Seasonal Thoughts: You know how last season was kind of a half-and-half ratio of better than decent and less than subpar? Well, the”less than subpar” outweighed the “better than decent” this season, in my opinion. You know what? Forget everything I said about last season being meh. Winter was indeed a strong season, because it at least had several enjoyable shows to me, namely Maria the Virgin Witch, Death Parade, and Yurikuma Arashi. What enjoyable shows did Spring have? Absolutely nothing. Blood Blockade Battlefront, maybe but that didn’t even top Yurikuma Arashi. This season being a drag is the price I gotta pay for a surprisingly good Winter. Talk about a massive step backwards. If you ask me, this Spring is probably one of the weakest seasons in recent years. I guess I was right to not expect anything out of this season, which says alot since I dedicated most of my time this season rewatching older stuff. Or maybe I just watched the wrong shows this season. I guess since I’ve gotten through the worst of it, the rest of the year should be smooth sailing.
And what’s worse is that I thought that Avengers: Age of Ultron would be the most awesome movie I’ve seen this year so far. Nope, it was actually Mad Max: Fury Road. I mean, yeah, Vision was awesome, but that flamethrower-guitar. You just can’t top that shit. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Marvel just couldn’t pass their own bar they set for themselves last year, and I’m not gonna hold my breath for Ant-Man, either.
And what’s even worse than that is that for some reason, Sega thought it would be a great idea to make another Sonic Boom game. Yeah, smart move there, considering the first ones amazingly failed. Maybe it’s a good thing Sega gave Yu Suzuki the license for Shenmue 3. Well, if you say it’s going to be “way better than the first one”, I’m gonna hold you to that.
And what’s even more worse than that is that I have to live in fear and blood-boiling anger of the possibility of more Cross Ange happening. Really, why? I would much rather see more of Accel World than this garbage. I mean, Accel World sucks too, but at least it isn’t infuriating stupid. The lesser of two evils, you know. Seriously, Sunrise. Do not let Fukuda have his way.
My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Too! (Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. Zoku)
Like I said before in my Spring 2013 writeup, My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU is an actually, genuinely good-quality light novel-based anime, which is about as rare as Fire Emblem character amiibo in this era of modern anime. It has very believable characters that someone who has dealt with these same issues that Yukino and Hachiman have had can sympathize with them on a personal level. I know I used to have these issues in middle school, and I never want to talk about middle school. I mean, yeah, Hachiman can come off as a self-insert Batman wannabe at times. I’m still pretty mixed about the artstyle. It isn’t a terrible-looking at all, but half the time, I enjoy looking at it because of its fluid, detailed animations; Other times, it bothers me because it’s nothing like the first season. Then again, maybe the first season’s artstyle wasn’t that impressive anyway, so I suppose this is an improvement. Other than that, not much new to say since it doesn’t get any better or worse save for a few weak episodes, which is why this season is a half-point lower than the first. This was still an enjoyable watch, nonetheless. [Score: 7.5]
Gunslinger Stratos the Animation
I wasn’t exactly far from the truth when I said that Gunslinger Stratos is this year’s Magical Warfare. After all, they’re basically the same thing: Interesting premise ruined by illogical moments that make absolutely no sense whatsoever, utterly lousy plot development that makes just about as much sense as its own illogical moments, cliche and annoying cookie-cutter characters that I won’t ever care about if they’re killed off, and animation quality that makes Ninja Slayer look better in comparison. It’s pretty horrible because looking at the original game CG or this animated PV, they’re not too bad-looking, but when you hand it over to an incompetent animation studio like A-1, it gets turned to dreck. Maybe A-1 shouldn’t have spent 99% of their budget on garbage like Aldnoah.Zero and SA–Oh, forget it. The only thing that I can give it a slight advantage over Magical Warfare was that it actually had an ending that makes a bit of sense. Other than that, Gunslinger Stratos is yet another entry into A-1’s ever-growing pile of garbage and yet another example of what happens when you use Urobuchi’s name to drive sales and build false expectations that won’t ever be fulfilled. Yeah, can you believe this junk is somehow outselling Maria the Virgin Witch in volume sales? I mean, I’m used to anime that I love selling like shit, but shouldn’t the lesser bomb be the one that isn’t an incompetent mess that looks like it was made on a shoestring budget? [Score: 3]
Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign (Owari no Seraph)
