Anime Autumn Season 2014 – Wrapup

Well! Here we are again.

I believe all of the shows that were capping it at 12-13 episodes have had their final episodes. At least all the ones I’ve watched, so I figured it was time to do the writey thing. I am writer.

I refer back to my initial impressions post for a full listing of the shows. I will not mention any shows I had already decided to drop back then. But I will start with a short run-through of which shows I ended up dropping since, before moving on to the ones I actually finished.

Dropped shows:

Akame Ga Kill

Yes, this is from the summer season, but it was supposed to finish during the autumn season as a 24-ep show. I had intended to watch all of it after watching the first 12 eps, but I quickly grew uncomfortable with how the show handled the topic of abuse, and I just needed to abandon it.

Amagi Brilliant Park

Alright show, really, but I am big sufferer when it comes to second-hand embarassment, and a couple of the episodes just became too much for me. After skipping like 80% of an episode, and then considering doing the same for another, I ended up dropping it very late rather than forcing myself to sit through it.

Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai

I tried. I really tried. I liked it so much during the first handful of episodes. But in the end I just couldn’t endure the growing harem tendencies. It just dropped any and all interesting ideas in favour of the girls arguing over which type of girl main-dude liked best and putting them in ever-contorted “sexy” poses for no reason.

Denki-Gai no Honya-san

In the end the random nature just wasn’t done well enough for me to stay interested. I think I only got to episode 4 before I couldn’t be bothered any longer.

Donten ni Warau

Just… just not interesting enough for me stick with it. It quickly became little more than a bog-standard action show with aspirations of greatness.

Girlfriend (Kari) aka Girl Friend Beta

It just turned out to be really, really dull. Not even close to as dull as Gundam Build Fighters, but there really was essentially nothing of substance here. I was really hoping there would be.

Kaitou Joker

Not a bad show really, just not good enough compared to the other things I wanted to keep watching. Trimming the fat, basically.

Magic Kaito 1412

Same story as Kaitou Joker. Just not good enough.

World Trigger

I did end up dropping this one after just one more episode after I wrote the initial impressions. Another case of not good enough.

Ongoing shows:

Matter-of-fact princess.

Akatsuki no Yona

I’m still quite enjoying this show, even though it’s turning out to be a bit more slow-paced than I first thought. That does give room for more character building and cute moments, though. At current the crew are hunting dragons. Er… looking for dragons, I mean. To join their party.

If there is any real flaw to point to, I’d say that it’s not especially good at transitioning between the serious and the light-hearted moments. It tends to be very abrupt. Not so bad it ruins the show, at least not yet, just a bit jarring.

Still legs.

Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon: Crystal

Because of their really weird schedule, I think this show is going to be running all the way until June or July. I have watched up to and including episode 12 as of this writing. I don’t really have too much to add, besides that it’s giving me the increasing sensation that maybe I should go back and watch the original show, or at least the re-release they’re doing at the moment.

I suppose it would be nice if they gave us more time with the girls instead of just going from crisis to crisis, but I guess that was the point of the Crystal series: Just focus on the events on the manga as best they can.

Definitely noms.

Bonjour♪ Koiaji Pâtisserie

Still a very sweet little show. Seems to have unusually large ambitions for a 5-minute show, which tends to result in very little of substance actually happening, or things getting rushed. Still, it’s cute, and there’s only 5 mins per episode, so it’s not like I mind it.

Still going.

Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works

Please don’t ask me why I’m still watching this. My best answer is that I want to see how it’s different from the first show. There was a mid-season final episode thing, but I don’t feel like that counts, since they didn’t really wrap much of anything up. I will probably keep watching whenever it starts up again, even if it won’t be this upcoming winter season. I can understand if the staff feel like they need a break.

One wolf, two wolf.

Garo: Honoo no Kokuin

After starting out as just an okay show, Garo actually started becoming pretty good after like 6-7 episodes. It grew into something more, which is always pleasant to see. Unfortunately this was more in spite of the main character than because of him. In the first 12 episodes he has virtually no growth, and where he ends up at the mid-way point is fairly shameful. Other characters grow and improve around him, but he just doesn’t. Maybe that’s the point though. Show his arrogance and cockiness, throw him down as low as he can go, and then the next 12 episodes we will see him grow into someone worth rooting for. The prince is pretty cool, though.

Monsters everywhere!

Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu aka Parasyte: The Maxim

This is still somewhat of a highlight every week. Almost chillingly good, I’d say. Parasyte remains rather different, seemingly caring little for your standard anime tropes. It likes wallowing in the dark, and occasionally the gory. It doesn’t really shy away from much of anything, while nurturing what seems like a naturally growing narrative. The stuff they put the main-dude through is pretty brutal and drastic, both emotionally and physically. Yet it remains interesting to see how he reacts to it, and how both him and his parasite evolve. Though I can only imagine the series will close out on him facing some sort of ‘final boss’. The other parasites are also evolving.

More Akatsuki, pls.

Log Horizon 2

Has been very good so far. I will forever wish for more bonding time between Akatsuki and Shiroe, but watching Akatsuki grow on her own is interesting too. I am not 100% sure what they’re going to dedicate the second half of the series to, but I have an idea. Should be interesting to see regardless. I do wonder if we will get answers as to why the world is changing. Like, why is it expanding slowly? Why is the flavour text on items becoming reality? Of course, there’s no guarantee the show is actually interested in answering those questions.

The family.

