“Are you my Master?”
The granddaddy of gimmick posts is once again upon us. That’s right– thin slicing has returned!
Thin slicing is based off of Malcom Gladwell’s Blink, a book about– OH FUCK IT. YOU’VE READ THIS SAME BOILERPLATE FOR
EIGHT NINE YEARS NOW. You either get how this works by now or not. And, yes, I’ve been writing thin slicing posts since 2005 where I ranked Nanoha A‘s over Mai Otome.
For people who want to know how this ranking is done, I suggest reading the archived explanation. If you’re like, “This show is ranked too high!” or “Too low!” then, well, you obviously don’t know how this works. For every show high, there has to be a low. Deal with it. And, again, for the sake of time, I don’t rank sequels if I never finished watching the original or if there’s nothing interesting about the sequel. It’s a sequel! If you watched the first season, you should know if you should watch the second as well.
A twist for this season: Now with webm! Gosh, by now, I hope you have a webm-compatible browser at this point. It doesn’t work correctly on iOS, but this site does not get a lot of mobile Safari traffic. Let’s see how it goes for next time. If you’re wondering why not gif, go read this tutorial. webm is one click creation.
Bonus twist for this season: Four series by Sunrise, one by Kyoto Animation, and one by Trigger. Zero by Shaft.
Triple twist: There are only 4-5 shows this season that I have watched more than an episode of. Some shows are hitting episode four soon while others just aired, like Girl Friend Beta on Sunday. The season is getting a bit too spread out these days.
Quick recap from last season: Aldnoah.Zero needs a new writer, Kirito gains a new haremette, I almost died of laughter because of Nozaki and Sakura, room got dusty for Barakamon, space got dandied, and Rei and Rin finally sealed the deal.
#MR IRRELEVANT. Karen Senki
Normally, I would have passed on Karen Senki since it is pure CG and done by a Taiwanese studio, but I’m including it just to shame two people: Ohji Hiroi (Sakura Taisen) and Kosuke Fujishima (Aa! Megami-sama). Seriously, both of you, don’t you have better things to do than work on this absolute mess? While the CG isn’t great, what’s truly horrible is both the plot (a solid -3 out of 10), and character designs, especially for Karen. What is she supposed to be? Weeaboo space pirate hooker? The show feels like a huge mail-in job. On the bright side, there is the awesome scene that sets the plot. Robot handing little girl a flower. Then it cuts to black with the text “5 Years Later”. Then we see the world has been destroyed by the robots. That’s all the plot we get. Hiroi and Fujishima, please work on anything else. Even an eX-Driver sequel would be better.
#28. Tribe Cool Crew
As of writing this entry on 10/11/14, there is no Wikipedia article on Tribe Cool Crew, and it’s ANN page hasn’t been indexed by Google yet. Talk about no hype. Does this show deserve this lack of attention? Yes, yes it does. The animation is lackluster, and the CG dancing is really terrible. They dance worse than jpop idols. If this anime is going for Bring It On, at least bring it somewhat. I crossed the show off of my list at that point– an anime should at least get its central premise somewhat correct– a dancing show should feature at least acceptable levels of dancing. Besides the terribly boring dancing, the animation and CG are mixed in at weird times. Sometimes, even out of dancing, they would use a CG sequence that just feels disjointed. Besides issues with the production, the CG, the premise, the story, the boring ass characters, and the abundance of interstitials (like one every two minutes), the character design is similarly atrocious. The female lead’s hair looks like a recently used condom. The male lead looks like he uses too much mascara. There’s just a lot wrong with this show. I just wonder if Sunrise has spread themselves a bit too thin after not doing a show last season and then dropping four this season.
#27. Laughing Under the Clouds
I had no clue what genre Donten ni Warau was until I visited the series’ Wikipedia page. I figured it was shoujo as there are a lot of male characters and very little screentime for any female characters. The premise is that three brothers (stars of many a doujinshi) escort prisoners to Japanese Alcatraz. They also capture prisoners who escape. And they don’t use swords because swords are banned. Besides not having a clear genre, the show has many issues. The character designs are all ridiculous, from the little brother’s outfit that covers everything but his belly to the elder brother who looks like Sonic the Hedgehog with red frosted tips. They are hideous. That is until we get to an inexplicable crossdressing scene that did not need to happen. The whole concept that these brothers capture escaped criminals is hilarious too as the cops lose not one, not two, but around a dozen prisoners in just the first episode. How do you lose so many criminals?! Also, this whole samurai who refuses to kill with his blade thing has peaked with Kenshin. Please stop. It’s getting very boring listening to how another righteous hero refuses to kill another.
