Fall 2015 Anime Midseason Overview

Well, this was supposed to go out Wednesday, of last week, but I’ve been busy with all sorts of things. I usually split these mid-season posts into “Great”, “Good”, etc., but since things aren’t really looking hot in that aspect, I’m just listing them by how much I like them. Anyway, if you’re thinking of what to pick up at this point into the season, and I hold 5-6 episodes in is exactly when you know whether a show’s worth picking up, welcome to my corner, where my Good Taste Opinions™ will be dispensed.

Ushio to Tora / Ushio and Tora:

Ushio to Tora anime episode 20 - Crying Aotsuki Ushio

The last arc really delivered on the tears.

Man, this show sure is delivering. Ushio is cool, Tora is becoming more dere and less tsun, and together they kick ass. We’re seeing some elements of old-fashioned machismo, but even if the way the girls had been grouped was a bit eh, and the delivery at the end ran a tad too long, it was not only fun, it was emotionally touching, and this show really knows how to deliver emotionally touching moments, though mostly by pressing pretty hard on the tear-ducts, but the last couple of episodes had delivered slow and long-awaited pay-off. I’m enjoying this episode every week.

Episodes Watched: 20/26.
Current Rating: A-. Still not “special”, but a lot of fun, and emotional. This is what I’m looking for out of my shounonsense, though better animation would’ve been nice too.

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Fall 2015 Anime Overview – Weeks 4-5 (Anime Power Ranking)

Last week I was busy. Thankfully, most episodes seem to have gone on in a manner that made talking about two episodes at once easier. Since I’m going to be very busy next week, the mid-season post will likely only appear next Friday.

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). It’s a bit less organized this time around, because it’s averaging two episodes’ worth of content, and not in any scientific manner.

1) Concrete Revolutio Episodes 4-5:

Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou anime Episode 5 overview - Matsumoto likes what humans can't understand

This series seems to have found its footing with episode 3. I can still see many people don’t and won’t like it, but in episode 3 it had shown what it wants to be about, and has been about it ever since, and also, well, more concrete, if you will forgive my pun. A two-parter, which continuing the theme of episode 3 is about our nature, about who we choose to be, rather than who we were born as. Kaiju, the great monsters of Japanese cinema, what are they here for? What are they to us? And especially to Jiro, and so we explore the questions of the monster within, media control, and tie it to the student revolts of the 1960s. It’s all about lies, and while the “theme” might appear to be with how those in power manipulate others, and even manipulate nature, it seems to all come down to the lies we’re willing to tell others whom we claim to love.

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Fall 2015 Anime Overview – Week 3 (Anime Power Ranking)

All the premieres are behind us, and I’m sort of fine with this season. Nothing is really exciting me yet, and most of the crap had been left behind. I’m still unsure about a bunch of the shows, but it’s not like there’s much else this season to pick up. Slim pickings, but I’m fine with what I’ve got.

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). Numbers in parentheses are change from last week.

1) Ushio to Tora / Ushio and Tora Episode 16 (+2):

Ushio to Tora anime episode 16 - Tora and Aotsuki Ushio looking lame as they run away

Our super-cool heroes.

This was a pretty cool episode. It had Ushio being cool and saving everyone, and literally saying a man should come to the aid of crying women when he can, several times, which was a bit cloying, but there you have it with a middle-schooler (he’s literally chuuni) who was raised without his mother and told he should always act for the sake of the dead mother who’s watching over him. Anyway, we had cool action sequences, and self-sacrifices, and it was all gloriously shounonsense in the way I like best, with even the fanservice just sort of being there rather than being made a deal of, and Ushio and Tora being their usually cool self, and all the random monsters saying how great Ushio is.

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Fall 2015 Anime Overview – Week 2 (Anime Power Ranking)

Three first impressions (Beautiful Bones – Sakurako-san, Perfect Insider, and Garo Season 2), and episode 2 of everything else. Considering last week I spoke of how multiple shows didn’t really tell us what they’re like in their premieres, let’s see how they did with their second episodes.

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). Numbers in parentheses are change from last week. I’m also going to give each premiere a couple of scores, “Premiere Score” for how well it did its job as a premiere, and “Episode Score”, for how well it worked as a regular episode.

1) Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans / Kidou Senshi Gundam: Tekketsu no Orphans Episode 2 (+3):

Mobile Suit Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans anime / Kidou Senshi Gundam: Tekketsu no Orphans anime episode 2 overview - Kudelia Aina Bernstein speaks of child victims

In case you missed it – THE MESSAGE is hammered at you.

Following a good premiere, Orphans delivered another good episode that did some serious job in fleshing out its characters, and was actually relatively subtle about its characterization of them, showing us how Mikazuki and the rest of the Space Rats lack either past or future, using their illiteracy both as a metaphor for their situation and as a possible cause of it. They do what they do not for anyone else, not to save Kudelia, but for one another, and because they have nothing else. They’re much lower on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, but their self-respect still plays a part, as this is Gundam, and “villainy versus chivalry”, or “means well” versus “Doesn’t even try” is a very real theme.

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The Perfect Insider Episode 1 – First Impressions – Clear and Murky

Adapting a proper novel series. Not light novels, with series composition being done by the person who did series composition for both seasons of Gatchaman Crowds, and a proper mystery tale to boot? This is one of the three shows I was most hopeful about before the season started, so let’s see if it delivers.

Themes / Story:

Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider Anime Episode 1 notes - Saikawa Sohei's philosophy of thought

I want to start by quoting this show’s synopsis, from MAL:

The story of the original novel revolves around Souhei Saikawa, a member of the Saikawa Research Lab. On a vacation held for the lab, he meets Moe Nishinosono, the daughter of his mentor, who joins the group on their vacation despite not being a part of the lab. After meeting each other, the two end up finding a corpse. The two work together to solve the mysteries of what becomes a serial murder case.

Almost none of this materialized in the first episode, which felt more like a prequel to the above narrative. It’s been the case with multiple shows this season, but damn, a premiere is supposed to provide some sort of hook, to grab you into watching the show, and to tell you what sort of story it’s going to tell. It really didn’t seem as if Perfect Insider was terribly interested in that.

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Fall 2015 Anime Season Preview and Expectations

There’s a week until the Fall 2015 season begins in earnest, so it’s time to look towards the new season, and put behind us a season where I didn’t watch what I was most excited for (will do my best to catch up soon), and found some of the shows I wasn’t excited for to be quite good. Expect a season overview in a week or two.

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”.
Much space is given to the people involved with a show, as premises are easy, but execution is hard, and it’s people who are in charge of that.

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).

Sunday:

Concrete Revolutio - A Superhuman Fantasy animeConcrete Revolutio: A Superhuman Fantasy / Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou – All the fantastical creatures of stories, mythologies, and comics come to life, and it’s the Supernatural Bureau’s job to take care of them. The very colourful preview put me in mind of the old X-Men cartoon which is fitting, but also of the French 1997 cartoon Enigma which I was fond of in the past. On the Japanese front, it made me think of Gatchaman Crowds and Tiger and Bunny on one hand, and Hamatora the Animation on the other. It’s definitely stylish, and it’s a sort of setting that lends itself to all sorts of colourful and fun shenanigans that could also house some incisive social critique, as many of the shows I namedropped have done (and often done both).

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