Anime Autumn Season 2014 – Initial Impressions
I can’t quite remember the train of thought that led me to thinking it was a good idea to check out every new anime show that came out for this autumn season. At least so long as it wasn’t a continuation of a show I had not watched before. And heck, there were even some shows I blasted through the previous seasons of just to be able to follow along for the new ones.
Yet now it’s done, and I’m going to give some brief impressions on what I’ve seen. I believe I’ve caught everything. Four shows I’ve purposefully left out for not seeing earlier seasons: Aikatsu, Mushishi Zoku Shou, Selector Spread WIXOSS and Yowamushi Pedal: Grande Road. As for everything else, I think I’ve got it all. I could be wrong.
I was wondering a bit about how to organise this list. Should I divide it into categories of shows I’ve already decided to drop, shows I definitely like, shows that show promise, etc? Or should I just do it alphabetically? In the end I decided on the latter option, but if people actually comment and would like categories, I might go in and reorganise.
I ended up deciding to put a [Dropped] besides shows I don’t intend to watch any more of, just so I have quick reference for the end-of-season post in a few months.
Update: Added entry for Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru and added a paragraph to Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai. That should be the final update for my early impressions list.
But before I get started, I want to issue a warning about one show:
Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo [Dropped]
Features a brutal rape scene, which is then made light of. Stay away from it. I could not be more serious.
There, with that done, I can start the list proper.
Ai Tenchi Muyo! [Dropped]
A name I knew I’d heard before. Apparently a popular harem show from the 90s, now revived in short 3-min episodes. A whole minute of the first episode was a girl just sitting on the main guy’s face. Not my style of thing, will not keep watching.
Akatsuki no Yona
Action show set sometime in China’s imperial history. Main character is the current princess at the time. Because of stuff that occurs in episode 1, I won’t really say more about the plot. Decent enough set-up, but not immediately grabbing. Unsure about this one, so will give it another episode or two before I make my call.
Update: Having been able to catch episode 2 before I put this up, I can say I feel more confident about the prospects of this show. This could be one to keep an eye on.
Amagi Brilliant Park
I must admit I didn’t actually read up on this show beyond the name and noticing “slapstick drama” in the description. So expected some sort of light-hearted thing about an amusement park. It’s not quite that. First off the show literally starts with a guy being asked out on a date at gunpoint by a woman who seems to have no emotion in her voice. And then it turns out the park is actually in very poor order, and they want the guy’s help to fix it up. After two episodes, I will admit I am somewhat intrigued at finding out where they’re going with it.
Bonjour♪ Koiaji Pâtisserie
Strange little 3-min school drama about people going to a confectionery academy. Seems alright. It’s just about 5 mins or so if you include intro and outro, so it wouldn’t exactly take a lot out of your schedule. Main character is cute.
Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai
Booknerd who is the sole member of his school’s literature club has occasional premonitions of the near-future. One of them gets him in contact with a super-shy introvert girl, which coincidentally leads into a misunderstanding after they trip and fall. The rest of the school thinks he’s a molester now, and the vast majority of the episode is spent on clearing that up. Absolutely pointless diversion, if you ask me. I was close to dropping it for that and the boob-grab stuff that started it all, but at least for once it was an accident. I have the feeling it has potential, even if I’m not quite sure yet what they intend to do.
Update: Having now watched episode 2 before I did the entry on Yuki Yuna, I will say that this show has already grown on me considerably. It seems very sweet, and nice, and heartfelt. Which honestly just makes it more of a shame that they wasted so much of episode 1 on the mistaken molestation charges.
Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken
I think this roughly translates to “I don’t understand what my husband is saying”. Small 3-min show about a fairly regular woman marrying a massive otaku, and how their daily life plays out. It’s cute, in my honest opinion.
Denki-Gai no Honya-san
Show about a bunch of nerds running a manga store for nerds. This one leaves me at a bit of a loss for words. It’s not… good… exactly. It’s… good-ish. But it’s very bizarre, and I have this compulsion to keep watching just to see what happens next. We’ll see if the feeling persists after the next couple of episodes.