(Mitigating factor: At least it is better than the feudal samurai slash boy band series from last season.)
#26. Wolf Girl and Black Prince
“I LOVE DOGS!”
The male lead of Ookami Shoujo to Kuro Ouji really loves dogs, so instead of getting a cute puppy, he ends up getting a girl who he is training to be a puppy. I have no idea how this world works anymore. The show is about awful people doing awful things to each other. The female leads needs a pretend boyfriend to impress her “friends,” who are actually just bitchy girls who do not like her at all. The male lead agrees to be her fake boyfriend on the condition that she pretends to be his fake puppy. I just wanted to shake the girl and go, “You do not want these people as friends! Tell them to fuck off and find new, better friends!” Awful show with awful animation, awful characters, and an awful premise. The only redeeming aspect is that there’s a French bulldog.
(“Men only want to do things out of a porno.” and “Isn’t it best to have a man who eats out of your hand?” in this show. Did they take their dialogue straight out of Cosmo? I kept expecting someone to say, “Here’s twelve things you can do to spice up sex. Number one, eat jalapenos.”)
#25. Akatsuki no Yona
“Entrust your body to me.”
Yona of the Dawn is a fantasy shoujo about a girl who gets royally screwed by circumstances rather than the man she loves. I’m sure it is a competent yet unspectacular entry in that genre, and there’s nothing that interests me in this show. The animation is average, the music is forgettable (non-jpop OP is notable I guess), the characters are one dimensional, and the plot isn’t compelling enough. I’m already burned out by IT’S A TENDER RAIN for fantasy shoujo. What is interesting is that this season is filled with fantasy shows, and they run the gamut from shoujo to shonen action to harem… pretty much every genre except moe blob and pointless afterschool club.
(Why is the initial guy that the girl loves in shoujo always seem to be the biggest assholes? Why can’t they ever find a normal guy? Does OKCupid not exist in Japan?)
#24. Girl Friend Beta
“She just really likes girls.”
When I first heard the name Girl Friend Beta, I thought that the show is about a lonely male harem lead who builds a robot girlfriend. Maybe a modern take on Chobits, Maico 2010, or Hand Maid May when the sexbot craze was at its peak in the early 2000s. Nope. Instead, it’s a mobile phone game turned anime that feels a lot like a harem anime missing a male lead. I guess the show is low calorie slice of life as the first episode dealt with the lead female character trying to find the French transfer student so she can hand feed her tamago. There are also many elements of this show that seem ridiculous. The main character’s gymnastics outfit features what looks like leather thigh-high socks. They don’t make any sense from a fashion or gymnastics standpoint. Why would anyone wear thigh-high socks of any kind for gymnastics practice? Then there’s the fact that most of the characters look similar, and there’s four blonde girls in the first episode alone. I was only able to tell them apart because one wore no socks, one wore thigh-highs, one wore tights, and the last one wore short socks. If I have to go by sock type to figure out your character, the show has either hugely failed or hugely succeeded. I just don’t know which. Also the show is really lazy at trying to give the girls a reason to exist. One girl likes to juggle, so instead of working that into a normal person, the show just depicts her as constantly juggling. She has a fanny pack that is filled with juggling balls. Good anime let you infer via plot and character dialogue. Bad anime just flat out shows you. Really bad anime needs a fanny pack.
(Some of the girls talk slowly. I understand that for the French girl, but everyone else?)
(Mitigating factor: This show has animation quality on par with Sailor Moon Crystal. Yes, I do reference back to that show a lot. It’s almost like an unit of Sailor Moon Crystal is a measurement baseline, kind of like the freezing point of water.)
#23. World Trigger
Anytime an anime starts with a four minute long narration sequence consisting of nothing but stills, you know it’s Toei Animation. World Trigger is their newest series, and if you like poorly animated, poorly directed, boring nonsense, then this show might just float your boat. Let’s see… there’s extra-dimensional invaders called “Neighbors” who broke through a town in Japan. Rather than evacuate the town and seal it off with a huge military presence, they decide to erect a huge ass building housing bureaucrats who control high school kids who turn into magical boys and girls who fight these monsters. There’s other logical fallacies here too: the school is very concerned about a kid wearing a ring as a violation of dress code, yet does nothing about the ruffians who don’t even wear the school uniform shirt. It’s a huge double standard. Then there’s the fact that even though they know where the portal is, there is no guards there, either to defend against an invasion or to keep civilians out.
