AzureHakua's Blog

January 11th, 2015
After not writing anything in my blog for a while, I decided a good way to return would be a halftime review of this season.

Before I begin, I’d like to mention that I went into this season expecting it to be horrible. I made that judgment after looking at various anime charts. Was my judgment as accurate as reality? You better believe it.

To keep you up to speed, here’s a list of anime I’m watching this season along with a general schedule I follow:

Sunday:
-Witch Craft Works
-Saki: Zenkoku-hen
-Tonari no Seki-kun

Monday:
-Super Sonico the Animation

Tuesday:
-Saikin, Imouto no Yousu ga Chotto Okaishiin Da Ga.

Wednesday:
-Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren
-Onee-chan ga Kita!
-Mikakunin de Shinkoukei

Thursday:
-Mahou Sensou
-Sakura Trick
-Pupa

Friday:
-Nourin
-Wake Up, Girls!

Saturday:
-Seitokai Yakuindomo*
-Nisekoi

As you can see, I omitted shows that are continuing to air from last season (Kill la Kill, Golden Time, etc.), and I highlighted sequels in red. I won’t be giving opinions on the sequels because you’d already be watching it if you liked previous seasons. Now that all the introductory stuff is out of the way, let’s begin.

———
Anime: Witch Craft Works
Studio: J.C. Staff
Rating: Bad

Let me be honest. J.C. Staff is awful. I haven’t really liked anything they’ve made recently barring Joshiraku and Golden Time. Honestly, J.C. Staff needs to pick better material to animate, but let’s move on to Witch Craft Works (WCW). WCW is an incredibly generic show. I can’t say there is anything original about this show at all. From the premise down to the characters, everything’s generic. You can’t get more generic than a whiny, weak male protagonist and an incredibly overpowered female protagonist. Next, two opposing factions representing good and evil? Been there, done that. Don’t even get me started on the fact that the main male protagonist follows the “chosen one” trope as both factions are fighting for him. Overall, WCW brings nothing special or new to the table, and unless you can watch the show purely for the catchy ED, it’s definitely not worth watching.

———
Anime: Tonari no Seki-kun
Studio: Shin-Ei Animation
Rating: Bad-Average

Short anime will have short reviews. It’s just a bunch of comedy skits, so if you’re into this sort of thing, go for it. It’s not nearly as funny as Daily Lives of High School Boys or as interesting as Nichijou, but it’s not the worst thing I’ve seen. The OP and ED are pretty creative, but again, it’s a 5 minute show.

———
Anime: Super Sonico the Animation
Studio: White Fox
Rating: Bad

When I heard that Super Sonico was getting an anime, I was excited because I thought it’d be entertaining, funny, and chalk full of fanservice. I got my fanservice all right, but it’s missing the other two things on my wishlist. To make matters worse, the only character of the show, Super Sonico, is one of the unintelligent characters of all time. Using her stupidity to make her cute and moe was the obvious goal. Unfortunately, that formula fails to work when her ditzyness just makes her stupid. And then there’s the ridiculousness of everyone calling her “Super Sonico-san.” Don’t get me started on the so called “backstory” either. If you really want to watch this show for the fanservice, go for it, but I’m warning you, scantily clad outfits is all you’re getting.

———
Anime: Saikin, Imouto no Yousu ga Chotto Okaishiin Da Ga. (ImoCho)
Studio: project No. 9
Rating: Bad

The imouto trend is pretty popular these days thanks to OreImo. If you have a thing for imouto shows, then by all means go for this one (Or the Blu-rays because of censoring). It’s a great addition to the imouto collection. However, if you’re not watching because you like imouto shows, then I’m telling you now that it’s bad. Why? Easy. It’s an imouto show. Every show in the whole imouto genre are just copies of each other. They all have some sort of love (one-sided or not) relationship between the older brother and the little sister, and ImoCho is no exception. ImoCho does make things a bit more interesting with the whole supernatural aspect in addition to being a large step ahead in eroticism, but it’s still an imouto show, so don’t get your hopes up.

———
Anime: Onee-chan ga Kita!
Studio: C2C
Rating: Bad-Average

Switching from little sisters to big sisters, Onee-chan ga Kita revolves around comedy skits featuring Tomoya and his brocon older sister. The shorts are entertaining to a degree, but nothing to write home about. You won’t miss anything by skipping this show.

