Well, we’ve arrived at the end of the season for our beloved Summer anime. As a way to send the season off, I’m going to do a brief wrap up on my thoughts on this past season of anime. I recently did a separate write up for Tokyo Ghoul which also aired this summer season.
I feel like I could give Hamatora it’s own post since there’s a lot I want to say about it. But, I’d probably just be rambling so I’ll try to keep this as short as possible. They’ve finally answered practically every question that had been raised throughout the series. We know what minimums are, how they’re created, what happened to Art, how Nice survived, and everything should be fine and dandy. As much as I like happy endings, I couldn’t help but think everything was just too convenient. Saikyou just offs herself out of boredom, everybody who “died” is still alive (except for the Freemum leader and Gasquet). Heck, no one has any animosity towards Art for all the crap he’s pulled!?
I think overall, Hamatora has always tried to send a moral/life lesson to it’s viewers. It seems like they had two seasons to build up to the big message of not letting your ego get the best of you. Nice never did, as he always accepted those around him, no matter what. I guess the minimums being the result of people’s egos also explains why their minimums were so unique and specific. To be honest, it felt a bit like they were making up new minimums as they went along, which made it a bit hard to take seriously (cooking minimum, singing minimum, etc).
Hamatora as a whole definitely had some potential for me. It wasn’t a bad series, but it didn’t necessarily blow my mind either. The series was enjoyable to watch, thanks to some nice art (see what I did there???), animation, music, and vibrant colors. The story was actually pretty decent as well when they actually chose to advance it. The majority of the first season felt like filler to me, completing random missions that have the slightest tie back to Moral. The second season definitely did step it up by having a main plot that nearly episode built towards (minus the one or two fillerish episodes).
I felt that Aldnoah definitely got better as the series progressed. To me, the characters of Aldnoah never really stood out. Inaho was nearly as emotionless as Tatsuya, and the rest of the characters (aside from Seylum) felt insignificant. What kept me going though was how captivating the story was. As expected from a series with Urobuchi’s influence, there were twists and turns at every corner, holding on to my attention.
The one character that I enjoyed watching progress this series was Slaine. His world was turned upside down with the “death” of the princess, finding out the truth behind the Martians, being betrayed by Inaho, and then losing the princess once he’s found her. He’s hit his breaking point at the end, and seems to have lost all hope in the world. I’m looking forward to the second season since it may focus more on his perspective (with Aseylum and Inaho possibly dead).
On top of seeing Slaine’s descent into darkness, I’m looking forward to seeing more from the Martian perspective. During Zaazbaum’s fight with Inaho, his passion for his cause caught my interest. I always thought he was just evil for the sake of being evil, but this makes me think otherwise. He’s suffered because of the humans, which is what is fueling his revenge.
In the end, things turned out exactly as predicted. There was some drama, but things were often resolved rather quickly. While it was predictable, I thought Hanayamata was still very enjoyable. There’s always something heartwarming about seeing a group of friends create a special bond between them. Hana and Yosakoi completely transformed all of their lives and I enjoyed watching every bit of it!
Ao Haru Ride
Kou has finally accepted that there are people around him who care for him. He dealt with all of his emotions on his own when his mother passed, which completely wore him down mentally. The world probably seemed to be at a still while he lost the will to care. But now that he’s reconciling with his family and friends, he can look forward to the future.
The episode ends off with a new semester in the horizon. They’ve finally become a complete group of friends and things are looking peaceful for them all. Everyone has managed to overcome their insecurities and are now able to begin moving forward. I’m a bit disappointed that we didn’t get any resolution between Kou and Futaba, but I guess that wasn’t the main focus of this season. I can also appreciate that Futaba is trying to help Kou open up before trying to win his heart.
On a side note, Tanaka-sensei may have stepped over a few lines with Murao. Even if he was joking, I couldn’t help but find it a little weird for him to be playing around like that. Heck, if something like that went on in the west, he’d probably wouldn’t be a teacher for very long!
I have to admit, this second season of Free! turned out a lot better than I expected. We got a lot of character growth from everyone, even Haru. Rin really impressed me with how far he’s come relative to the first season. He was a sore loser, but now he’s matured and has a completely new perspective on life. Haru has finally found a passion for his future. Stepping into the pool back in Australia, made him realize how big the world is, and how he’s only scratched the surface by competing in Japan. He now has an end goal to strive towards.