As for the animation, well, it is better than Sailor Moon Crystal, but still quite below average when compared to other shows of this season. There is just a lot of non-movement. At least the magical boy transformation sequences aren’t CG. The characters all look like they were designed by different people. The short guy looks like he came out of Sora no Otoshimono while the main character looks like a background character in a shoujo series. The characters also have weird eye styles with some sporting lizard eyes.
#22. Gonna be the Twintails!
“More twintail than I dare wish for!”
Ore, Twintail ni Narimasu is a comedy series about a girl whose love for twintails goes a bit too far. The whole concept of a guy who is so obsessed with twintails (pffft not even sidetail master race) fighting aliens who just want to see young girls cuddle with stuffed animals… can only happen in anime. This show does remind me a lot of Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? in that the guy has to become the magical girl to save the day. The male lead in this show takes to the job much quicker and with less hesitation. He loves dem twintails, that’s for sure. I feel like the show and concept is good for a quick and cheap laugh, but to get a full thirteen episode series out of this concept of protecting twintails from pedophile lizard creatures… I dunno. Then I see that there’s already seven light novels in this series, which only furthers my theory: the bar for entry for writing light novels is very low in Japan. That drives the ranking for this show: how the hell do you get seven (and more!) novel’s worth of plot from this concept. Does each novel feature twenty pages of descriptions of twintails?
(I don’t get why Thouars wants to save this world’s twintails yet she doesn’t have twintails herself. Even the male lead calls her out in this regard. He’s like, “Dude, no one cares about your melonpan. WHERE ARE YOUR TWINTAILS?! LET ME FONDLE YOUR TWINTAILS!” Only in anime.)
#21. Terra Formars
Terra Formars is about humanity’s fight against dopey looking creatures that horribly, horribly kill them using powers similar to the dopey looking creatures. Basically, it’s Attack on Titans in space, with zero of the charm or likeable characters. Almost everyone is a dimwit waiting to be killed by a space cockroach. The show relies a lot on shock and awe with cockroaches killing or dismembering people like Joss Whedon on Firefly, but it’s not very effective with the TV censorship. A huge black bar appears that basically ruin most of the shock value. The OVA where the violence could be shown works better. Also, the show is very dark (color-wise) that I though the color calibration on my TV is off. Just because the show premise is a bit depressing doesn’t mean that the only acceptable colors to use are grey, dark grey, brown, dark brown, and black. I think the show could be a bit more fun if the visual side were improved, and the characters all did not just wait around to be slaughtered. I also dislike whenever a human and a cockroach meet, they stare each other down for a second as if this were Shadows of Mordor.
(I do like the whole concept of humans screwing up the colonization of Mars by accidentally created mold-mutated cockroaches. I am just not sure if the right approach, almost a thousand years into the future, is to turn humans into pseudo-bugs to fight them. Wouldn’t it be smarter to use robots or drones? Couldn’t we send a few T-800s or Gundams or something to fight them? Our best solution is to send like forty people with bug powers to rid a whole planet filled with billions of cockroaches? Wouldn’t the cockroaches procreate faster than they can kill? They’re fucking cockroaches! You need to come up with a virus like the genophage from Mass Effect or the plague from DS9 or something because forty people punching them is not going to work.)
(What is it with Mars being villainous to Earth recently? We go years without Mars being hostile, and then we get two series in a row about the murderous inhabitants of Mars.)
#20. Gugure! Kokkuri-san
“It is faster to use Google.”
Gugure! Kokkuri-san is about a loli who trolls Inu Yasha. There is a lonely little elementary school girl who lives by herself and eats nothing but instant noodles, and her only friend is a fox spirit who she incessantly trolls. The concept isn’t terrible, but there are just so many unanswered questions regarding this odd couple pairing. Where does the girl get money to live and pay utility bills? Where are her parents or social services? Why does the spirit care at all? I don’t find the comedy to be very funny, and the gags are a bit too one dimensional. She loves instant noodles. We get it. We do not need a fourth gag in a row about her love for instant noodles. Also, both the girl and the spirit are fairly dumb, and I feel like I’m watching Kramer and Newman bicker all over again.