Question: Where was all the “hype” for Seraph of the End coming from? Is it because it’s Wit Studio producing something with a premise similar to Attack on Titan? To be honest, this show is more like “What if Blue Exorcist tried to be like Attack on Titan, and failed miserably to have even one of the decent qualities of both?” But Seraph‘s biggest weakness is that it throws in a school setting where it honestly shouldn’t belong. At least Blue Exorcist had a reason for having one. Seraph could’ve simply done without and serves no purpose other than hindering the show. For a show that supposed to be about vampire-slaying, they haven’t done much of that, let alone anything. If this doesn’t get any better when the second half hits this Fall (and I seriously doubt it will), then maybe Attack on Vampires– I mean Seraph of the Edge (because vampire terrorists and kamikaze bombers just screams OW THE EDGE nowadays) is too stupidly predictable and as generic as shonen can get to be worth anyone’s time. [Score: 3.5]
Wish Upon the Pleiades (Houkago no Pleiades) TV
You know, Gainax kinda fell off the radar after Trigger was founded, and they come back with something that would’ve seemed fun and colorful if this came out before 2013. Even so, with all of its Gainax-ness (because how else can you describe watching supernovas and galaxies collide with each other?), Wish Upon the Pleiades just doesn’t have enough heart to keep me interested enough. I mean, the magic is clearly there in all of its Gainax glory, but it’s really not doing anything on its own. The ideas are there, but they all just fall flat. I really wish that a show like this would be fun to watch, but without all of the things that really make a show stand out, all the magic and flash just doesn’t work well. Don’t get me wrong, Pleiades isn’t a terrible show, but it’s just nothing memorable. Then again, looking back at the original 2011 web animation, that wasn’t all that memorable either. Geez, Gainax kinda fell apart after 2011, didn’t they? Maybe it’s best that they stayed off the radar for awhile to find their bearings again. [Score: 6]
Blood Blockade Battlefront (Kekkai Sensen)
I feel like Blood Blockade is the show that Durarara!!x2 should’ve been like. And I know it’s probably too early to say that since the latter is only a third finished, but after being let down by the first chapter of that (no surprise, and I’m not expecting the other two to be any better). I have very good confidence in that statement. And I’m also confident to say that Blood Blockade is the best new show this season. No, the only new show this season besides SNAFU S2. Even so, that’s not exactly saying much. The one major issue I have is that Blood Blockade can get hard to follow at times because it’s the kind of show that requires your full attention. If you stray off for even a second, you’re gonna get lost immediately. Also, the overarching plot is lacking. I’ve said this once about Death Parade last season. And even though I’ve learned to enjoy episodic anime, overarching plots still matter, because that is what connects all the pieces together. But the well done cast of characters and individual stories help make the parts that are easy enough to follow worthwhile. I don’t know how well it can hold up to whatever anime the second half of 2015 has in store, but if it doesn’t manage to stay in my Top 10 of the year, at least I can say that Blood Blockade Battlefront was, at the least, the only show that stood tall in a completely lackluster season. [Score: 8]
Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? (Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka?)
Why is it that every single MMO anime this decade always gotta be compared to Sword Art Online? Why not .hack//, instead? At least that didn’t ruin the genre. And even if DanMachi is set in a video game, I can’t tell. They talk alot about video game stats and what have you, but it feels like it’s shoehorned in to make it seem like it’s wants to be like the competition. It can easily be seen as a standard adventure anime. And even so, it’s not like there’s anything remarkable about it. Everything about this is as you would come to expect from your usual light novel anime: nothing resembling a real story, dull and uninteresting male lead, and a just as dull and uninteresting female lead who I think is the only reason why anybody is even watching this. For a show that asks if it is wrong to try to pick up girls in a dungeon, it’s really nothing to write home about. It has potential and I can see it, but it’s completely squandered, like most light novel anime do. If you ask me, I think I’m feeling fatigued with these MMO anime, and you can thank Sword Art Online for that. For some damn reason, light novel writers think the MMO anime genre is an excuse to turn their story into some teen male’s power fantasy, and it’s pissing me off. When you look past Hestia and her boob ribbon, there’s nothing else to look at. Speaking of which, this boob ribbon thing is overrated as hell and needs to die. [Score: 4]
Assassination Classroom (Ansatsu Kyoushitsu)
