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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fall Anime 2014 Season First Impressions: Part 2

Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai:  This series had tremendous hype, since it is based on the 'best visual novel of the year' award winner.  Now that it's finally reached the silver screen, it turns out to be just as good as expected.  The girls look fabulous.  The humor is uproarious.  The male lead is unique and cool.  My only complaints so far seems to be the low budget that constrains the detail level of the animation and backgrounds and the amount of affection points this guy already seems to have bagged with the girls before the story even begins.  It's sort of an uneventful love story if all the girls like him already without him even having to try.  But I guess that's reality for you.  Girls love you or not based on first impressions and second-hand info alone, so there's really no point trying hard in the first place.  In any case, this series has a ton of potential with so many likable characters and a 'secret to this world' under-plot which will sustain the suspense and drama as the humor plays out.  In a lot of ways, this show reminds me of Da Capo III, which is in no way a bad thing.  Whether this series reaches my rankings or not depends on whether it reaches its full potential.  Pass.

Shirobako:  For a story about producing an anime this show sure has a lot of fast and furious car racing.  Oh well, aside from that dollop of American-ism, the rest of the show is great.  It shows a lot of earnest and hardworking people who love what they're doing doing their best in the entertainment industry.  How could you not be charmed by such a group?  The plot is fantastic and the characters are all instantly likable.  This show is already heartwarming.  Whether it will be dramatic or not is an open question though.  If it wants to match the likes of Natsuiro Kiseki, it will have to add drama into its normally cheerful presentation.  We'll just have to wait and see, but for now it's one of the most promising series of the fall season.  Pass. 

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso:  An extraordinary project with an obviously high budget and epic tone.  The characters are great, the setting believable and realistic, and the plot development in terms of both coming-of-age and romance look stellar.  There's basically nothing wrong with this series.  However, it doesn't pluck at the heart strings like the moe-ness of Sora no Method, nor does it have eye-catchingly unique people like Grisaia no Kajitsu.  Basically, it doesn't have that indelible hook that really makes it stand out compared to other shows.  A well polished bead of glass as opposed to a diamond, huh?  Nevertheless, this is another excellent addition to the fall season.  Pass.

Ore, Twintails ni Narimasu:  This show has a slow start, where a hero wastes time by being reluctant and ecchi portions are included for no reason (of an old hag no less, so no one would want them to be included anyway).  But the second half is nigh perfect.  The world is in peril, space lizards have come to steal our twin-tail (pig tails in English) hairstyle, and only transforming magical girls can save the day.  Only the leader of the squad is a boy with a twintail fetish, not an actual twintail girl.  It's great!  What boy wouldn't want to transform into a beautiful flame-haired twintail savoir of twintails everywhere?  The art and animation from this point on are great.  All the corny lines which are straight rip-offs of other series are hilarious and fit perfectly.  For such a silly and overused concept, this series has really found a way to carve out a niche for itself.  A magical girl boy.  A world in peril only not really.  Posing as a kid's show but actually meant to be enjoyed by adults.  The discordance is pleasing to the palette -- there hasn't been a red-headed girl who's really a boy since Ranma -- and everyone knows how great that show was.  Welcome back, true-transexuals!  You put the nisemonos to shame.  Pass.

Girlfriend (Kari):  A very fluffy show that just shows a variety of girls with cute speech patterns, hairstyles, colorful school uniform skirts, etc, all doing their preferred activities, from sports to cultural activities to meta-school jobs like the student council or the public service announcer.  Hundreds of girls to choose from, you can like any one of them you like, or all of them together.  There shouldn't be much drama in this series so just relax and enjoy the show.  A montage of eye and auditory candy awaits.  Pass.

Meanwhile, having watched the second episode of World Trigger, I can say that I'm thoroughly sick of Osamu, but the albino kid is cool so I guess I'll endure it for now.  After the second episode of Cross Ange, I decided the show's only purpose was fanservice of a rather sick variety, so I gave up on it.  If it had treated its own plotline more respectfully this could have gone differently, but oh well.

Since I still have five slots left to fill in my top 170 anime rankings, I'll go ahead and fill those in now from the new fall shows.  If they end up sucking later I can just take them back out and put in some new winter anime series instead, but I'd like to get up to par on my list as soon as possible so here it goes:

166.  Grisaia no Kajitsu
167.  Akame ga Kill
168.  Sora no Method
169.  Akaktsuki no Yona
170.  Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai

These are the five most promising new series rolling into the fall season.  Let's hope all five of them deliver on their potential and justify their new ranked status.

Still to come, Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru, which comes out after some of these latest episodes I just gave my first impressions on already get a second episode, which makes it quite the straggler.  We'll see how good it is when the time arrives, but at least provisionally it's time to rank the fall series in order of how excited I am to see each new episode from them as they come out, and in terms of what series I actually intend to be watching this season:

(Fairy Tail has just entered filler so it's no longer on my watch list.  It was nice while it lasted, but I guess this is what happens with long-running series based on manga.)

1.  Sword Art Online II
2.  Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works
3.  Grisaia no Kajitsu
4.  Sora no Method
5.  Akatsuki no Yona
6.  Akame ga Kill
7.  Naruto
8.  Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai
9.  Ore, Twintail ni Narimasu
10.  Amagi Brilliant Park
11.  Dragon Ball Kai Buu
12.  One Piece
13.  Sailor Moon Crystal
14.  Shirobako
15.  Yama no Susume Second Season
16.  Girlfriend (Kari)
17.  Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso
18.  Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete
19.  Madan no Ou to Vanadis
20.  Inou-Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de
21.  Nanatsu no Taizai
22.  Happiness Charge Pretty Cure
23.  Trinity Seven: 7-nin no Mahoutsukai
24.  World Trigger

One series longer than my summer anime watchlist when it began!  Plus Yuuki Yuuna might still be good, which would bump it up to 25 shows.  A very promising beginning to the end of the year.  Even without Jojo's, Hunter x Hunter or Fairy Tail there's still this much good anime in the world!

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