(At least Hakase seems well adjusted in Nichijou, and she built herself a guardian in Nano. Here, the girl is definitely not well-adjusted, and she might not survive to be fifteen with a diet of only instant noodles. Andohbytheway, did you know she likes instant noodles? She loves them.)
#19. Celestial Method
Little girls being friends with each other is Sora no Method in a nutshell. Sure, there’s an alien who can grant wishes tossed in, but the show is a low calorie slice of life friendship anime. There’s not a lot that is interesting, and the big hook of the first episode is that a framed picture gets broken. I still do not know how I stayed awake for the entire episode. The characters are all fairly bland, and the only one that seems to have a personality is the asshole headphones girl. There’s enough flashbacks that maybe spending five minutes or so in the beginning to show the past may have been a better solution. The girls also run funny, and all seem malnourished. Nevertheless, the show seems to have a larger cast and hopefully the storytelling will improve. Production values are fairly good too.
(So the main character’s mom is dead, and the terrible dad has her twelve year old daughter cook and clean for her as well as unpack from moving. I don’t know if he wins terrible father of the year or the best father of the year award.)
#18. Cross Ange
Cross Ange is one of many Sunrise mecha shows this season, and it is the only one to feature a sexual assault in its first episode. And then another one in the second. Ugh. Maybe this series is Sunrise’s attempt at a mecha Queen’s Blade. Besides gratuitous sexual assaults, my main issue with the show is that it has too many ideas and not enough editing. There’s some sort of magic kingdom, and people who can’t use magic are exiled to this island to fight dragons from another universe using flying hover bikes that transform into mecha. Whew. On top of that, there’s a sinister prince who says things like, “Sylvia, we are about to get busy. We need to rebuild this tainted royal family. Just for two of us.” to his little sister riding a Nunally-class hover wheelchair. If that doesn’t smack of Mulder and Scully investigating the Peacock boys, I don’t know what does. The show is also a huge rip-off of other Sunrise properties, Mai Hime (with the whole girl power thing), Code Geass (Nunally clone), and Gundam (the OP looks a lot like Seed‘s), and the cast composition kinda explains that with Fukuda (Seed), lesser members of Mai Otome and Code Geass teams, and a novice director involved. But I can totally imagine Fukuda pitching Sunrise the concept of Gundam Seed meets Queen’s Blade with Mai Otome-ish cast. He probably got a raise for it too.
(Also seems weird that this society that has magic needs magic-less girls to be piloting these super powerful mecha to defend them from dragons. A lot doesn’t make sense. What if the girls decide to attack the country instead with their mecha? Why can’t magic users pilot the mecha? Oh wait, classic Sunrise. Maybe I should bump up this show’s standings by eight slots.)
(Mitigating factor: Dog with goggles.)
#17. Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai
“Unprecedented derailing incident.”
The last show I write about for this post will be A Good Librarian Like a Good Shepherd. And by the time I got here, I’m like, “Wait, what the hell was this again>” Needless to say, that’s not a good sign. Shepard features a group of people (really a male harem lead and a bunch of haremettes) who receive magical books or bookmarks that let them avert disaster. I just can’t get past the school that this show takes place in. It is supposedly Japan’s top high school (since they are wearing school uniforms) with over 50,000 students and 650 students per class. How the hell can you be a top high school with so many students? Beyond that, at this top high school, no one goes to the library. It’s mostly empty. The male lead even exclaims, “I’m the only who comes to the library.” I can suspend my brain to believe that these kids can see the future, I just can’t suspend it to believe this ridiculous high school setting. 50,000 students! That’s larger than most Big 10 schools.
Ridiculous setting aside, the show is standard afterschool club that does nothing mixed with harem antics. It’s even supposedly the Literature Club. I guess that the twist that they do have some special power… but there’s already another show this season about a do-nothing afterschool club that has special powers.
(Mitigating factor: Meido waitresses? This is one awesome cafeteria.)
(Fashion Czar’s comment for this series: “Shiny tights? Eww, they’re so tacky.”)
#16. Trinity Seven
“Arts of the bedroom.”