———
Anime: Mikakunin de Shinkoukei
Studio: Dogakobo
Rating: Bad-Average

When I talk to my friends about anime this season, Mikakunin is always one of the best shows of the season in their opinions; I fail to see why. A major premise of the show is Kobeni’s engagement to Hakuya. Going along with this already cliché premise, throw in “I saved your life when you were young, but you don’t remember,” and “I’m moving in with you,” and you have a generic romcom that’s really old news. Generally, people rave on and on about the cute characters, but characters alone aren’t enough to buy me, sorry. As for the plot, the story attempts to advance by bringing in supernatural elements and flashbacks of the past, but after all that’s said and done, nothing ultimately changes, and it’s right back where it started.

———
Anime: Mahou Sensou
Studio: Madhouse
Rating: Bad

Oh boy. I’m not sure where to begin with this show. Mahou Sensou is filled to the brim with information. If you fail to keep your attention for 30 seconds, you may just end up missing 3 new plot devices or twists. Overall, the show’s major premise is incredibly simple; however, it’s so clouded by all the surrounding terminology and subplots that it’s easy to lose focus. The overload of information is even worse when you top it off with Mahou Sensou’s atrocious pacing. The changes between the slice-of-life segments, the backstory segments, the terminology segments, and the action segments are incredibly drastic and stand out to a fault. Transitions are supposed to feel smooth, but Mahou Sensou’s are jarring and painful. I could go on and on about this show, and I will in a future article, but I’ll cut it short here. I’m only scratching the surface of Mahou Sensou here; there’s a lot more to talk about given this show’s complexity.

———
Anime: Sakura Trick
Studio: Studio Deen
Rating: Average-Good

Now here’s a show I think is incredibly overrated, but don’t personally have many faults with. Some people are over-analyzing this show way to much though (don’t get them started on the white letterboxing). It’s honestly a really simple show. It’s a slice-of-life that heavily focuses on yuri. Now I don’t mean something like Yuru Yuri or Hidamari Sketch; Sakura Trick is incredibly direct about the yuri. Most episodes so far have been divided into 2-3 segments, and so far each segment has ended with a passionate kiss between two girls, usually Haruka and Yuu, the two main characters. One of my biggest complaints about the show is how much less focus the other four characters have. A slice-of-life is more entertaining with their larger casts. Yuri isn’t currently a fetish of mine, so Sakura Trick is sometimes a bit iffy at times, but when I put the yuri aside, the pure slice-of-life aspects of the show are entertaining enough for me to keep following the show. It doesn’t stand out when compared to other slife-of-life anime, but it’s the full-on yuri that keeps Sakura Trick unique. If I were looking for a yuri slice-of-life, I’d want it to be like Sakura Trick.

———
Anime: Pupa
Studio: Studio Deen
Rating: Bad

For a show that was delayed two seasons straight, you’d think that pupa would be amazing given all the extra time they had. You can only imagine my disappointment when I learned that Pupa would be a short. Unfortunately, it’s even worse than that. It’s a sad attempt at horror that uses large amounts of flesh and gore to scare its viewers. Every time I watch an episode, I wonder if Pupa would have been good if it were fully fleshed out (pun totally intended) in twenty minute episodes.

———
Anime: Nourin
Studio: Silver Link
Rating: Bad-Average

I initially started watching Nouring expecting some sort of romcom with a dramatic backstory on the idol. Boy, was I mistaken. Unlike the other shows, I’ve only seen 3 episodes of Nourin, so my judgment might be a little bit off, but Nourin is nothing like a romcom drama and more like a “wtf is going on” type of show. While watching, I often wonder what in the world is going on in Nourin. It reminds me of NouCome from last season in terms of craziness. It’s not a good show by any means, but it’s at least somewhat entertaining compared to a lot of the other shows this season. Ultimately, it’s not worth watching, but if you’re looking for something stupid to watch, try Nourin along with ImoCho this season. They’re both bad but stupidly entertaining to a degree.

———
Anime: Wake Up, Girls!
Studio: Ordet / Tatsunoko Productions
Rating: Average

Along with imoutos and Nobunagas, idol shows have been on the rise in popularity. The iDOLM@STER, Love Live!, AKB0048, Aikatsu, and even Nourin are some recent examples. Unlike all the other idol shows I’ve mentioned, however, Wake Up, Girls! (WUG) is leaps ahead in terms of realism. Comparatively, the other idol shows are more focused on bright colors, flashy songs, and cute characters than realism. Now I’m not saying that WUG doesn’t have these aspects (because it does), I’m saying that WUG isn’t using these as its central focus. For example, the idols in WUG all have incredibly boring hair colors when you compare them to the other idol shows. Next, idol shows and drama go hand in hand. What would a story about rising stars be without a little bit of drama? The drama in WUG feels a lot less forced than in other idol shows; it’s not perfect, but it feels a bit more natural. While I’ve noted several times that it’s more realistic, I like to note that I’m saying it’s more realistic not just realistic. There are certainly aspects of WUG that are unrealistic like the I-ONE Club dictatorship. There are a lot more things about WUG I’d love to talk about, but I’ve already said a lot here. The final verdict is that WUG takes an interesting spin on the idol genre and is something I’d recommend to give a try if you like idols. Otherwise, WUG is just another idol/drama show, and you won’t miss anything by skipping out on it.

