contrary to what many of my fellow bloggers say is not terrible. There’s nothing offensively bad about it. But it’s also lacking in almost anything good, from unimpressive animation, to extremely busy character models that aren’t always on-models at the technical level, to an extreme amount of info-dumping, presenting “scheming characters” in the background before we have any reason to be aware of them, to cheesy lines.

There are some nice ideas about how one must sacrifice something to gain another, but the way everything is handled, the extremely flat acting by several of the voice actors, and the show outright telling us the characters’ motivations and backgrounds just feels very clumsy. People say episode 2 isn’t any better, so for now consider this show dropped.

Full first impressions, where I talk at more length about the show’s structures and failings in the first episode.

 


Overall First Impressions of the Season: The sequel I knew I’d love was great. Of these 5 shows, two made me happy, the second being Ushio to Tora, and while I mostly enjoyed Gangsta and Overlord, I’m still undecided about them, and would have to see where they’re going with their atmosphere/direction. So, this season isn’t all bad from my limited sampling thus far, but neither did it rock my socks off. But as 3 of my top 5 expected shows are still unwatched, I think I might be liking this season just fine!

Dear readers, what do you think of the premiers thus far? Anything that surprised you, for better or for worse? Do note Gatchaman Crowds, Rokka no Yuusha, Classroom Crisis, and Snow-White with Red Hair will get covered later in the week, so you might want to discuss them then.

10 comments on “Summer 2015 First Impressions (Part 1)

  1. prodef89 says:

    Of these 5 shows the most interesting one for me was Gangsta and as you said not even that was too “good”. Episode 2 of it didn’t make it any more compelling either.

    Ushio to Tora. Well yea, shounen battler aren’t especially my type of thing. Didn’t really grab me.

    Chaos Dragon was supposed to be my “bad show of the season”-watch, but I couldn’t suffer through episode 2.

    Haven’t seen DRRR yet (but I will… someday) and not eager to watch Overlord. Next weeks post will cover my favourites of this season, so I’m looking forward to that.

  2. EatzAce says:

    I dunno about Overlord. The first episode felt like a soulless info dump. It lacked any creative method of exposition and instead relied almost exclusively on the main character’s inner monologues to convey information. In addition, the lack of a story hook as well its less-than-impressive CG left me a pretty poor first impression. I might just put this series on-hold until something big happens but for now Overlord seems like another addition to the list of Madhouse’s disappointing LN adaptations.

    Luckily the return of Durarara and its crazy antics has left me with not much to complain about this season. :)

    • João Carlos says:

      I read Overlord LN… things will start to be more interesting when our lovely elder lich decides to conquer the New World like a good EVIL supervillain…

      Will be blood… lots of blood…

  3. PuncakeLover says:

    Guy-senpai!!! man, I thought you were giving up on the blog after the OreGairu article XD, but you’re here, and i’m glad about it. One question: are you thinking of doing another article series Like you did with OreGairu? if so, with what anime/LN would it be?

    As always keep up the good work :)

  4. Maaaaaaaaaou Sama says:

    I just wanna say that I visit here often and I love what you write

    keep it up

  5. BobbaFett says:

    It has its cliches, but overall I’m thoroughly enjoying GATE this season. I enjoyed it so much, I read all 47 translated chapters of the manga last night and dread waiting a month for the next. If you find time to check the first few episodes, it would be interesting to hear your thoughts on it.

  6. Smokey says:

    If you haven’t already yet, give Gakkou Gurashi! a try. The story follows 4 girls who are enjoying their high school life to the fullest… but the show has a horror tag attached to it. One must watch the first episode all the way through to understand why it’s genre has been categorized in such a way, and for me, it certainly was enough to want me to keep up with the show.

  7. KingMarth says:

    Looking forward to your take on Gatchaman Crowds: insight. The first was neat to me on the first watch, but it felt quite rushed with all it took on; breaking down some of the ideas involved made it far more interesting. I went in with no expectations, though friends of mine were expecting a nice and simple sentai show (which other Gatchaman series were, I hear?) so they were kind of thrown off.

    It’ll be hard for the sequel to get quite the same feel now that the Gatchaman are already public, and similar changes have already happened… though some of the implications of those changes are interesting on their own.

  8. DestroDertell says:

    Terrible season so far.

  9. Alyson says:

    Hey! I am looking for Anime/Manga writers and stumbled on your blog. I could not find your email address, can you kindly send me an e-mail: alysonburston[at]live.com — It’s regarding writing about Manga & Anime type of offer. This isn’t spam btw. Cheers.

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