Probably the most perplexing thing about Trinity Seven is why the teacher has to wear a school uniform. Other perplexing things? Do we really need another gun mage sniper this season? Why does the main character seem, uh, relatively unfazed when he realizes that he destroyed his hometown and possibly killed thousands? Trinity Seven is your basic harem school days comedy set in a magic school. Every possible trope is there. Something sinister lurking in the background? Check. Bath gag featuring people in the wrong bath for their gender? Check. Tsundere? Check. Yuki Nagato? Check. Sniper girl? Check. Seven leading magic users of the school who just so happen to be girls waiting for the main character’s love? Check. This show feels like if you took twenty magic school harem romance series, put them all in a Vita-Mix, this show would be the resulting slush. There’s nothing new or exciting, and the plot and characters are all left-over quality. At the animation, while below average, isn’t horrible.
(Yoshitsugu Matsuoka voices the main character, and he voices him almost exactly as he does Kirito.)
#15. Denkigai no Honya-san
“No human can live without pron in their lives.”
The adventures of the doujinshi shop, The Horse’s Bone, is chronicled in Denkigai no Honya-san. The show is yet another meta anime concerning the manga-anime industrial complex. The show basically just makes fun of typical otaku tropes while providing some interspersed fanservice and manserivce. My issue with the show is that the character designs are horrible. Most of the cast are past high school yet look like classmates of Ichigo Mashimaro‘s cast. They are also always drawn shiny and sweaty for some odd reason. Still, the show has some moments, and I am learning that the life of a manga store worker involves a lot of shrinkwraping.
(The OP is super creepy. It is more suited as the opening for a series about a crazy suicide apple cult than one about a doujinshi shop. Where did the apples come from? Who put them there? Why in Oharuhi-sama’s name do you think it is a good idea to bite into strange apples?)
(Shin-Ei Animation does not do a lot of “normal” anime, but they are responsible for two very long running series: Doraemon since 2005 and Crayon Shin-chan since 1992. That’s right. They have been animating a show for probably longer than some of my readers have been alive.)
#14. Grisaia no Kajitsu
“Are you trying to be tsundere to attract me?”
Le Fruit de la Grisaia is an eroge turned anime about a guy who wants to be an ordinary student at an ordinary school, but he ends up being the target of mane femme fatales. In terms of typical harem setups, it’s all here. There’s the male lead oblivious to sexual advances yet totally recognizes a knife being thrown at him, there’s girls who are skilled in various implements of death including a meido who makes roadside bombs, and there’s a principle who can barely see out of a car and drives like the worst driver ever. There’s definitely shit going on. But the show does feel like a typical eroge turned anime with the multiple haremettes, and the start of the series does a good job at showing the problems that the male lead needs to overcome. But the issue is everything feels like it has been done before, whether it is the character (Oh good yet another Senjougahara knock-off), the plot (a school where they try to kill each other), or the premise of a guy who just wants a normal life (yeah for scars). Grisaia needs to do something outside of nice boats to set it apart from being a generic eroge turned anime.
8-bit’s animation tries to be stylish, but still a bit too dependent on poor CG, and it lacks style. It also seems like they were playing around with a cinematic look with a 23:9 aspect ratio.
#13. In Search of Lost Future
“Fine, we’ll say that you did it for the cakii.”
Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete (Waremete) is based off the eroge of the same name featuring a typical male lead sexing his way through a harem of nubile high school girls (and hopefully not that MILF who looks exactly like a high school girl due to poor/great character design). The story focuses on the male lead and his time in the astronomy club, which, shockingly, actually does astronomy. They also “maintain order” in the high school by acting like the enforcers of the student council, which is a very weird development. I feel like that plot point is a bit too much. Otherwise, it has very typical setup for an eroge. There’s a mysterious girl. There’s magic or technology sufficiently advanced enough that it seems like magic or plot magic. There’s the main character’s main quest. There’s a childhood friend who lives with the male lead like his sister. The show is fairly standard paint by the numbers eroge turned anime.
Animation from feel feels a bit off. The characters sometimes have odd facial shapes, and the borderlines are drawn heavier than other anime too. This show just further cements feel as their status as an average to below average studio. I would toss in a Kansas City Royals joke, but… damn Royals.
#12. Gundam Build Fighters Try
Two Gundam series this season?! Gundam Build Fighters Try is the follow-up to the original Gundam Build Fighters and takes place seven years after Sei and Reiji won the world championship. This season feels more of a sports anime than a Gundam series since I presume that the main character is not an alien like before. It also uses the timeworn sports anime plot where the school used to have an awesome Gunpla battle team (Sei and Reiji) but has fallen on hard times. It is up to the new recruits to prop the club back up. The animation is not as good as the other series, but the Build line is intended as a true Saturday morning type cartoon for little kids, and I think it works great as such. Gundam plus Skylanders is such an easy idea. If you enjoyed the original Build, then it is more of the same.
