winter 2015 anime

So I didn’t write a post about anime for this current season, probably too busy with being out of town for the holidays or Monster Hunter or something. I figure a midseason review is as good a time as any. I can discuss shows I’ve dropped, too.

Durarara!! x2 episode 5

I can definitely say that, due to my current obsession with Monster Hunter, I did drop more shows than I expected to, probably because I just spend less time on anime so things that I might cruise through because I have time to kill get abandoned if they aren’t captivating enough.

First, these are the shows I’m still watching from Fall 2014:

Akatsuki no Yona
Log Horizon 2
Nanatsu no Taizai
Parasyte ~the maxim~
Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso

Yona is a show I knew nothing about going in and am totally absorbed in now. It’s not breaking new ground or especially flashy or anything, but, as might be expected, presentation and quality is paramount. The pacing is a bit slower, but that allows character development to be really fleshed out. The voice acting is spot-on, and the way the story is presented definitely outdoes similar shows by leaps and bounds. I’m very glad I picked up the show, and look forward to watching the new episode every week.

Log Horizon 2 is more me finishing the series in honor of how amazing the first season was, since this second season is kind of dragging on. I think they introduced a lot of interesting ideas and concepts this season, but they don’t really spend any time on any of it, and now the story is mostly following the kiddie group, who are 8x less interesting than the main cast of the Log Horizon guild. The latest episode was pretty good, though, so hopefully it’ll find its stride soon. This could possibly just be a sign of Touno Mamare running out of ideas for this series, though… who knows :X the LH anime is definitely way further than MaoYuu got. However, Ishida Akira’s MaoYuu manga is pretty far and still interesting (to me). Eh, we’ll see.

The Nanatsu no Taizai adaptation came out a lot better than I was expecting, and it’s still just fun to watch, so I have no problem following it. Oddly, none of the usual suspects picked it up for simulcast, and neither did any of the “bigger” fansub groups, so I’m relying more on my knowledge of the manga to carry me through the oftentimes shoddy translation work :X My biggest problem with the anime is that all the knight armor is rainbow colored, instead of being creatively metallic colored. The pinks and blues and greens just feel really lazy and definitely clash with the aesthetic.

Parasyte is a character study crossed with a horror story, which makes it extremely hard to stop watching, not that I’d want to. It doesn’t follow traditional story archetypes, at least not ones that I experience frequently, so it’s really interesting to find out where the next episode leads.

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso 16

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso is my new Chihayafuru, a character heavy drama that focuses on a topic that isn’t too commonly seen in popular media and terrifically enhanced in anime form. It almost makes me wonder how good the manga was to have gotten an adaptation without a way for the reader to experience the music that plays a heavy part in each and every scene. I’ve loved every episode and can’t wait to come home on Thursdays to watch the next one.

Phew…

OK, finally on to stuff for this season.

Absolute Duo – One of multiple “high school for kids with special powers” series this season, it’s also the one that doesn’t feel like it’s trying too hard. The directing and animation quality leave a lot to be desired, but my actually wanting to watch it compared to 2 others that I dropped goes a long way.

Shinmai Maou no Keiyakusha – Stupid Engrish title is stupid. I’m actually behind a couple episodes on the show, but it’s quite decent, as well as being unabashedly sexual in content. Absolute Duo doesn’t have the technical chops to pull off the fanservice, and Fafnir and World Break go the traditional “MC is totally dense and picks up all the highly attractive wiminz lol” routes, which conversely makes them really boring, so it’s actually kind of refreshing to see this series just be so direct about it. “We want to show you naked girls in compromising positions in ecstasy.” It won’t top Highschool DxD, which has another season coming in the spring, but it gets points for giving no fucks. I definitely want to say that the character designs are pretty great, too. I’m particularly interested in how the story goes after the anime passes where the current manga scanlations have gotten, because the story is legitimately interesting too, if a bit cliché.

KanColle – First Rage of Bahamut, now KanColle, these games with no actual story are somehow getting actual good anime adaptations. I went in not expecting too much, but was hit by the feels in episode 3 and am pretty taken with the ensemble cast of characters. It’s also fun to hear good voice actors voicing multiple prominent characters in the same show; it really shows off their depth in a way that is sometimes hard to see when you need to compare 2 different shows.

Assassination Classroom – Love the manga, and the anime adaptation is doing great justice to it. The animation is quite meticulous, so I’m looking forward to continued solid entertainment from this show.

Aldnoah.Zero 2 – I highly enjoyed the first season, plus the scandal from the season finale cliffhanger required me to follow the continuation. Not too sure what I think of this season so far, though I highly approve of Slaine being overtly an asshole so I feel more justified in hating his guts.

Dog Days 3 – The first 2 seasons were surprisingly classy, for what this show was doing and how bad it could have gotten. Season 3 mostly continues this trend, though it does seem to have more random unnecessary fanservice scenes than before. I liked that this season started with a plot arc, but now it’s back to random shenanigans, so I’m not sure whether it’ll get into the deeper stuff or not.

IDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls – Started out kind of slow and uninteresting, but I decided to stick it out and it’s gotten better. It was way too obvious at the start that Cinderella Girls was “all the other anime personality tropes we didn’t cover in the original cast,” plus there’s been no allusion to those girls either, which is what contributed to my ennui with this show, but now that they’re doing actual idol stuff, it’s been more interesting to watch. Also, Shibuya Rin best girl.

Shibuya Rin in GranBlue Fantasy

Maria the Virgin Witch – I pegged this as something kind of like Slayers and would have been happy to watch the wacky adventures of a traditional RPG party go around wreaking havoc. What I got was something a lot more intricate, with a much deeper message to convey, and the chops to do it right. Sure, there are a lot of sex jokes, but they’re actually funny and contextually appropriate instead of just a schtick. Unfortunately, with such a jam-packed season of notables, this show won’t stand out quite as much, but it’s definitely a winner.

Durarara!! x2 Shou – The long-awaited continuation to the wacky, ridiculous, amazing ride that was the original Durarara!! anime! This is the first of 3 (!) cours, and it’s basically picking up exactly where the original left off, with crazy people doing crazy things in Ikebukuro. ‘Nuff said.

Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata – I thought this was one of those generic light novel high school harem affairs. I was going to give it a couple episodes and probably drop it. What I got was an episode 0 full of pandering, but also full of meta-aware conversations and jokes. What I got in the actual series was a show with minimal sexual fanservice, but still full of self-deprecating humor and droll analysis of the otaku industry. I think this is my surprise of the season, and I certainly welcome surprisingly good shows.

Alrighty, I believe that’s all of what I’m watching :X

Real quick, here are the shows I dropped: Unlimited Fafnir, Seiken Tsukai no World Break, Koufuku Graffiti, Yuri Kuma Arashi (I technically didn’t even watch a single episode, but I still consider it dropped since I fully planned on watching it and, after reading a couple reviews, just decided it didn’t seem nearly as interesting as people were making it out to be), Isuca.

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