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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Winter 2015 Anime First Impressions:

There's a few new good series worth mentioning, so I may as well introduce them to the world:

Assassination Classroom:  The wacky premise of this show so far has a good execution.  Trying to suicide bomb the teacher with specifically anti-teacher pellet shrapnel was a great idea.  I also like the beginning where everyone tried to spray the teacher with gunfire, but he somehow managed to dodge it all.  It looked very cool if nothing else.  I could see this show joining my rankings eventually, but I still have grave doubts.  Is there any way this concept can remain interesting or funny for hundreds of chapters like the manga is written?  I mean, you have this all powerful teacher and these basically powerless students, and yet they have to defeat the teacher before the end of a year-?  Even Naruto's training took longer than that, and these kids don't even have demon foxes in their bellies.  I just don't see how they could ever possibly win this conflict, which means the whole thing is just a waste of time, nothing but a farce.  In fact, the kids of Assassination Classroom are only slightly different from the heroes of Yuuki Yuusha, in a completely hopeless battle simply awaiting the inevitable end of the world.  How will this plot work in the long run?  When it becomes abundantly clear how utterly powerless the students are compared to the teacher, and how they stand no chance whatsoever of succeeding?  In time, I suspect I'll get tired of the whole joke and give up on the fight, just like these students should simply resign themselves to the world ending in a year's time.

If a random kid were told to beat Tiger Woods at golf within the year or the world would be destroyed, should he even bother picking up a club?  There's no chance, zero, zip, none.  Why waste time practicing golf then?  May as well just enjoy yourself while time lasts.

Shinmai Maou no Testament:  This show has too much ecchi content and the women are too violent in their dealings with other people.  Even so, I admit the plot is intriguing.  A princess and her handmaiden are being hunted because her father the king has fallen and her demon kingdom would rather snuff out their royal line and usurp the throne than follow her, and only our hero can save them.  It sounds like a noble cause worth fighting for.  The fact that this guy stands up for himself and isn't the typical doormat character you always see in male anime leads is a saving grace.  This show is currently watchable, but I could see myself tiring of it soon too.  It still has a lot more to prove than, say, Assassination Classroom does.

Koufuku Graffiti:  I was pretty dubious about a story about closeups of girls rapturously enjoying gulping down food all the live long day.  The first episode, though, at least, wasn't about that at all.  Food was used as a means to bring people together, not as an end in itself.  I dislike gluttony and hedonism in general, but love is another story.  The fact that these two second cousins, who both have their social isolation woes (one is too short/childish and is always being talked down to, the other has no family and lives alone), found a way to become close through sharing meals is a wonderful thing.  Let's hope an ever larger torrent of friends comes together, all through the simple bribe of getting to enjoy good food together.  This seems like such a plausible scenario.  Who needs sports or rock bands when you could all just get together and cook good food?  The animation of this series is beautiful, which is typical of SHAFT, but atypically, it isn't full of random head tilts and other nonsense, like what infected Nisekoi and was totally out of place in Nisekoi.  I've said before that I hate SHAFT when it does anything other than Bakemonogatari, because it only knows how to animate one way and that one way only fits the theme/mood/story of Bakemonogatari.  Apparently that's changed, because this episode was drawn wonderfully with no distractions.  It looked more like Non Non Biyori than Bakemonogatari, which is a very good development for this studio.  This show is the closest show currently to joining my rankings.  I don't suspect any problems developing that would prevent me from continuing to enjoy this show.

Juuou Mujin no Fafnir:  It's the same old Freezing premise - Random non-sentient world destroyers appear, only random suddenly discovered women warriors can fight them, and then throw a man into the middle of it for sexual titillation purposes.  I'm very, very tired of this formula.  But if you look underneath this formula, there's something very charming about this show.  For one thing, the imouto.  She started as a crybaby as a child, but now she's the student council president of the entire woman warrior school.  She's very self collected, no nonsense, competent and strong.  She doesn't raise or lower her voice about anything, and whatever emotions she feels are kept in strong check.  She also acts like a normal imouto towards her brother, with a sort of breezy detachment, in that their relationship really just doesn't matter that much to her.  This is a lot more realistic than that awful Mahouka Koukou show had.  The action sequences actually looked pretty good, and I thought it was cool how they focused on the girls' competence and skill at battle rather than dumb verbal/moe quirks like that awful Kantai Collection went with.  Given the genre, this show could get really bad really quickly, but this show did a lot better than I expected.  For now at least it's another addition to my watchable list.

Junketsu no Maria:  I thought the fight scene in this series was done well.  I also like the marching scene in clunky armor.  There was an air of tragi-comedy throughout the situation perfectly showcasing the farce that was the middle ages and everything that happened in them.  I'm not sure how the witches fits in to this historical fiction piece, the answer so far is 'not very well.'  But there were enough positive things to say about the show that there's no reason to stop watching yet.

Sengoku Musou:  This show didn't do anything I wanted.  It wasn't a realistic portrayal of the Sengoku period, nor did it tell the historical tale from the beginning to the end.  Instead, it seems to be intent on a sort of highlight reels version, or a Sanada specific version of events, or something.  I'm finding it hard to even keep up with what's going on.  Even so, it was fun.  It's a lot better than all the Sengoku figures being turned into girls, traveling through time, and living in the modern age at least.  This has some semblance of realism attached to it that makes me hope that for once I'll learn something educational by staying and watching this version of the tale.

Still to come, Isuca, which won't start airing for another couple weeks.  As for the remaining shows, I didn't find them worth watching, mainly because they were shallow, unbelievable, irrelevant, or robbed the main characters of too many decisions.

Right now, both Fairy Tail and Naruto are in filler.  A pretty despondent situation.  As such, our Winter watch list is pretty meager.  But here's what we have to work with, in order of what's the most exciting per week entry versus the least exciting entry:

1.  Shirobako
2.  One Piece
3.  Dragon Ball Kai Buu
4.  Akatsuki no Yona
5.  Koufuku Graffiti
6.  Assassination Classroom
7.  The Idolm@ster: Cinderalla Girls
8.  Juuou Mujin no Fafnir
9.  Sengoku Musou
10.  Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders
11.  Durara Shou
12.  Junketsu no Maria
13.  Happiness Charge Pretty Cure
14.  Shinmai Maou no Testament
15.  Sailor Moon

At the end of the fall season, I believe I only had 14 entries, so starting at 15 should be a good thing, right?  Not really.  I started with over 20 entries in the fall and ended up with only 14 shows, so starting at 15 implies ending with 10.  Let's hope it at least doesn't fall that far. . .

I'm far more interested in the spring anime season.  This spring has more Grisaia, Kiniro Mosaic, Fate/Stay Night, Kyoukai no Rinne, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha Vivid, and tons more good looking series.  This winter is apparently just a stopgap measure as all the anime companies gather their breath for the real labors ahead.  By this spring, maybe Fairy Tail and Naruto will be out of filler too.

1 comment:

AssClass said...

I've read all current released chapters of Assassination Classroom. As a manga reader I would be happy to spoil for you but for the sake of your interest I won't. I suggest you continue to watch the anime to see what happens. It's at least warranted a "watch" by a manga reader such as me so please do so.