(Twist is the main male character is a melee type who doesn’t need weapons. Of course, Sei and Renji left him a Gundam that was optimized for weaponless melee combat. I’ll let that very convenient plot point slip. Though the battles hopefully will be more dynamic with a team squaring off against a team instead of just one on one. I hope that the third iteration of Build will go to the holy trinity formula of Tank Gundam, DPS Gundam, and Heal Gundam.)
(Wait, why are you writing about this show and not LH2 or PP2? I haven’t finished watching either of the original series, so I don’t feel like I should write about the sequels yet. I have finished watching Build.)
#11. Rage of Bahamut Genesis
Anytime you can make an anime out of a collectible card trading game for mobile phones, you gotta do it. Shingeki no Bahamut, I guess, is loosely based on the mobile phone game of the same name. When I watched this show, I just got the feeling that there’s just way too many fantasy type shows this season, and many of them feature a naked heroine in the first episode. They also feature a lot of dead horses. I’m not sure if this trend is a reaction to Game of Thrones, Attack on Titan, or Japan adding fantasy genre to the crop rotation along with cyberpunk, moe blob, harem, mecha, and magical girl type shows. The main character feels like Dandy, but there’s another character who looks like Dandy. My brain was constantly confused. There’s also the naked girl, whose personality is inversely proportional to the size of her melonpan. The animation is not bad (the initial sequence where New Dandy and Old Dandy are fighting on top of a waterwheel is fantastic except for the CG wheel), but the show feels a lot like Blade and Soul from spring. It needs to show me something more interesting than a carefree spirit adventuring with a naked chick.
(MAPPA has two shows this season, both of which are fantasy setting with naked ladies in the first episode.)
#18 minus 8. Cross Ange
Maybe it fits better here.
#10. Parasyte – the maxim
Parasyte is part psychological horror and part nightmare fuel. Two genres I enjoy as much as shoujo reverse harem and introduction to Excel macros. There’s a few things going for this series though: One, even though the manga ended almost twenty years ago (1995!!!), the series is updated thoughtfully to the present. Characters use app phones as people would use them today despite not being around in 1988. Characters google shit. The modernization is done well and makes me wonder why series that occur in 2014 can’t even use technology this normally. Two, the story about a man who gets a new right hand isn’t something that anime has copied relentlessly over the years. In fact, the only other psychological horror and nightmare fuel featuring a right hand anime in the last twenty years is Midori no Hibi. I kid. If anything, Midori no Hibi is the classic, “Wait, what if Parasyte was about a cute haremette as your right hand instead of a monster?” reaction to Parasyte.
(Bravo to Madhouse on both the modernization and the animation quality. However, they put dubstep into this show. Please, no. Stop it anime. No more dubstep.)
(The real nightmare fuel of this show? The characters try to Bing on Microsoft Surface Tablets. The horror.)
#9. Lord Marksman and Vanadis
In a pairing of an actual archer with an actual swordswoman, Madan no Ou to Vanadis is a light novel turned war slash harem slash fanservice slash archery anime. There is a lot of ridiculousness here. The female swordswoman defeats an archer, and then she basically makes the archer her servant because she liked the way he looked at him. The archer, understandably, does not like the situation, but he is forced to ally with her to save his homeland and his loli meido. The show is utter pop fantasy anime fare: ridiculous battle sequences that not even Legolas can pull off, gravity defying melonpan with ample bathing scenes, and predictable easy-to-follow plot featuring saviors arriving at the critical time. At least the show moves quickly, and the characters are fun to watch interact with each other. I don’t think the show is great, but it is also not terrible. I’ll give it a strong meh rating.
(A lot of horses seem to die in this show. If you like horses, maybe this show isn’t for you. Go watch Silver Spoon instead.)
#8. Inou Battle wa Nichijou no Naka de
“There’s no greater nuisance than a defeated chuuni.”