———
Anime: Nisekoi
Studio: Shaft
Rating: Bad

It’s always exciting to watch Shaft shows because, well, it’s Shaft! Their animation never fails to impress, and after watching shows like Madoka and Monogatari, I thought a romcom from Shaft would be a nice change of pace. Despite how much I love Shaft though, their efforts weren’t enough for Nisekoi. Looking at the source, I found that Nisekoi is a manga serialized in Shounen Jump. It’s an odd place to be in for sure, and it doesn’t help that a romcom is there. I won’t spoil the manga, but much like other Shounen Jump material, Nisekoi has a tendency to just introduce new characters when they hit a wall. The anime follows the manga quite closely, so expect it coming. Based on the plot so far, we aren’t getting anything special out of Nisekoi. Two people pretending to date has become pretty popular recently, so the main premise isn’t anything new, but when you dig a little deeper into Nisekoi, you’ll find the heart of another premise: a childhood promise the main character made but can’t remember. Sound familiar? Shaft does a great job as always, but generic shows are still going to be generic.

———

That concludes my mid-season review. I hope you enjoyed reading my opinions. I’m seriously considering more in-depth analyses on Wake Up, Girls! and maybe Sakura Trick, but I’m not sure yet. Mahou Sensou is a definite though. I also have a small list of shows I haven’t started but am on the fence about:

-Sekai Seifuku ~Bouryaku no Zvezda~
-Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha
-Wizzard Barristers ~ Benmashi Cecil
-Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta

If you can give me some decent reasons to watch any of these, I’ll be sure to give it a try. See you in the next post.
Posted by AzureHakua | Jan 11, 2015 11:29 PM | 0 comments
Originally posted as a comment to a friend and written while all shows were approximately 6 episodes in.

I caught up in pretty much everything I wanted to watch/try this season, so if I have time tomorrow I'll probably spend it watching stuff on my on-hold list, playing visual novels, or playing PSVita games. I hope you don't mind me dumping walls of text, but I'm bored, so why not?

I'm actually really enjoying Golden Time. It's an honest romance with drama, the good kind. One of my only regrets in catching up in it is that almost every other episode ends in a crazy cliffhanger. I think it's quite well played though. The happy and bright characters contrasting with the drama really reminds me of Toradora. Can't say if that's the truth or not though as the fact that this is written by Toradora's author is ever present in m mind.

As far as other airing shows are concerned, I can't say anything else is a must-watch save Kill la Kill and Monogatari S2.

Ars Nova is a somewhat interesting Code Geass-esque war-game anime featuring battleships, but that's as far as it goes. And even if you wanted to watch the show for the strategic battle of the wits, the show has turned into an emotional story asking what it means to be human. The entire show is CG, and not just some of it, all of it; it only detracts from the series. The girls are cute, but you could say that about any show. That said, the music is quite fantastic. I am a sucker for Engrish and the OP has a lot of it. Worth watching? Not really.

Galilei Donna is quite the typical quest anime. Three girls are searching for Galileo's 6 sketches to find Galileo's treasure. The show is incredibly straight forward to the point that it bores you. I really like the OP, but the show doesn't have very much going for it. Throw in some pre-teen tantrums and some shooting scenes attempting to appeal to morality, and you have Galilei Donna. I'm not saying that these types of themes are bad, but they just don't seem to work in this show when half of the cast is incredibly silly. Worth watching? Not really. It's pretty straight forward and nothing will surprise you, which is important in a plot-driven anime such as this one.

Kyoukai no Kanata. We've discussed this before, but I'll say it again: If only all the episodes were episode 6. Other than that, I can't say the show is too interesting. KnK's setting kept my interested for the first few episodes, but now that I'm episode 9, I can't say I care too much. That said, the show isn't awful, but it's nothing more than mediocre.