Donten ni Warau
It’s about three samurai brothers who bring prisoners to an island prison in the middle of a lake. At least, it’s ostensibly about that. First episode made me think someone made Naruto, but with only Sasuke and Itachi in the starring roles, along with a third gullible younger brother. Seems like an okay action show with aspirations of eventually saving the world, but even after just two episodes it feels like it runs the risk of becoming too convoluted.
Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works
I watched all of the 2006 Fate/Stay Night in preparation for this. After the fact I can’t really recommend that you do the same. While the second half of that season wasn’t too bad, the first 10-12 episodes are just utter drek. And I can’t in good conscience recommend anyone sit through that much bollocks just to watch the good half of it. The main character was the main problem, really.
I was faked out! In episode 0 the show follows Tohsaka Rin, and I had been led to believe that the whole show would focus on her point of view. But it’s not. We’re still stuck with Emiya Shirou from episode 1 and onwards. As such, I honestly can’t recommend you watch the show. If this is going to be another 24 ep show, then we might be stuck with Shirou the twerp for the next dozen or so episodes. My early impression then is that you just shouldn’t bother. I still have to decide if I want to stay with my original plan to watch it for the sake of comparison.
Garo: Honoo no Kokuin
In some medieval fantasy land, people are burning witches. One witch gives birth during her burning. A man clad entirely in metal with a wolf helmet comes rushing in, snags the baby, and absconds on his metal horse. As far as premises go, it’s not too bad. Unfortunately, two episodes in, the show has yet to raise a whole lot of interesting stuff to hook me with. Still, it’s not done anything all that bad yet, either. I’m willing to give it another episode or two to see if it’s worth paying attention to.
Girlfriend (Kari) aka Girl Friend Beta
I think this one is based on a dating sim? It seems to be entirely girls. I am okay with this. It seems completely adorable. First episode basically just seems to be “meet all the girls”. So it’s not a huge indication of where the show is going. But I will watch for the cute girls.
Grisaia no Kajitsu
This one is about a small group of weird kids going on a strange school that only has about 5 students in it, and one teacher. All of them seem to have some strange backstory or secret. It is intriguing though, I’ll say that. After two episodes I am definitely feeling the lure to watch more.
I do have an issue with the shamelessness of this show. If you keep a counter of panty-shots per episode, it is bound to rise fairly high. The first episode kept things somewhat equal by starting with a healthy dose of man-butt from the only guy on the show, but episode 2 only had the girls being shown off. I might have my fill of that in a couple more episodes, but I’m willing to cut it a bit more slack. It’s like the show has bit of trouble deciding on a tone, considering it goes very serious whenever someone’s secret is approached.
From what I’ve been told, the title roughly translates to “Google it, Kokkuri-san!”. It’s a strange thing about a little girl who says she’s a doll, and a kitsune-man called Kokkuri-san who says he can answer any question. I have a slight feeling that this might turn into a highlight of this season.
The idea is that the little girl summoned Kokkuri-san, though initially she treats him with a lot of suspicion. Which I suppose is natural when a fox-man just shows up and tries to climb through your window. The reason for why she refers to herself as a doll is apparently because that means she wouldn’t have human emotions or experience loneliness. Which is really quite dark. Perhaps this is supposed to be one of those healing animes? I am curious to know more, especially regarding the dog-man in a box.
Update: I have now watched episode 2, and I am no longer convinced this show is real. If it actually does exist, you should watch it. If not, I’ll be alone with my wonderful fever dreams.
Gundam Build Fighters Try [Dropped]
One of two Gundam shows this season. One of the spin-off things, I’d say, as it’s about kids building Gundam models that they use to play videogames.
It is also one of the most mind-numbingly boring things I’ve seen in a long time. It is so utterly and profusely dull. I couldn’t even finish the first episode. I think I managed 9 minutes, partially because the first couple of minutes were alright.
Gundam: G no Reconguista [Dropped]
The other of two Gundam shows this season. Part of the main franchise, I guess. Never watched Gundam before.
All I really want to say about this one is that although it’s not as dull as Build Fighters, it is still not a particularly good show. I have no real interest in following along with it. It feels like one of those shows that you might watch if there was absolutely nothing else on.