Funny how When Supernatural Battles Become Commonplace was barely mentioned by Trigger at AX. It’s only their second TV series, and the one airing soonest. This anime is a fairly standard afterschool club setup, except the twist is that the powers are real, and all the haremettes have awesome powers. The poor male harem lead has a very useless power. I assume that the series will involve them fighting other people like them in an X-Men vs. Brotherhood of Mutants type of way, with only more tsundere and loli tossed in. I found most of the haremettes and their powers to be boring since they are all mostly overpowered. The guy, though, with his lack of power, his chuuni delusions, and his Zero-esque prancing is a lot more interesting. I legitimately want him and his Dark Flame to succeed. Since this series started novelization in 2012, it very well could be a response to Kyoto’s Chu2 series.
The series is a lot more restrained than KILL la KILL, and Trigger even uses a normal, boring logo. Nonetheless, there’s definitely some Trigger charm in Inou Battle. Whenever someone needs to sparkle, it looks familiar as well.
#7. Garo The Animation
“I want to try it out… that Horror of yours…”
Hairy chest in my animu?! What is this?! Garo The Animation features hairy chests, demon vaginas, bad CG fantasy armor, and witches being burned alive. Oh boy. I kind of like this series in that it actually features a dad and a son fighting against demons who are trying to turn the world against the demon hunters. It’s rare to see a dad and son team up, and it’s rarer to see manly man chest hair. I’m also okay with the demon vaginas. What I’m not okay with is the terrible CG armor that the dad and son can transform into. If the CG in Sailor Moon Crystal is too simplistic, sparse, and poorly motioned, this show is the exact opposite: the CG is too garish, too ornate, too ridiculous, and too distracting from the normal animation. I feel if they did traditional animation with simpler armor models, the show could be a lot better. The plot is also a bit simplistic right now, so hopefully it evolves to be more than Luis and friends fighting demons of the week. Still, between chest hair and actual parenting, this show deserves a few more episodes of evaluation.
(Yasuko Kobayashi is the writer… he adapted Shana, Attack on Titan, Claymore, and Casshern Sins.)
(Wait, MAPPA has two shows this season? And after Terror in Tokyo last season?)
#6. Gundam Reconguista in G
“Don’t stick your butt out.”
If Ghibli made a Gundam series in the late 80s, I imagine it would be Gundam Reconguista in G. Sunrise touted their second Gundam series of the fall (When was the last time two full Gundam series aired simultaneously? Plus another mecha series featuring previous Gundam staff?) as being more throwback, and boy is it. While not everyone may like this animation choice, I do. The animation looks and feels more old school and hand drawn, with even the mobile suits mostly drawn instead of CG. There are nice modern touches like the screen faces on mobile suit faces, and the more modern character designs that surprisingly work well with the more nostalgic style. The sound effects, though, is 100% throwback with old school Gundam sound effects for the beam weaponry and mecha movements. It has a very distinctive sound compared to Gundam Build Try and other modern Gundam.
However, the show does not feel like a typical Gundam series. Yes, it has the titular Gundam in G-Self, but the characters are fairly slapsticky like they are from Howl’s Moving Castle or Sen to Chihiro. There’s cheerleaders. There’s a crazy girl who can only say, “G! G! G!!!!!” There’s the plucky main character who is one of those can-do anime heroes who wipes their noses with their finger after defeating an enemy. Even the adults feel like helpless adults in a Ghibli-esque world. The only combo breaker is the mysterious female pilot slash princess who would fit in well with all the previous brooding and self-loathing Gundam pilots. While it is a lot of wholesale changes in Reconguista in G in terms of tone and audience (clearly not SIEG ZEON crazed Gundam fans), the show does take the franchise in an interesting direction, and I want to see where this show goes. While maybe the full kiddie experimentation of Gundam Age may not have been great (Gundam Build though I think better captures a Saturday morning show), it is good to see Sunrise trying something new and try to breathe life into an aging franchise.
And, again, cheerleaders.
#5. Hitsuki no Chaika Avenging Battle
I really enjoyed the first season of Chaika The Coffin Princess, so I’ve been looking forward to this second cour. The plot picks a month after the aftermath of the first cour’s finale, and the show continues to do a good job of mixing in light-hearted stories with the more serious fare. It is good to see Toru, Akari, Chaika, and Fredrika together again. I do like that the seemingly throwaway subplot of Gillette-sama is finally going somehwere, and it would be interesting to see if he returns from the dead. Even the Wiki entry for him lists it as “supposedly.” It is also interesting to see what happens to the Chaikafication of Vivi, since this has been the most notable portion of the new season. I do hope that by the end, every female character would turn into Chaika. It would be a ballsy ending but fantastic nonetheless.
