Now that the first week of the summer 2014 anime season has gone by, I can do my mini round-up post. I’ll just briefly share my first impression on a couple of series. For the most part, I don’t have much to discuss about, hence placing them in this round-up post! I’ve already posted my thoughts on Tokyo Ghoul, Sword Art Online II, and Akame ga Kill earlier this week.
Hamatora is back with the same old routine. While the previous season ended on a cliffhanger with Art shooting at Nice, the episode starts off with Nice’s “funeral”. We’re not given any insight into the events after the first season ended but everyone is taking Nice’s “death” light heartedly. I was hoping to see Hajime get a bit more of the spotlight since Nice was no longer around but that didn’t last too long. His triumphant return wasn’t unexpected considering everyone’s mood during his mourning and the lack of build up leading up to it. I’m still interested in Hajime and Nice’s relationship since she seems to have a lot of respect for him. We got some minor glimpses into their past and it seems like he played a major role in her life. I’m hoping we get more character development and explanation regarding Art within this season (although I shouldn’t get my hopes up based on the first season).
The rest of the episode was just Hamatora being Hamatora. They take on seemingly random cases and try to teach the viewers an important message. In this one, Hikaru is a people pleaser and can’t stand to turn down those who approach him. He’s been self-conscious about his looks, but people are recognizing him and desiring him now. In the end, he gets manipulated by his agent and is being exploited. After Hamatora saves him, he learns to be himself and sends the message that appearances aren’t everything in the world.
You can watch Re: Hamatora on Crunchyroll
Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun
When I first saw this series, I thought Nozaki was significantly older based on his bland and serious appearance. Regardless, I found this to be a cute series. Chiyo is an adorable character (love her voice actress) who’s fallen for an oblivious Nozaki-kun and ends up becoming an assistant rather than romantic partner. I’m not sure if their relationship will progress at all, but I found their relationship dynamic to be entertaining and don’t mind too much if they don’t. This is one of those series where you can just sit back and enjoy the ride.
You can watch Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun on Crunchyroll
Ao Haru Ride
There’s something about this series that has me captivated. Even though we’re only on the first episode, Futaba and Mabuchi have really grown on me as characters. Futaba is a girl who just wanted to fit in which resulted in her completely changing her personality. Mabuchi is your typical mysterious male lead. He’s also cruel to Futaba but is also nice at times. They both had feelings for each other in the past, but life got in the way and they drifted apart. Now that they’re reunited, they don’t just hop back into the same relationship that they had.
The entire “confession” scene conveyed emotion brilliantly. I could really feel Futaba’s relief when she heard that Mabuchi felt the same way, but once he told her things aren’t the same, I could feel how devastated she was (perfect song to go with the scene). She had so much regret for not confessing to him in the past. She also probably felt some guilt for scaring him off after swearing off boys. Mabuchi was already a shy kid back then, and the girl he liked stated that she doesn’t like boys at all (including him, in his mind). She’s finally able to go back and say what she really wanted to say, but BAM she gets shut down by Mabuchi within an instant.
I thought Ao Haru Ride was definitely beautiful to watch (art, music and characters). While it doesn’t seem THAT different from all your other shoujos, there’s something about the execution (of the first episode at least) that has captivated me.
You can watch Ao Haru Ride on Crunchyroll
Another gorgeous show from Madhouse studios! The story is about a middle school girl named Naru who feels like she’s a completely average girl. There’s no excitement in her life and she doesn’t excel at anything. She envies the girls from fairy tales since they live such exciting lives. Her insecurities are also further perpetuated by the fact that her best friend is pretty, popular, and good at almost everything. She’s finally given an opportunity to do something when she meets a new exchange student who encourages her to take up yosakoi dancing with her. I think that this is another feel good, slice of life story. While I don’t expect much in terms of the story, we’ll get to see how Naru’s character develops as she goes from a shy, timid girl, to a graceful yosakoi dancer.
You can watch Hanayamata on Crunchyroll
The premise seemed a bit weird at first, being about a young calligrapher who’s trying to make it in the professional world. He gets hot headed when his work is criticized and ends up being sent off to an island to cool off. Growing up in the busy city of Tokyo, he’s never been exposed to a more rural style of living. On this island, he’ll learn to appreciate the little things in life and clear his mind from all of the stress of the city. When watching this, I was seeing similarities between Barakamon and Gin no Saji. I think both of them have a similar premise and are good relaxing slice of life shows.
You can watch Barakamon on Crunchyroll (only available in Europe, being released later for NA by Funimation)
Those are probably the five series (that I didn’t do a separate post for) that I enjoyed the most so far. The summer season has a lot of shows that you can just sit back and enjoy without taking it too seriously. There were a lot of other shows that aired but didn’t manage to catch my interest within the first episode (Aldnoah Zero, Glasslip, Jinsei) but perhaps I’ll give them a rewatch so I’ll have more of an opinion in the future!
Well there you have it, my thoughts on the summer season thus far. Let me know what personally stands out, so far, for you this season!