I haven’t been blogging as much lately, but I figured it’s about time for my winter 2015 mid season impressions! I’m surprised that I’m actually watching fewer series than I originally intended, but that means I’ve picked out series that I’m enjoying more.
Top Winter 2015 Anime Picks
Aldnoah Zero 2
While I didn’t follow the first season too closely, I have to say that the second season has caught my attention. After the cliffhanger at the end of season one, there were so many questions that arose. After a minor let down of everyone seemingly escaping unscathed, the story has really begun to progress.
Slaine in particular has shown a lot of growth this season. At the start, he came off as this naive boy who followed orders from his higher ups which resulted in a lot of stuff that he regrets (Asseylum being shot). It seemed like he was going to be the same old Slaine, but he changed after that day. Carefully plotting his revenge, Slaine became a leader. He’s the one calling the shots now, and seems to have everything going according to his plan, which has yet to be revealed.
Inaho is still Inaho, he doesn’t show much emotion, and he always saves the day. After Slaine’s development though, it seems like the two are on a more even playing field for when they eventually clash. I’m definitely enjoying this second half a lot more, and anticipate it every week.
Durarara 2nd Season
I’m still not too sure how I feel about this season. It’s basically the same old Durarara. The story telling is pretty confusing, and won’t completely make sense until the end. They’ve introduced a ton of new characters and the beauty of Durarara, is that they all get a decent amount of screen time, and are relevant to the story.
I think I prefer marathoning a batch of Durarara episodes as opposed to following it on a weekly basis. I find that I tend to forget the events of the previous episodes, which is pretty important considering Durarara’s way of storytelling. I’m still really enjoying the series, but you definitely need to see the prequels before hopping into it!
Tokyo Ghoul Season 2
The second half of Tokyo Ghoul is supposed to be where Kaneki really develops as a character. I was a bit disappointed when I heard it was going to be an “anime original” but in reality, it wasn’t as original as anticipated. They still cover the main events of the series. What they did do was rewrite some of the details though, meshing arcs together so that they can touch on the main parts of the story, in the least amount of time possible.
I’m probably biased when it comes to this, since Tokyo Ghoul has become my favorite manga, but I still find myself enjoying the series. I have to agree with most people, that it really does pale in comparison to the source material. Having seen both though, I find that the anime supplements the manga. We had a lot less focus on the Aogiri characters, so it was nice to see them get a bit more screen time, and learn a bit more about the events that took place behind the scenes. Knowing the details of the original story really helped fill in some gaps for me, making the second season more enjoyable to watch. I also think the overall direction of the episodes has gone up. The second season has a lot of amazing original soundtracks combined with some very powerful moments.
A very mysterious series that has so many questions left to be answered. They throw us right into the world of Death Parade by initiating these “Death Games” where we learn about their judgement process. My initial concern was that the series would turn out to be episodic, and focus too much on the game aspect. I’m glad that I was wrong though! The last few episodes have really begun expanding on the mysteries of their world as well as other cast members. While we still get a game every few episodes, they manage to keep it fresh and not too repetitive. Definitely a nice surprise of the season for me, and let’s not forget about that opening!
Enjoyable Winter Shows
The entire series is just plain silly, which can be a big turn off for many. Personally, I think it’s a bit too high on the goofy scale, but it does have its moments. We always see the students practicing their assassination techniques, but ultimately, they never come close to killing their target. The main appeal of this show for me has to be the more heartfelt moments. Here we have a class of students that society has given up on. They’re given the short end of the stick and are sentenced to a life of misery. Korosensei reaches out to these students, truly wanting to turn them around and help them succeed.
As it currently stands, we really don’t know too much about the protagonist, Nagisa. We know his specific role in the assassination plans, and a bit about his personality from his narration, but we know nothing of his past. I’m sure they’ll touch on this later on, but I guess that’s my only real complaint about the series at the moment.
Kamisama Kiss 2
A lot of the times with sequels, I’m worried that they won’t live up to my expectations of the original season (looking at you Psycho-Pass). From what I can recall though, Kamisama Kiss feels exactly like the first season. Overall, it’s light hearted with some hints of Nanami and Tomoe’s growing romance. The romance is still developing, but it’s nice to see some actual progression throughout the series. I’d say this is my Shoujo pick of the season, even if I’m not a huge fan of the genre.
I feel like I’m enjoying this series more than I should. We have cute innocent girls preparing and eating food. Even if it’s a simple series, I just find it heartwarming to see these kids so passionate about food. I’d recommend Koufuku Graffiti to anyone who enjoys slice of life, since it really is just a slice of life.
I picked this series up on a whim because it was being produced by Wit studio (Attack on Titan’s studio). I honestly have no idea what the heck is going on in this series, but it does have some pretty colors and a catchy opening, which are the only reasons why I’m still watching.
Another light hearted series that is fully aware of all of the tropes that are commonly associated with your high school based anime. SaeKano can feel a little slow at times, but it does have its moments. If you’re into some meta humor, or a series that likes to poke fun at convention, then give SaeKano a shot!
The Ecchi Highschool Action Series
Rather than write a blurb for each series, I figured I’d just lump them all together and give my brief thoughts on them. Out of the five generic ecchi series I’m watching this season, I think my favorite would have to be Shinmai Maou no Testament, World Break, Absolute Duo, Isuca, and Unlimited Fafnir (in that order).
Shinmai Maou is a pretty shameless series. They know that they’re all about that fan service, and they don’t even try to tiptoe around it, which I respect. The series can also be pretty serious at times when it wants, even going a full episode without an ecchi scene in it!
World Break actually has some cool mythology stuff behind it. I actually really like how they focused on the characters in the earlier episodes, and they gave them a story so that they weren’t just a generic harem member (which they still are, but that’s not the point!). I think the comedy is actually pretty over the top as well, which makes it more enjoyable as they don’t take themselves too seriously.
Absolute Duo has some spotty animation I feel, which distracts a bit from the viewing experience. I’m not a huge fan of the character dynamics as well, with Tooru being hitched with Julie. Call me a hater, but I really liked the other personalities of the other girls better.
Isuca actually surprised me with how dark it can be. There’s definitely a lot of blood shed and gore amidst all of the harem antics. My main reason for disliking the show would have to be the main character. He just feels so plain, and doesn’t really stand out (character design and personality) from any other character.
Unlimited Fafnir is at the bottom of my list between these 5 series. I guess I’m just not feeling it, especially when Cross Ange has a pretty similar premise to it, and is incredibly entertaining. I think my main reason for disliking the series, is that it feels like it takes itself too seriously at times. There’s a ton of fighting between the humans and the dragons which is great if you’re looking for action.
Dropped Winter Series
I tried watching two episodes but I just couldn’t get into it. If you’re a fan of the card game or were into the series before it aired, then you’re probably having a much different experience. I just had no idea what the heck was going on, and couldn’t be bothered to pay closer attention to the series. I wouldn’t call it bad by any means, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea.
Well there you have my mid season impressions of this Winter anime season. Going into the season, I was incredibly hyped up, but I think I ended up feeling a bit let down by the season. Aldnoah Zero, and Death Parade were certainly surprises, but I think I was expecting more from Tokyo Ghoul and Durarara. Durarara is still getting started though, but it’s a bit of a slow start.
Either way, I hope you enjoyed hearing my thoughts on the season so far, and I’m curious how your winter season is going so far!