(Oh man, a retired heroine who now operates a successful vineyard? Great idea.)
“Don-don-don-donuts! Let’s go!”
PA Works is back with their newest low calorie slice of life (slife?) show about a group of high school friends in Shirobako. At first, I was a bit confused as I thought it was a club show a la Genshiken… then a driving show a la Initial D… then it turned out to be the evolutionary Animation Runner Kurumi (a vastly underrated and forgotten series at this point in time) mixed in with some good old PA Works friendship magic. I figure two things: One, all of Aoi’s anime club friends will return and help her at some point… all of them doing what they set out to do from high school. Two, Exodus, the fake anime that they are making in this show, will become an OVA at some point. The main character does remind me of a younger version of Ohana’s mom, and this show is one of the few shows that occur post-high school. Most of the older animation staff seems to be useless (wonder if this aspect is a commentary on the industry), and the President does nothing but make curry. I can make curry too– am I overqualified to run an anime studio? I hope Kanie does this for Amaburi… just sit around and make curry while all the young woman scramble to actually get shit done.
Production values from PA Works are still very good, and they decided to hire a real writer– err– writing studio for this show: Michiko Yokote. It is a female strong group previously responsible for Aa! Megami-sama The Movie, Genshiken, Princess Tutu, YUA S2, and Hare+Guu. I think the teaming up of PA Works with Michiko Yokote is going to produce an enjoyable show. Or at least a show that will make me gorge on donuts. Gosh, I do miss Japanese donuts…
(“Don-don-don-donuts! Let’s go!” is the best battlecry of this season. Maybe of the whole year. This needs to be the battlecry for Cross Ange.)
(Wait, isn’t Salty Dog from Captain Earth? Why are they the coffee provider here? Mmm….)
#3. Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso
“So now it’s food over sex, hun?”
Your Lie in April is the most
giffable webm-able show of the season. Man, A-1 did a great job with both the animation and music. They have been on a roll lately, and this newest series on continues it. It seems like a coming of age romance story that slants shoujo a bit like how Nodame slanted shounen/sports anime. What else do the two shows have in common? Classic music, a melodica (where else in anime would you find melodicas?), and a budding pianist with a major mental roadblock. I am eager to watch more. I hope it does not deteriorate into a Nisekoi-class cold war romance but rather something with more meaningful development.
The scene where Kaori is playing on her melodica in the park with the kids? Perfect scene. It reminded me of the scene where Link first meets the flute player in the woods in A Link to the Past.
(Arima was playing Beethoven’s Piano Sonata #14 in C-sharp Minor at the very beginning. Seems really advanced for an eleven year old.)
(Another terrible dad of the year candidate. Mom dies, and he travels all the time leaving his middle school son alone in a depressing house? Good gosh. Not that the mom was a peach either.)
(So many flip phones in this show. I made a point of looking at what phones people used on the trains in Japan, and most people had an app phone playing that dragon dungeon game. There were very few flip phones, and most of those were owned by old folks. So anime, why the hell are there still so many flip phones? If Parasyte can have Windows Phone, anime can be updated for the present. I will not rest until anime gets rid of flip phones and porn mags.)
#2. Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works
“When she’s smiling, that’s her scariest.”
I got a little disappointed that this series is actually the UBW route rather than the first route because now I can’t pretend that the Studio Deen abomination does not exist. Would anyone have mind if ufotable just started from the beginning? In fact, would anyone have mind if they started from the beginning and weaved in some Fate/zero references like explain what Waver is up to now? No one. That’s who. Still, it’s ufotable and their top tier production values (two holy shit hour long episodes to start off with?!), and it’s Fate/stay night, so yeah, it’s one of the most anticipated shows of the year.
(We always make fun of dense male leads for not noticing the well-endowed nubile haremette tossing herself at him, like in Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete, but for Fate/stay night, it’s the opposite. It’s the dense female lead who does not notice the well-endowed six-pack sporting haremen who cooks and cleans. The only thing more plot stretchy that a teenaged boy not noticing the hot girl coming on to him is the teenaged girl not noticing the hot guy bringing her tea.)
(Such a difference that the previous Holy Grail War was fought by adults scheming for years from various countries that the high school student, Waver, seemed out of place… and this war is basically high school kids concentrated in Japan.)
#1. Amagi Brilliant Park
Amaburi has been brilliant thus far. Come for the Isuzu thigh-high socks, stay for the Moffle life lessons.