Well, this took me quite some time to write up, but here it is, my Fall 2014 anime mid season review! I went through all the shows I have seen over the season, and organized them into my favorites, enjoyable shows, and shows I didn’t enjoy.
A series where we have space invaders threatening humanity. Shinichi finds himself in an odd predicament when a parasite fails to take over his brain. Shinichi undergoes a transformation in his personality as he adapts to the changes. He begins to question his own humanity, and tries to figure out who/what he is.
Parasyte is one of the darker series of the season, with tons of blood and gore. My favorite aspect of the show has to be their use of music. Madhouse loves their dubstep, and knows exactly how to use it to build hype at the right moments. I’m also a fan of the modernized character designs, the characters are still recognizable, but don’t seem out of place.
Fate/Stay Night (2014)
Well, I don’t think this needs much of an explanation, seeing how it was the most hyped anime of the year. Seven magi summon servants to do battle in the quest for the holy grail. The original adaptation by Studio DEEN left a lot to be desired. While we’re going down a different route, ufotable has not disappointed with their take on the series!
Animation quality is consistently amazing and the music direction is done by none other than Kajiura Yuki (Madoka, Kara no Kyoukai, Sword Art Online). Overall, ufotable has done an amazing job with fleshing out the story and bringing it to life. If you’re interested, you can also check out my weekly ramblings on the series!
Nanatsu no Taizai
The Seven Deadly Sins is a surprise of the season for me. There wasn’t much hype surrounding it, and after being released, discussions have been pretty small. I’m guessing this is due to the lack of distribution since there are no official simulcasts for the series.
Overall, Nanatsu no Taizai is your old school shounen series and feels as if it were a fairytale. Everything about the series brings out a nostalgic feeling. The art style, humor, and music all bring back fond memories of the classic anime I watched while growing up (DBZ, Inuyasha). We have our somewhat overpowered and perverted protagonist who travels the world after a fateful encounter. He meets various enemies along the way as well as old friends who join his journey on their quest to restore order in the kingdom.
A continuation of a series that I thoroughly enjoyed. I was a bit skeptical going into Psycho Pass 2, since I had no idea what to expect. I felt that the first season had a decent amount of closure and didn’t feel that there was a need for a second season. While the second season of Psycho-Pass has been pretty amazing so far, I can’t help but feel that it lacks something. I really miss the philosophical discussions and references since I felt that they really fleshed out the characters. Although we’re only half way through, I thought that Makishima had a lot more depth as a villain compared to Kamui (so far). For the most part, it feels as if there is a stronger focus on the story, and less on the characters. We have had several, somewhat significant deaths, but the characters weren’t that well developed.
Overall, the series has been entertaining thus far. There were quite a few questions left open at the end of the first season which have yet to be addressed. They continue to build on the mystery with each passing episode, while hinting towards the previous questions. I’m putting my faith in the new director and expecting a big twist or revelation towards the end of the season, where everything gets connected and blows my mind! This is also another series that I have weekly blog posts for so check them out if you want my expanded thoughts on the series.
Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso
Where to begin with Kimi no Uso? At first glance, everything just melds together. The art, animation, music, voices, everything just seems to fit together beautifully. A series about a piano prodigy who has lost his way. He can no longer play the piano without reliving the trauma and mental blockades of his past. That is, until he witnesses a scene right out of a fairy tale. A girl, playing music and the entire world chimes in and dances along with her music. Kousei’s world lights up once again as we embark on his journey of recovery.
I think Kimi no Uso has the makings of a beautiful story, including drama, tragedy, and growth. When I first saw the series, I was expecting the cast to be a bit more mature (not middle school aged). Since they’re so young, we as the viewer, get to watch them mature and overcome their insecurities and inner turmoil.
Alright Autumn Shows
Amagi Brilliant Park
Professional narcissist, Kanie gets shown a whole new world that was right under his very nose. Amagi Brilliant Park, a theme park he knew as a child, is actually run by magical creatures from another world. Unfortunately, times are rough and the park might have to close down if they can’t bring in more customers. Isuzu, a quiet but violent woman, recruits Kanie to turn the park around so that they can keep their home.
While we know what the end goal of the series is, each episode feels like a new adventure. Kanie takes over as manager, and begins restoring the park, one attraction at a time. Overall it’s a fun series, and there isn’t much else that need be said.
As I’ve mentioned countless times in the past, I’m not a huge fan of mecha series. I still picked up Cross Ange after hearing about the controversy and had to see what all the fuss was about. While Cross Ange can be offensive and definitely not for everyone, I found it to be incredibly entertaining. Robots, yuri, dragons, maids, male who mysteriously finds himself in odd positions, what’s not to like?!
We have a princess who has fallen from grace, and is exiled to a foreign land. Having been pampered all her life, she has no idea how to interact as a normal person, let alone in a dog eat dog world. Ange has to first accept the reality, and only then can she begin growing as a person. Looking past the fanservice and offensive material of Cross Ange, the characters show growth over the course of the series, and the plot is interesting as well. They really did a good job with the world building and the character development of Angelise. While it’s no masterpiece, and has many flaws, I think Cross Ange has a lot of entertainment value to it!
Grisaia no Kajitsu
I was originally pretty excited for Grisaia, but unfortunately the adaptation wasn’t what I was hoping for. We have a school where the only students are girls who went through traumatic experiences. All of these girls have developed some kind of psychological damage and it’s up to Yuuji to heal them. While some of their stories can be emotional, the execution fell flat for me. They compressed it so we get approximately 1 or 2 episodes per route, and it almost feels as if there is no connection between the story arcs. It feels as if things reset at the end of each arc, and Yuuji works on curing the next girl. Some of the stories are a bit ridiculous as well, which makes it hard to take seriously at times.