When you sit down and think carefully about the premise of Assassination Classroom, it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. It’s that kind of premise that you shouldn’t think about too much, but I just can’t not think about it. I mean, what kind of government would allow such a dangerous yellow octopus-alien-whatever the hell kind of creature Koro-sensei is to teach a class before he blows up the planet? Only a terrible one, that’s for sure. Besides that, and I know this is an unpopular opinion since Assassination Classroom (I’m not calling it AssClass, and neither should you. Seriously, don’t do that. It sounds crass.) is a well-liked show this year, but I find it pretty boring. I mean, there’s not much to care about when the target of assassination is nigh-invincible and can conveniently asspull his way out of pretty much every sticky situation. Who knows, maybe next year’s second season can hold my attention longer than the first one, but, like I’ve always been saying, I’m not gonna hold my breath that it will. [Score: 6]
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders
When this year started, I was in full “Fuck yeah, JoJo!!” mode, and this was before I thought some of the other Winter season would actually be good enough to give Stardust Crusaders a run for its money. But I still had fun with this. I can see why it’s one of the most beloved action manga series to come out of Japan. Compared to this, most other action shonen anime are nothing but a bunch of jokers and tryhards (Looking directly at you, Akame ga Kill! and Seraph of the End). Although in my opinion, Stardust Crusaders didn’t exactly top Battle Tendency as my favorite JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure arc. Maybe it’s because of the length. I know Stardust Crusaders was a pretty long story arc, and David Production wanted to get all of the story into 48 episodes, but by, the last 8 episodes, I was asking myself “When are they gonna get to fighting DIO already?” It’s not an issue that hinders the show, but I think it still deserves a mention. Also, Joseph is, and will always be, best JoJo. Is that a fact? If not, it should be. This show was all kinds of awesome, and it well-deserves a high spot in my Top 10 of the year. Between this, Shirobako, Maria the Virgin Witch, Death Parade, and Yurikuma Arashi, my Top 5 is pretty much locked tightly for the for the first half of the year, and probably the rest of the year. Anime of 2015 might as well pack up and go home, because I seriously doubt anything else from this year can top them. Good luck, though. They’ll need it …Aw, shit. It just hit me that JoJo‘s over, at least until they animate the next parts, which they obviously will because “location scouting,” but what am I supposed to do until then? What is life without JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure?! [Score: 8.5]
Ghost in the Shell: Arise – Alternative Architecture
This will be an overall review of Ghost in the Shell: Arise; The four OVA movies plus the two original Alternative Architecture episodes. Ghost Pain was a decent start to the series. Ghost Whispers I thought was the better of the OVAs. Ghost Tears I found to be the weakest one (boring, predictable love story is boring and predictable), while Ghost Stands Alone was fine, but didn’t exactly feel like a conclusion, assuming Arise was supposed to have one. Pyrophoric Cult was pretty decent, but honestly did nothing to change my opinion on Arise as a whole. Maybe I just wasn’t into this as much as I was in the original movie and Stand Alone Complex. The individual plots and the character weren’t all that great, and, from what I’ve read, Alternative Architecture rearranged the episodes out of order. Anyone who didn’t watch the Arise OVAs before jumping into Pyrophoric Cult is gonna feel really confused, And you know, I still haven’t forgiven Ubukata for blowing Psycho-Pass 2. which has nothing to do with this, but I’m just saying. In the end, Arise was a decent addition to the Ghost in the Shell franchise, but did mostly nothing much to interest me. Maybe the new movie will be better… [Score: 7]
The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan (Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu)
Looking back at The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Season 1 was an interesting slice-of-life series with cool concepts. Season 2 was, Endless Eight notwithstanding (And the less I talk about Endless Eight, the better), completely unneccesary. The movie was very good even though it’s could’ve been a bit shorter. However, Nagato Yuki-chan is probably one of the most dullest comedy shows I’ve seen in a while. The fact that the character designs are completely different is the least of its problems. It is pretty much trying too hard to amuse me, and only succeeds in boring me out of my skull. How is it that one of the best characters to come out of Haruhi Suzumiya has one of the worst things to come out of Haruhi Suzumiya? The clumsy, timid Nagato worked in the movie, but when you put this same Nagato in a 16-episode series, the same effect doesn’t work. And really, only 4 of these episode are worth watching. If you ask me, then I’d say that Nagato Yuki-chan is probably one of the most worthless things to come out of Haruhi Suzumiya since Season 2. Better to just stick with Season 1 and the movie. [Score: 4]
