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Monday, July 7, 2014

Summer 2014 Anime First Impressions: Part 1

Tokyo Ghoul:  Senseless gore gruesomely mixed up with eroticism.  This series is apparently trying to appeal to the giant necrophiliac crowd, because no one else could possibly enjoy it.  Fail.

Argevollen:  Random ordinary boy 'A' coincidentally becomes the pilot of the strongest mech in the world, proceeds to kick ass, from here on presumably will bring peace and justice to the world.  I'm totally uninterested in characters getting unearned stuff, whether it's powerful mechas or a harem of doting women, so this series has zero appeal from the beginning.  Fail.

Glasslip:  A hilarious first episode.  'David' acts so strangely that no one can tell what he's thinking or even saying, which leads to all sorts of comical situations.  How this one stranger disrupts and changes the relationships of the five original long-standing friends will be exciting to see, like a rock dropped in a pond.  The art is gorgeous, like all PA Works stuff is.  The family life seems very warm and fuzzy.  I have a lot of hope for this series, but it's too soon to call it great yet.  The question is whether this series has enough content to go all the way to the ending at the same level of quality as its original episode.  Glasslip's true value will be revealed in the next few weeks.  Pass.

Locodol:  A fun series featuring amateur idols, much like Wake Up, Girls!  It's probably worse than Wake Up, Girls! though, but that's still better than most series.  This is an easily likable show combining fanservice, humor, and coming-of-life all in one.  Pass.

Rail Wars:  The only reason to watch this show is if you like trains.  Fail.

Aldnoah.Zero:  This show started with a giant info dump about an alternate history, with a bunch of boring characters and conversations to carry the lackluster narrative.  Then the missiles started firing, and suddenly this anime rocked.  Boom! went the missiles.  Oh noz! went the princess.  Then Bam! came the genocidal retributive purge.  World War I done sci-fi style.  I'm not sure how this story can develop from where it's backed itself into, but it looks to be an exciting ride wherever it goes from here.  That this series was done on the centennial of the assassination of crown prince Ferdinand makes it all the more ironic.  Pass.

Barakamon:  Punching an old man is not a joke.  It's a crime.  It's attempted murder.  But setting that aside as some sort of 'exaggerated for comedic affect' moment, just like the kicks and punches done in Oreimo, the episode went well.  Just like Non Non Biyori, a city slicker goes to live out in the countryside, and learns to enjoy the beauty of nature, the tight bonds of a small town, and the carefree and simple life of the countryside.  Since all of these things appeal to me more than the urban jungle, I found myself right at home with this story immediately.  Given how good the original was, another take on Non Non Biyori can't go too wrong.  Pass. 

Akame ga Kill:  I'm not fond of the art style or the humor in this show.  It's all very drab.  However, the plot is to die for.  Hahaha.  Get it?  To die for. . .  Okay, the point is, a show that says it's okay to be a vigilante for justice and everyone has a license to kill in their hearts is a good show.  There's tons of evil in the world, and someone has to take care of it.  The fact that our hero goes from opposing 'Night Raid' to joining them in a single episode is very cool.  No hesitation here.  Right and wrong has never been so clear.  Pass.

Gekkan Shojo Nozaki-kun:  This first episode was hilarious.  The art is beautiful.  Our main girl, Sakura, is a very understanding and unselfish woman, which makes me like her immediately.  My only worry is that the show will become repetitive and go nowhere, rendering this wonderful beginning moot.  Just like Kotoura-san, the first episode of a comedy series can be very deceiving.  Comedy is always fresh at the beginning, but near the end?  Who's to say?  For now this series has the most potential from the new summer season so far.  Pass.

Sabagebu:  This show has virtually everything bad that can possibly be bad in an anime.  Mindless fanservice.  Bad art.  A reluctant hero who's forced into a life course against her own will.  Over the top violence and wrongdoing that would never actually happen in people's daily lives.  Attempts at humor that all fall flat without eliciting a single humorous moment.  Unrealistic action scenes.  This is as bad as Maken-ki.  I hate survival game anime.  Why do they keep making these?  Fail.

Himegoto:  A complete rip-off of Hayate no Gotoku except without the humor or length.  Fail.

Hanayamata:  The most beautiful anime of the season.  Sakura, Hanabi, kimonos, soushite bishoujos bakkari.  The opening where they all dance around is magnificently animated.  The visual punch is as strong as No Game No Life, but with twice the budget.  The plot itself is rather ordinary, and the humor is a little off.  But it hardly matters.  With visuals like these, mediocre plots are very easily swallowable.  Pass.

Ao Haru Ride:  A great beginning to an epic romance.  This is already looking to be as good as Kimi ni Todoke.  I hope it's that good.  It has all the right levers and tools to make itself that good.  Now it's just a matter of execution.  The next few episodes will be critical in establishing the worth of the female and male leads, plus a believable reason that's keeping them apart while still close enough to learn to love each other.  Nobody said romance stories were easy, but it looks like Ao Haru Ride has the right stuff to bring it about.  Pass.

Still to come -- Majimoji, Zankyou no Terror, Persona 4 the Golden Animation, Rokujouma no Shinryakusha, Tokyo ESP, Jinsei, and Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance.  Once I've seen everything the summer season has to offer, I'll rank the currently airing series in the order of how excited I am to see them each week (which doesn't reflect their overall quality, because some series are much longer than others and therefore have more overall eps of excitement under their belt), and start to worry about which of these shows should enter my top anime rankings overall.  Eight 'passes' already has the summer season off to a great start.

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