I have to admit, I wasn’t a fan of the first episode, but I think Inou Battle has steadily improved. We follow a close knit group of students, who are quirky in their own way. They suddenly gain super powers and have to adjust to their new lives. I actually like how even though they have super powers, these powers aren’t the main focus of the series. While Andou is a bit of a dimwit, he brings something special to the club. As the series progresses, we learn more about the girls through him which helps develop their character. Overall, a fun series with a supernatural element kick to it.
Madan no ou to Vanadis
I’d describe Madan as a sort of mix between fantasy and historic setting. We’re in a time of constant war where soldiers still ride horses and use swords and bows. The fantasy aspect comes from the mystical powers of the seven war maidens, or as I like to call them, Sir Tigre’s harem. The series is a lot more story focused than I initially thought. We jumped straight into Tigre joining Eleanora and have since quickly moved from one maiden conquering to the next. Overall, it’s an entertaining series, but it is a little fast paced and lacking in character development (but then again, this is a harem so why would there be?).
Ookami Shoujo to Kuro Ouji
I have a problem with shoujos since they tend to go overboard on the drama, but I think Ookami Shoujo strikes the right balance between drama and comedy. We have Erika, who tries so hard to fit in with the popular girls and accidentally bites off more than she can chew. She ends up in a fake relationship with one of the most popular guys in the school, who agrees to play along, but only if Erika is at his every beck and call.
Watching the couple interact can be rather painful at times. Kyouya can be cruel, and yet Erika tolerates his constant abuse. He’ll lead her on and then pull away at the last second, often leaving her devastated. It does have some heart warming moments where it makes me question my masculinity.
Ore, Twintail ni Narimasu
At first, I really couldn’t get into the series. But as I watched more episodes, it started to grow on me. There isn’t really much of a plot, random alien like creatures who have weird fetishes try to invade earth. The twintails stop them with relative ease, but not without your typical harem like tropes. The dialogue in particular is flat our ridiculous at times and I can’t help but crack a laugh or two. Seeing Thouars get all excited, or Souji have long speeches on his passion for twintails, makes the series enjoyable to me.
One guy, and seven deadly magic users, did I mention they’re all female? I guess you can see where this series is headed based on that alone. Arata is exposed to the world of magic after a chaotic event, in which his childhood friend, Hijiri is taken away. He enrolls in a magical school in order to find answers and rescue Hijiri. Obviously, this means that he has time to flirt with all of the girls in the institute, and live every prepubescent boys’ dream! Trinity Seven is enjoyable if you’re into romantic comedies (which thankfully I am), but not so much if you were expecting a deep meaningful story of a boy saving his love.
Dropped or Indifferent Shows
Before we get into this section, I just wanted to preface this by saying these series aren’t bad by any means. It’s just that they don’t suit my interests or I can’t get into the series!
Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai
To be honest, I’m still not really following the plot of Daitoshokan. From what I understand, there’s a long standing tradition of shepherds who are kind of an elite society from the school. Kakei, a bookworm has a fateful encounter with a girl where his life changes for the better. They go on a quest to bring happiness to others by taking in requests. They occasionally get messages from the mysterious shepherd and try to solve the mystery. I’ll continue to watch Daitoshokan, not because I care (or even know) about the plot, but I enjoy the characters and Kakei’s interactions with them.
Denki-Gai no Honya-san
If you’ve ever seen Working!! or Servant x Servant, that’s exactly what Denki-Gai is. It’s a slice of life story that focuses on a group of people working in a manga store. I wasn’t particularly a fan of these types of series, and the comedy didn’t really click with me. By no means is it a bad series, but I just don’t enjoy these types of series.
When I heard that this was based on a virtual girlfriend mobile game, I thought it would actually be about dating each girl. Instead, it seems like a general slice of life series where these potential girlfriends just go about their everyday lives. I guess the anime is meant to expand on the characters from the mobile game (and advertise it). I’d say Kari was better than I thought, but I still didn’t feel like watching 11 more episodes of cute girls doing cute things, so I dropped it.
Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete
I’d say Ushinawareta did a bit of a bait and switch. I was expecting some drama and a somewhat deep story based on the tragic end of the first episode. But then as the series continues, it basically changes to a slice of life as if the tragedy never happened. I’m still following the series, but with fading interest, waiting to see how they connect everything in the end. The art and animation have noticeable dips in quality throughout the series as well.
I was originally excited for this series due to the cast, but I couldn’t even manage to sit through the first episode. Having so many series on my plate this season, I decided to cut out World Trigger from the get go. The story isn’t anything special, we have some space invaders and a group of “superheroes” fight for humanity. The series just felt bland to me so I decided to not continue with it.
By no means is this a bad series, but it’s just not my sort of thing. The series starts off with a group of friends, who are about to graduate and start the next phase in their lives. Fast forward to present day, they have graduated from university and begun their professional careers in the anime industry. We follow their daily work lives and watch them live out their dream. We get to see some behind the scenes action in the anime industry. I think it can be a bit dry at times, but that’s because it focuses on real life situation, and not your usual fantasies that you’d expect in an anime.
There you have my my mid review of the fall anime season. This season shaped up a lot better than I initially thought it would. Going into the season, there were maybe only 2-3 shows that caught my interest, but now I have probably 10 shows I look forward to on a weekly basis!
How has the Fall 2014 Anime season been for you so far?