Knights of Sidonia: Battle for Planet Nine (Sidonia no Kishi: Daikyu Wakusei Seneki)
The second season of Knights of Sidonia still holds strong after last year’s first leason left me wanting more. Considering that it was the only good mecha anime to come out of last year, that isn’t surprising to me. The good thing about it is that it shows to have grown out of Attack on Titan‘s shadow, to the point that I cannot find myself to call it “Attack on Titan meets Gundam” anymore. However, Battle for Planet Nine felt like there was an increase of focus on some slice-of-life elements than the mecha aspects, and that’s a weak point to me. I mean, it was there last season, but not at the same level. I love the cute, lovable Gauna-human hybrid dick monster thng, but that’s as much as I can say. Also, comparing Knights of Sidonia‘s CGI animation to some of Polygon Pictures’ other television works like, say, Transformers: Prime or Star Wars: The Clone Wars, it looks completely stiff, and that’s an issue I’ve had with both seasons. And I’ve seen Expelled from Paradise, so I know what good CGI animation looks like. But anyway the second season was a good watch, but a small but noticeable stepdown from the first, and just wasn’t good enough to salvage a weak season, assuming anything could… [Score: 8]
Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’
Battle of Gods I thought was out of left field. I walked into the theatre expecting a straight-up Dragon Ball Z movie, and I left out with a Dragon Ball film, and I was very satisfied with it. I actually did like the fact it was more orientated towards comedy than action. Resurrection ‘F’ is in between action and comedy, and remains a film that will be entertaining to Dragon Ball fans. I enjoyed it, but not as much as I did Battle of Gods. If you had a favorite human character besides Krillin that you wished got more spotlight action, they get their share. Except for Yamcha and Chiaotzu. Yeah, they suck, and the movie is well aware of that. In hindsight, Resurrection ‘F’ brings even more closure to the Namek saga in a way I didn’t expect it to, having addressed one of Goku’s fatal flaws. However, I feel as though the last few moments of the film could only have happened through plot convenience, and that is a minus. Like, what if one certain character wasn’tthere for a certain event? That’d be all she wrote. It’s not a very big one that derails the entire movie, but still a noticeable one that I couldn’t let go. Also the animation felt weak, worse that Battle of Gods‘ animation at times. Speaking of which, Toei, your constant use of CGI sucks. I’ve already had my fill of it with Sailor Moon Crystal. [Score: 7.5]
Spring 2015 Season APR
1: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders
2: Blood Blockade Battlefront
3: Knights of Sidonia: Battle for Planet Nine
4: My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Too!
5: Ninja Slayer From Animation (ongoing)
6: Ghost in the Shell: Arise – Alternative Architecture
7: Wish Upon the Pleiades
8: Assassination Classroom
9: Sailor Moon Crystal (ongoing)
10: The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan
11: Rin-Ne (ongoing)
12: Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?
13: Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign (2nd Half in Fall 2015)
14: Gunslinger Stratos the Animation
Favorite Theme Songs
- “F” by Maximum the Hormone (DBZ: Resurrection ‘F’ Battle Theme)
- “Back in Black” by Boom Boom Satellites (Ninja Slayer Opening Theme)
- “Ninja Slayer” by ELECTRIC EEL SHOCK (Ninja Slayer Episode 6 Ending Theme)
- “Hide” by 80KIDS (Ninja Slayer Episode 9 Ending Theme)
- “scaPEGoat” by SawanoHiroyuki[nZk]:Yosh (Seraph of the End Ending Theme 1)
- “MIRAI” by GARNiDELIA (Gunslinger Stratos Ending Theme)
- “Sugar Song and Bitter Step” by Unison Square Garden (Blood Blockade Ending Theme)
Next Season Preview: “This season was trash. Last season wasn’t that bad after all, I guess.” YEEART! “AAUUGH! SAYONARA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” *explodes*
Ninja Slayer, Sailor Moon Crystal (only two more episodes. Endure, Myke. Endure!!), and Rin-Ne will continue next season, while Gatchaman Crowds Insight, Senki Zesshou Symphogear GX, Overlord, Prison School, Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers, Gangsta., God Eater, Ushio and Tora, Chaos Dragon, and the second part of Durarara!!x2 (don’t bore me this time…) will be on my watchlist for this Summer. As per usual, expectations are low, but open. This year has had a bunch of slim pickings, so I’m not that enthusiastic for this Summer either. Hell, I don’t even think I’m looking forward to anything next season… I know I’ve said that a lot, but I think I mean it this time. Also, Dragon Ball Super has a premiere date set, but is it really going to air on July 5? I don’t think so. We’ve been over this. If there’s no footage to be seen, I have no reason to believe it’s coming. It is. Damn you, Toei. …At least Little Witch Academia 2 has a premiere date, but I regret not backing that Kickstarter… Well, better luck next season. At least with Gatchaman Crowds and Symphogear airing together again, Summer’s gonna be… at least somewhat worthwhile. If not, at least Splatoon can keep me occupied.