Hi☆sCoool! Seha Girls [Dropped]
10-min CGI show about anime girl versions of the Sega consoles: Mega Drive, Saturn and Dreamcast. It’s cute, but not quite my thing. Feels like a big, big nostalgiafest for old Sega fans.
Hitsugi no Chaika: Avenging Battle
Yessssss, more Chaika! I didn’t watch the first season until it was already over, but I enjoyed it a lot. Chaika feels like an unusual show in many ways. First off, there’s not that many action shows that have a female lead to begin with, and there’s a lot of small and big surprises along the way.
First episode of season 2 was basically a big reminder of why I liked the first season so much. A good start, with some potent surprises in and of itself, and showing off yet another neat thing about the world the show is set in. I expect good things.
Inou-Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de
A bunch of kids at a high-school suddenly end up with super-powers. And then find out that it doesn’t really change their lives much at all. There’s really not much to use the powers on. So they continue their school life, just practising among themselves.
I must admit that I wasn’t really sure where they were going with this after episode 1. Then episode 2 came along and… had one of the most genuinely heart-breaking scenes I have ever witnessed. Just because of how completely human and relatable it was. Perhaps this is really just aiming to be a regular slice-of-life school drama thing, only with superpowers. Considering how solid it has been so far, I’d be okay with that.
One of two Kaitou shows this season. And I hadn’t even heard of Kaitou before! But apparently it means “Phantom Thief”, and is basically a burglar/thief that uses magic tricks ( like stage magic, not wizardly magic ) in their heists.
This show is squarely aimed at children, and it makes me think of stuff like the old Pink Panther movies with Peter Sellers, or European animation like Lucky Luke or Asterix. The design feels almost Mega Man inspired. It’s very silly, and makes me smile.
Karen Senki [Dropped]
Ostensibly a show about the titular Karen Senki being part of a resistance movement in the future. Robots have risen up against the humans, and apparently it’s up to Karen to stop them. In reality, this is a 10-min CGI show that is 75% nonsense and 25% bollocks. Not worth your time.
Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu aka Parasyte: The Maxim
An animated series based on the Parasyte manga. I remember reading the first book of the manga many years ago. The idea is that a bunch of alien parasites arrive on Earth, and pick their targets. They aim to find a human and take over their brain. Main character has a parasite visit him, but he’s wearing head-phones, so it can’t get in through his ear. It tries to go in through his nose, but that wakes him up, and it ends up burrowing into his hand instead. And of course he ends up running into more infected people (and animals), and the infected parts can basically transform much like the Thing from John Carpenter’s The Thing.
It’s a very gory show, but I will probably follow along with it.
Log Horizon 2
The idea of Log Horizon was that a bunch of MMO players suddenly found themselves stuck inside the MMO world. What was previously NPCs are now the native inhabitants of the land, while the erstwhile players are now more like strange immortal immigrants, that have to figure out how to make a life in this world.
I’ve been excited for season 2, and if episode 1 is any indication, it’s going to be an interesting run. Not much more to say. It still seems to be good, that’s basically the moral here. But if Shiroe doesn’t open his eyes with regards to Akatsuki, I might have to hurt someone.
Madan no Ou to Vanadis
A show where a man what is good with bows is captured on the battlefield and as such becomes a serf or something like that for the woman general who captured him. She is a… I think the show calls it a Battle Maiden. Essentially a super-powerful warrior with a magical weapon.
There are some issues here, like I’m not super-happy with the battle outfits of the Battle Maidens, and whomever is drawing those seems to have no idea how fabric works ( not a chance in hell that that’s metal ), but… even with those problems, I still like the show. The world, the politics, the intricacies, the characters. It’s pandering with regards to its women, yes, but I think I can put up with that for this show.
Magic Kaito 1412
One of two Kaitou shows this season. I’ve learned that Kaitou means “phantom thief”. This is by far the more serious one, aimed at a slightly older demographic. Late teens, maybe. It has a bit of a Batman vibe to it, with secret rooms, special outfits, revenge stories and dead parents. Is it any good? Too early to say. Main character is a jackass, that’s basically all we’ve established so far. Will need a few more episodes to know. ( No clue about the 1412 thing yet.)
