Another year came to an end, I’ve sampled nearly 60 shows, watched about half to completion, and it’s time to see which shows stood out (in a good way). If we’re frank, this year hasn’t been nearly as good as 2013. Had I used the cut-off criteria of 2013, only the top 7 shows would’ve made it in, compared to 12 that passed that bar in 2013 (and Aku no Hana that passed using different criteria). But even if the year as a whole was weak, the top shows were still worthy of your time. There’d be “Notable Absentees” and “Honourable Mentions” at the end of the post, so if you don’t see a show, keep reading!
Only full series had been considered, no OVAs or movies of any sort. The names link to the show’s description and information on My Anime List (MAL).
One of my favourite films is the first Pirates of the Carribean film, which I describe as a 10/10 performance by Johnny Depp, lifting a 5/10 film to the realm of 7/10. The show had a great sense of action and fun going for it early on, which in the second half all but abandoned it for slow and tepid non-action weighed down by a non-character taking center stage. The first half of the show and the finale though are more than worth the price of entry. Just like Pirates of the Carribean, loveable rascals with an extreme penchant for getting in trouble and over the top facial expressions while swashbuckling dominate the show. Zombies join on our crusade to bring down a CG dragon, as we cross against angels, demons, drunk gods, and inflatable ducks. How can you not love a show so in love with its own irreverence?
Last episode was definitely interesting. We’ve been told flat-out that the kids are going to die, win or lose. That means that here we see what they care for. Nine cares for the truth behind their situation to come out, and for justice to be done. Twelve repeats what he said in the first episode when they first saw Lisa, how they used to be too weak to save their friends, but this time they’ll do it, this time they’ll save someone else. But what about Five? Does she wish to destroy her former friends’ dreams, does she wish to win, or is she just trying to have fun and not be lonely before she dies?
Shibazaki and his allies are circling around the truth, and the nuclear bomb wielded by terrorists who do not wish to kill anyone is still looming as a specter over everything else. Two episodes to go, and it’s time to start tying up the various threads, and have confrontations, to continue the one we’ve had last episode – where we’ve had Twelve choose Lisa over Nine, or rather, Twelve choosing the future over the past, twice.
1) Turning Yourself In Makes it Easier to Talk to Cops:
1) Nine turns himself in, meaning he thinks it’s his best option at this point. He also trusts Shibazaki, so there’s that, and this might force Five to stop doing shit all over the place, and she couldn’t pull stuff and blame it on him. Well, there’s still the nuke, which he can use, and it’d be so much easier to discuss things with the police directly, rather than over videos, eh?
Hunter x Hunter, I’m caught up! Two series reach their conclusions (finally), and other shows amble about.
Weekly impressions for Akame ga Kill!, Aldnoah.Zero, Barakamon, Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 2wei!, Hunter x Hunter(2011), JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, Sword Art Online II, Tokyo Ghoul, and Zankyou no Terror (Terror in Resonance).
Link in titles leads to full-episode write-ups. Write-ups ordered by how much I enjoyed or thought the episodes were good.
Barakamon episode 10:
This episode continues the ideas expressed in most of the series, but especially in the 8th episode, where Sensei watched over the grave of Naru’s grandmothe. Handa is part of the crowd, happy to help with building an anti-typhoon wall at the behest of Naru’s grandfather, how he has a phone-call while taking care of the girls as if they were kittens, how he goes with them to their spot to watch the fireworks…
So, last week was a framing of the conflict. Conflicts need stakes, something you stand to gain, something you stand to lose. With all the explosions, you’d think it’d be lives, but lives of faceless masses, especially where no one died yet isn’t terribly compelling – so we’ve seen Shibazaki’s family, and another detective’s pregnant wife. We’ve seen Lisa get kidnapped.
Stakes have to be personal, and the show, and Five, made it so. Time to see the final(?) conflict, where it’s all up for grab.
So, today is September 11, and they actually delayed an episode so today’s episode would come out on this day. Makes you wonder what’ll happen.
1) Reminder, everyone having to reaffirm their resolve, “many people could die.” “I don’t care what happens to me,” a line that’s easy, but Five throws in her face it’s her life in question, the life she didn’t really own since Twelve rescued her, and that it’s meaningless, that Twelve’s friendship is meaningless. Then again, different people attribute different worth to the same things.
Barakamon and Zankyou no Terror return! Anyway, writing these long posts about this season got tiring, and I like haikus, so this entry will have a haiku per episode! And a line or two more in play text. I hope you like it.
Weekly impressions for Akame ga Kill!, Aldnoah.Zero, Barakamon, Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 2wei!, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, Sword Art Online II, Tokyo Ghoul, and Zankyou no Terror (Terror in Resonance).
Link in titles leads to full-episode write-ups. Ordered by how much I enjoyed or thought the episodes were good.
Barakamon episode 9:
Handa is a child, playing with children as one; Adulthood lurks by.
Last week was rough, no Zankyou no Terror, no Barakamon, but here we go again. Last episode was “Seat of our pants” thriller, with non-stop music that kept things racing, and a sort of “Bizarro-world” plot, where the “good cops” have to join forces with the terrorists to stop an airplane from exploding on a terminal full of people, and a Die Hard 2 rescue scene for Lisa.
It was enjoyable, but now it’s time to see how people pay. The game between Five and Sphinx is only starting, now that we see Five will stop at nothing, and Shibazaki once again disobeyed orders in order to do what is right. However, in Greek tragedies (Ala Oedipus’s story), the choice of being true to your rules (Law of the Gods) or the dry law (Law of the People), is one that you don’t make, but follow your nature and your preordained choice, and pay the price.
1) “My Fair Lady”, what an interesting episode title, a reference to the classic story of Pygmalion, another Greek figure. So, we have a lowly commoner and we transform her to appear as royalty, we take a mannequin and make a person out of it. This can be Five and the other kids due to not being “entirely human”, or Lisa, who will finally become one of the group.
This week was alright? Thematically more shows that are generally lower on the pole did well, but there was nothing that wowed me. The order is roughly by how good/how much I liked the episodes, but aside from Fate/Kaleid which was terrible, most of the shows are pretty interchangeable this week.
Weekly impressions for Akame ga Kill!, Aldnoah.Zero, Barakamon, Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 2wei!, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Sword Art Online II, Tokyo Ghoul, and Zankyou no Terror (Terror in Resonance) (Also, Avatar: The Legend of Korra, including finale!, and previous weeks’ Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-Kun and Sabagebu!).
Link in titles leads to full-episode write-ups for Aldnoah.Zero and Zankyou no Terror.
Barakamon episode 8:
Before I get to anything else, there was a noticeable dip in drawing quality in this episode. Faces and figures were not drawn to the usual standard, with a lot of off-model shots.