Now that I'm caught up in Little Busters! Refrain, I can now tell you what I think. First of all, this show is no Clannad, but it's definitely Key. I'd like to say that if you don't like the characters in LB! then there's probably no reason to watch it; that's just the way Key seems to work. Praying that LB will be the cute kind of romance that Key produces is just a dream. LB is less focused on romance and more focused on friendship. Similarly to Key's other works, the protagonist seeks to save several characters from their undesirable position, but the magic behind LB! is too much for me to handle. Clannad and Kanon had magic too, but it was a very small amount. Key's magic in LB seems incredibly high in my opinion. Lastly, the character relationships in LB don't feel right. Despite being friends, they don't feel like friends. I don't really know how to explain this, but after watching both Golden Time and LB together in one day, the friendships formed in Golden Time are just much more real. Maybe it's LB's magic that's messing with me, but that's just how I feel. That said, I'm sure Key has a big twist that will try to make me cry, but I don't think I'll be able to with JC Staff as the studio. It should have been KyoAni like always, but there's no point in wishing that now. Here's hoping that KyoAni will pick up Rewrite.

Machine Doll is incredibly shounen. The ED is one of the most hyper and enjoyable EDs I've heard in a long time and is one of the anime's only redeeming qualities. If I were to compare Machine Doll to another anime, it'd have to be Index. Essentially: The main protag is pretty darn strong, and when he says a pretty lady in trouble he just can't help but throw his life on the line to save her. He gets beaten up a lot in the process, but is triumphant at the very end. It's a nice change of pace for me and somewhat pleasant as you know I was a huge Index fan. Can't say I'd recommend it, but the ED is something I'd give a listen.

Nagi no Aukara. Where to start with this show? Is saying that it's made by PA Works enough? Continuing its trend from Hanasaku Iroha and Tari Tari, enter Nagi no Asukara, another strange romance story chalk full of drama. Unlike its predecessors, Nagi no Asukara does not take place in a normal setting but rather in a near-fantastical setting featuring people who an live in both the sea and on land. The sea-people clash with normal humans who cannot enter the water world. Can you guess what sort of drama awaits? The sea-people, who can live on land as well as in the ocean, start having relationships with the normal humans. And let the drama ensue with themes of racism and religion lurking in every corner. I'll recommend it if you love drama, but even then, it's drama that no one can relate to as sea-people are fictional. I can't say I love the show though as the characters just agitate me a lot. I'm sure there are good dramas in a fictional setting, but Nagi no Asukara just isn't one of them for me.

Non Non Biyori is the obligatory slice of life this season. A lot of the recent slice of life's have been pretty bland and normal, but I'm actually warming up to this one. I was incredibly skeptical after the first episode, but it gets better. The comedic scenes are actually funny, which is change from recent slices. It's an honest slice of life that isn't trying to shove morals down your throat by the end of the episode, and it's just relaxing to watch. It might be the stress of school or the badness of the rest of the season, but here's something I find mildly enjoyable. It's no Lucky Star and it's no K-ON, and the comedy is not nearly as frequent or funny as Minami-ke and Ichigo Mashimaro, but it's pleasant enough for me. Compliments aside, the show isn't a 9 or 10, but it can certainly be a solid 7 or 8 in enjoyment at this rate.

Ore no Nounai etc. is the obligatory long-ass titled anime of the season. It's only 10 episodes, but it makes up for that by being incredibly hyper. If you're looking for something exciting that this may work for you. It's reminiscent of Kore wa Zombie desu ka? if you need a good comparison. It's a mediocre show at best with some frustrating characters, but it'll work if you want something incredibly silly to watch with friends.

Outbreak Company. This is the show with a funny/good OST. I won't recommend this to you on that basis alone though. Apart from the OST, it's honestly nothing special. It reminds me Hayate, but it's not funny, and Hataraku Maou-sama, but not the serious fighting parts. It's definitely a pace-changer though as there's nothing else like it this season. It's just something silly with light fanservice and moe thrown together.

And the last thing I'm watching is Samurai Flamenco which we picked up the other day. What can I say about this show? I don't really like it, I guess. I'll see it through though, so we can watch it together when I can't handle it alone.

As always, everything it pretty shitty, but I just love watching airing shows, so I won't stop doing it. I'm feeling slightly depressed after thinking about how everything I watch it shitty, but I love anime so I'm not gonna let that bring me down. Maybe I'll post a nice wall of text about what I think about the next season as well, but we'll see. The only thing I care about next season is Saki Season 3, so we'll see how that turns out.

Edit: Pardon any grammatical errors. As this was originally a comment, I didn't have any reason to thoroughly proofread this post.
Posted by AzureHakua | Jan 11, 2015 11:24 PM | 0 comments