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Friday, April 18, 2014

Spring 2014 Anime Second Impressions:

Akuma no Riddle is dropped.  This is because the assassin had the opportunity to kill her target and get her wish fulfilled for life, but chose not to do it in favor of a cheap thrill, and as a result was defeated.  This is just so blazingly stupid there's no point watching any further.  A trained assassin who has her dream life in her hands throws it all away in a fit of stupidity and incompetence?  Really?

Meanwhile, Nanana is also dropped.  This is because the series is too vulgar, too frivolous, and too random.  If Nanana really wanted to find her killer, she would cooperate with her roommate and do whatever it took to find the culprit. The fact that she isn't willing to cooperate means the whole story's premise is pointless because even the actors involved aren't taking the topic seriously.  I have a mountain of complaints with this series, but that one really takes the cake.

Hitsugi no Chaika still hasn't done anything to impress me, and just looks like a decent show.  However, Black Bullet is looking better and better by the minute.  The girl running away from her master and hiding despite wanting more than anything to be back at his side is heartbreaking.  It's just these sorts of contradictions that make character development possible.  When people are one dimensional, they always do the same thing and keep the same priority foremost at all times.  But when people have conflicting wishes that keep interchanging themselves at the top based on the current environment and circumstances, you have a full-blown human being, far smarter than, say, a Slylandro probe that has a priority override of 500.  Black Bullet's leading girl, Enju, has proven her humanity to me -- which is ironic because she's the half-demon in the story.  I'm far more interested in her than the characters of Hitsugi no Chaika, who have basically been running on autopilot so far.

Black Bullet seems to be one of those stories with massive swings between its high points and its low points, so I doubt it will be a great show -- it'll probably end up similar to Mirai Nikki.  However, No Game No Life solidified its pure awesomeness with a spectacular episode 2.  Virtually every line spoken that episode was game-changing -- it gave you a completely different outlook into the characters than you knew about before.  That's storytelling done right.  When you combine the beautiful art, the great sense of humor, and the epic fairytale setting, you're looking at the standout show of this spring.

Soul Eater Not was distressingly dull.  At this rate even Gochuuman wa Usagi Desu ka? will claim the title for more excitement and development.  I swear all they managed to do in Soul Eater Not was fall asleep for a day.  That was pretty much the highlight of the episode, bedtime.  At least in Gochuuman they baked bread into funny shapes.  That's something.

Atelier Escha & Logy continued to prove itself to be the most fleshed-out and mature world-building series in the lineup.  With wonderful characters full of understandable and admirable traits, you just want to jump into the television and hug everyone.  This series could not do better with the material it has at hand, it's like the perfect version of the story it wants to tell.  How good would life be if we were in a low-tech, high morality, medium quality magic world?  Escha & Logy have the answers.

Love Live isn't as good as its first season.  It feels like everyone is trying too hard to advertise their distinct character traits, which in turn makes them feel too one dimensional.  Things will pick up once they're singing and dancing again, but it feels like a wasted opportunity when the first season was so good every single episode.

Mahouka Koukou was okay, which is a step up from its first episode.  I'm still pretty sullen about this series though.

Mangaka-san to Assistant-san was just as funny and cute as before.  I really like this show, it has just the right comedic tempo.  As far as short comedy series go, this is probably better than Tonari no Seki-kun.

Isshukan Friends had a surprising amount of plot development for a story that resets every week.  I can't foretell where things will go from here though, it feels like by the very nature of a girl who forgets every week the story can't proceed any further forward.  I don't understand this series, but so long as it keeps being good I can't say anything bad about it either.

Soredemo had a lot happen in a very short span of time, which left me more bemused than hooked.  However, what did happen was still interesting so it works out.

Putting it all together, the new 'excitement caliber rating' looks like this:

1.  No Game No Life
2.  Gokukoku no Brynhildr
3.  Atelier Escha & Logy
4.  Black Bullet
5.  Fairy Tail
6.  Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
7.  Dragonball Kai
8.  Soredemo, Sekai wa Utsukushii
9.  Hitsugi no Chaika
10.  One Piece
11.  Hunter x Hunter
12.  Isshukan Friends
13.  Happiness Charge Precure
14.  Mekaku City Actors
15.  Soul Eater Not
16.  Love Live 2
17.  Mangaka-san to Assistant-san
18.  Tonari no Seki-kun
19.  Break Blade
20.  Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei

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