Nanatsu no Taizai [Dropped]
Fairly generic fantasy thing where an arsehole is running a pub with a talking pig for a partner. The arsehole finds a woman and starts groping her, and the show apparently thinks this is funny. It becomes a running gag. Please just stay away from it. It’s nowhere near good enough to overlook such bullshit.
Ookami Shoujo to Kuro Ouji [Dropped]
Wolf Girl and Black Prince they call this one. Any hopes that it was in any way related or similar to the excellent Spice & Wolf were dashed early on. The set-up: A girl has no friends in her class, and in a desperate bid to fit in she invents a boyfriend to be able to hang with a couple of other girls who have boyfriends. Her lie doesn’t last long though, so she tries to find an actual guy to be her pretend-boyfriend. This ends with her essentially becoming the slave of the titular Black Prince, a good-looking guy who seems entirely devoid of empathy and morals.
I ended up dropping this show partway through episode 2, since I have real problems with awkwardness from secondary embarrassment when trying to watch stuff about deception like this. Maybe it’ll be more up your alley, just don’t expect too much.
Ore, Twintail ni Narimasu
I’ve been looking forward to this one since I saw an announcement back in June. Look, I have a thing for transformation and gender-swap stuff, so I was going to watch it for that alone. I wasn’t quite expecting just how self-aware the thing is though. It plays up the silly to 11, and revels in its own stupidity. It feels a bit like a mix between Power Rangers and Sailor Moon, with a sprinkle of Kill la Kill stirred in for flavour.
I’d almost say it’s worth watching entirely for the absurdity of a 6-foot guy being transformed into a 4-foot girl.
Orenchi no Furo Jijou
Cute little 3-min show about a man who rescues a merman, and lets him live in his bathtub from them on. The merman is really, really handsome, and the guys take pink bats together, so this might end up being merman yaoi. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
The original Psycho-pass season was very good. It steered away from the vast majority of common anime tropes, and it told an interesting sci-fi story in a competent manner with good characters.
The second season picks up 9 months after the first one ended, and you can really see just how much the lady detective who’s the main character (and was in season 1 too) has grown. You got a short glimpse of it at the end of the season 1, and honestly it was in a way heart-breaking. And to be perfectly honest, already in episode 1 I just got the feeling of “ooohhh, this show is sooooo good”. It’s like eating nummy chocolate, or something else that makes you nearly moan with delight.
Sanzoku no Musume Ronja
I didn’t immediately understand that this was an anime adaptation of Ronja Røverdatter. The novel by Astrid Lindgren. The same Astrid Lindgren who created Pippi Longstocking. As a kid growing up in Norway, I can tell you that Swedish kiddy media was as prevalent as our own, Astrid Lindgren stuff in particular. I have seen the Ronja Røverdatter movie several times, even if I no longer remember very much about it.
So here we have a Studio Ghibli anime series with CGI characters against gorgeous backdrops. Now, I am iffy on CGI-characters. I feel like we haven’t quite reached the point where they look great yet. However, since this is Studio Ghibli, I would say that the animation is well above average. It doesn’t look that bad, is what I’m getting at.
I could go at length about the set-up of this show, but… the important thing is that Ronja is is the daughter of Mattis and Lovis. Mattis is the strongest bandit chieftain in the forest, but the idea of this story is that Ronja goes out into the forest on her own to learn how the world works. The first two episodes came in a bundle for me, and I enjoyed them a lot. I think this is going to be a good one. Just a hunch.
Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso
This one is about a kid who was a prodigy at the piano, but stopped playing when he lost his mother at a young age. Honestly this one hasn’t left much of an impression yet. But if my hunch is right and this is somewhat of a healing anime, it could simply be that those are a bit of a slow burn, like Barakamon was last season. I’m interested in seeing more of it, that’s really all I can say at this point.
Shingeki no Bahamut Genesis
It’s an action-adventure show set in a fantasy version of medieval western Europe, where Jeanne D’Arc used giant golems to fight the undead armies of Bahamut. And French Knight-Officers ride unicorns.
When it comes to this show I am still firmly on the side of “confused”, but I like the demon lady Amira. Ostensibly the main character is the dirtbag Favaro, but I don’t like him much. Still, as a show, it seems alright. I’ll watch for more Amira badassness.