My only complaint about this episode, would be that the ending felt rushed to me. I would have liked to see more of an epilogue, but I guess we can use our imagination to fill in the gaps leading up to the finale. It would have been nice to see what Sousuke and some of the other characters have in store for their future. Either way, this second season really turned up the emotional aspect. I could really relate to some of the situations (not the manly swimming aspect) that these characters were going through and it really resonated with me.
Oh boy, where do I even begin with this. I could go off on a long rant, but I’ll keep this as brief as possible. There had been a lot of interesting discussions on symbolism and other theories regarding Glasslip. I guess it depends on how you perceive the series. If you’re the type who loves to read between the lines and fill in the blanks with your imagination, Glasslip will probably be better received. On the other hand, if you’re expecting a typical romance or story about kids growing up, then you’ll probably want to look elsewhere.
As I mentioned during the mid season review, Glasslip is about a group of friends who don’t seem like friends at all. They barely interact with each other, and everyone has their own selfish agenda to tend to. The romance for the series felt incredibly forced as well. Touko falls in love with Kakeru solely because of their “ability to see into the future”. In the end though, we learn that these actually aren’t fragments of the future, and Kakeru couldn’t see them while Touko could (as the piano was playing). This leads me to question whether or not Kakeru actually saw these fragments, or was he just a master of manipulation? I guess that would explain why everyone hated his guts, but Touko was the only one who couldn’t see why!
The characters in general didn’t feel real at all to me. Their interactions, and dialogue felt incredibly awkward. By awkward, I mean, I don’t think anyone in their right mind would act that way, or say some of the stuff that comes out of their mouths. On the bright side, the art was pretty, and the music was pretty decent for the show. There’s probably some merit to the show if you inspect it at a deeper level. Personally for me, I don’t usually go into in-depth analysis for series, so I prefer to look at Glasslip as a comedy. At which point, I actually found myself enjoying some moments since it gave me a few good laughs.
Probably the series I’m going to be missing the most (followed by Nozaki-kun). Handa Seishuu was a star calligrapher. Being in his early 20’s, he had already been in multiple exhibits and received great praise. It wasn’t until the director knocked him down a peg, by criticizing his work, that he finally began to reevaluate himself. He had a massive ego, being in a high pressure environment, and being considered the cream of the crop. He never had the chance to mature as a person or an artist before interacting with all of these other artists. That fateful outburst led to the opportunity of a lifetime which allowed him to gain a new perspective on life.
Looking at his life in Tokyo, you can’t really blame Sensei for being bratty. Practically everyone babied him and continuously built up his ego. He was one of the youngest Calligraphers in the industry and didn’t have any respect for his elders. Once being sent to the island, he ended up being the mature one of the bunch. Having to take care of a bunch of kids taught him a great deal about patience. He never really considered the feelings of others prior to meeting Naru as well. By the end of the series, he became completely co-dependent on the islanders, and the same for them.
While a defeat may have hurt him, he now understands that he still has room to grow and improve. Living on the island, with Naru and the others, has taught him to not let these little things get to him, and just enjoy the present.
Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-Kun
I thought I would be upset that there was no real romantic development this entire season, but hey, it is what it is. I didn’t expect anything to happen in this final episode, but was pleasantly surprised with Sakura and Nozaki’s first encounter. We never really saw why she had such an obsession with him. I guess you could call it first at love sight
While she may never have gotten Nozaki to notice her, it was heartwarming to see her being happy by just spending time with him. Even if it’s one sided, she’s still able to have fun and be with Nozaki.
I actually forgot to mention this series during the mid season review. Rokujouma felt a little bit bland to me. The comedy was hit or miss at times, and I didn’t care too much for the actual story (not really sure what happened at the end still). What I really enjoyed about the series was the characters. All of the girls slowly warm up to you over the season. In the end, they’re basically one big happy family which is how a harem should truly end. While I didn’t really find the series interesting, I did enjoy the finale. That’s probably just my personal preference, but I loved the slice of life without all of the drama.
Well, that wraps up the summer 2014 anime season. The fall season is just around the corner so at least there’s that to look forward to. Feel free to chime in on your thoughts on this past season as well, I’d love to hear your thoughts!