It’s an anime about how you make anime. It’s a lot more interesting than it sounds. The main focus seems to be a group of girls who were part of the same animation club in high school, and have since gone on to have various jobs in the animation industry as adults. It’s a nice, relaxed show about what feels like actual people doing actual things. And if that’s all it’s going to be, I am totally fine with that. Not every show needs to be action-packed and epic. Calm and competent can be a very nice change of pace.
Sora no Method
A cute show about cute girls in a small Japanese town that just happens to have a large alien saucer hovering above it. Though it’s only been 2 episodes yet, I still have this hunch that this will be one of my favourite shows this season. And quite possibly a big tear-jerker. We’ll see if time proves me wrong.
Terra Formars [Dropped]
It’s the future, Humanity is basically fucked, partly due to exhaustion of resources, but mainly due to a strange disease with a 100% fatality rate that has come from Mars. 500 years earlier humanity sent a load of cockroaches and algae to Mars to terraform it. Now the cockroaches have evolved into large humanoids that kill human beings on sight, but the humans need to go there to get samples of the virus to cultivate.
Let me save you some time. It’s bad. Very bad. Even leaving out the racism issue (must admit I didn’t fully get that one until episode 3), it’s just poor in so many ways. The story is bunk, the characters are dull, most of episode 1 is a waste, and it doesn’t get much better later on.
I gave it the three episodes that are out so far, but I will give it no more. Save yourself the trouble and just skip it.
Tribe Cool Crew [Dropped]
I like the idea behind this one. Anime about dancing kids who want to be better dancers! I am not quite so sure on the execution. Sure the characters are decent, and so is the story. But the CGI dancing with the constantly revolving camera is enough to deter a bear. Seeing everything else this season has to offer, I think I am sadly going to just leave this one be from now on.
Trinity Seven: 7-nin no Mahoutsukai [Dropped]
This show… some dude ends up creating his own bubble-universe after his whole town dies to a black sun that eats people. He sexually molests his cousin, who turns out to be basically just another figment of his imagination, but he thought she was real, so I still call it icky. He ends up at Japanese Hogwarts to become a wizard and save his actual cousin. Possibly to molest her more.
This is an icky show that makes me feel icky to watch. Outside of the incestual themes there’s not really one big thing I can point to as for why it’s icky, but there are lots of little things that just add up to me disliking this show intensely. I am not going to be watching it any further, and I don’t recommend anyone else checking it out either.
Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete
Time travel shenanigans stuff. Or possibly alternate universes. I will just spoil the first episode here. We see a bunch of people in school. They are preparing for a thing. Eventually a girl confesses her love for a boy. As she walks home, she is hit by a bus and killed. We see them all grieving at the hospital. Then suddenly we go back to a time before that, a few days before the confession at least, and a naked girl suddenly appears in the school’s attic. She doesn’t remember who she is or why she’s there, but she ends up becoming an honorary member of the club the rest of them is in. It might have been the literature club, but I could also be totally wrong on that.
Clearly the timeline has changed for whatever reason, but apparently we have to keep watching to figure out how and why. Right then. At least it can’t possibly be worse than some of the Doctor Who episodes we’ve had lately.
At some point roughly around now, a gate to a parallel dimension appears in a small city in Japan. Creatures referred to as Neighbours come through and start wreaking havoc. Some people calling themselves Border end up fighting them off and quickly building a large headquarters in the area where the gates open to keep guard.
Upon reflection, after two episodes, I have to say this show also feels a bit dull and uninteresting. Definitely not a priority. Might give it a third episode if I have the time to spare.
Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru
Oh, how I am torn. How much should I tell you?
Right. The show starts out with what seems like a very blatant call-back to Maoyuu Maou Yuusha, which was a show about the ultimate Hero and the Demon King falling in love and pledging to save the world from itself.
This show plays out in an alternate version of modern-day Japan, where four girls are part of their school’s Hero Club. I won’t say much beyond that, except that it involves magical girls and it is awesome. I definitely want more of this.
And that’s my early impressions of pretty much every show coming out this season. I only skipped the ones that were sequels where I haven’t already seen the seasons before.
Temporary note: I do not know when a subbed version of Yuuki Yuuna is coming, so I’m just posting this list as is for now. Will update when it comes.