Sanzoku no Musume Ronja

Very full of delight and wonder, like a lot of Studio Ghibli stuff. I adore the way they represent this world, and their version of Ronja. I keep thinking I should rewatch the old live-action movie to compare, but even without that this show stands well on its own feet.

Play that music!

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso

Definitely the personally most important show for me this season. Everything about it just speaks to my very soul. It’s affected me so deeply that I don’t think I have the capability to be in any way objective or neutral about it. Music has been a very important healing tool for me, even though I can only listen, and not play. I still use it a lot, either to help me focus, or when I’m not feeling well, or when I just want to.

Possibly the most mature show of the season as well in how it handles subjects like depression and anxiety. It’s all very human and soft, even though it doesn’t turn a blind eye to the harshness of life. There is way too much here that I identify with, even though the main characters are only like 14 years old. Kaori has such a nuanced view of the world in many ways. She helps Kousei in many ways, though you get the feeling it’s maybe for selfish reasons sometimes. Broken people trying to put themselves back together. Stumbling along the way. A situation I know all too well. While he has given up on the world, she is determined to live to the best of her ability.

Look, just… just watch it. Please. It’s beautiful in virtually every way.

Frantic!

SHIROBAKO

I almost thought this was going to wrap up in the next episode, but apparently it’s continuing into the winter season.

Very good show. Very good. Even if I can’t fully explain why. I mean, it’s just people at work. Making anime. It’s incredibly grounded. Maybe that’s why it feels refreshing? Good characters, good writing, good pacing and good interactions. Everyone feels distinct just like actual people would. Sure there are a few personalities that are maybe more ‘extreme’ than others, but no one feels so exaggerated that they don’t seem like actual people you could find in real life.

I am not sure how they pulled this one off, but I can only really say that they did. Shirobako is a very good show, and probably worth your time.

Finished shows:

Cat smile!

Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken

Concluded at 13 episodes.

I quite enjoyed this one. Just watching two married people living together and trying to figure out life. And to an extent eachother, though I got the feeling they had already gotten a lot of that out of the way. Though they’re different in many ways, they display a good dynamic between them. Very much just everyday things, really. Very little drama, mostly just nice and calm and cute. With only 5-min episodes, you can watch the whole thing in like an hour.

One guy, many girls...

Grisaia no Kajitsu

Concluded at 13 episodes.

My feelings after watching through this is that Japanese eroges can be really fucked up. Yet there’s something just… fascinating about it. They actually starting toning down on the panty shots after the first few episodes, though there’s no shortage of other weird and/or fucked up stuff. It feels like something I shouldn’t like, yet somehow I kept watching.

They even announced a second series right at the end of the finale. I will probably watch that too… ah well. I’m not even sure I have a sense of shame any longer.

Yessssss.

Gugure! Kokkuri-san

Concluded at 12 episodes.

Kokkuri-san is definitely in my top three for this season. It has many similarities to Nozaki-kun in structure, probably due to them both being based on 4Koma manga, but it is much more surreal. It jumps around a lot, there’s no clear overarching narrative as such, it’s more like a supernatural slice-of-life. It acquires quite the ensemble of characters during the run, and several things happen both to and with them.

I feel like I am doing a poor job at trying to explain and/or sell this show. Just give it a try. It takes a couple of episodes to really get started, but once it has lifted off you are in for quite the flight. It can be dark, it can be deadpan, but I think that most of all it is just random. A lot of things just happen, and it can be as startling as it is delightful. I really hope they do a second series.

Also, I might have fallen in love with Lady Kokkuri-san.

CHAIKA!

Hitsugi no Chaika: Avenging Battle

Concluded at 10 episodes.

I’d say Chaika was on-form in its second and (presumably) final series. I enjoyed every episode, and though I wish it had continued for a few more, I thought the ending they did was both bitter-sweet and fitting.

It’s not exactly a terribly surprising or ground-breaking show in any way, but it does what it does well, and I’d say things are just different enough if you’re tired of the standard. It likes challenging your expectations from time to time. I do think you should probably just go watch the first series, and then watch this second one too. It’s good stuff, and Chaika herself is adorable.

Definitely a theme.

Inou-Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de

Concluded at 12 episodes.

This show kept surprising me with how earnest it was. It had a central message of “even though you might be a little different, there’s nothing wrong with that”. It embraced, rather than made fun of. I appreciate that. Even if none of them had superpowers, it really wouldn’t have been that different of a show, and I think that was largely the point.

Actually, the few episodes that went more into the powers, where they came from, and why, were probably the weakest parts of the show. I kinda liked it better when no one really knew, not even the viewers, and they were just there. And yeah, that every girl ended up falling in love with Andou while he was completely oblivious was more than a little trite, but the show did enough things right that I can forgive, or at least overlook, that.

While it did set things up such that a second season is entirely possible, I don’t think one has been announced yet. I’d honestly be fine with leaving it as it ended.

Yup, definitely.

Madan no Ou to Vanadis

Concluded at 13 episodes.

Vanadis was a strange show. It sometimes felt more like three shows awkwardly stitched together. There was the action show with the large battles and duels; there was the tactical show discussing and displaying strategies and results; and there was the emotional/relationship-focused show about the guy and all the girls who wanted him. Sometimes they worked well together, and sometimes not.

The bigger problem was one of narrative. See, I could follow what was happening in each individual episode. No real problem there. But it was hard to get any sense of an overarching narrative. Any sort of end goal, something the main characters were working towards or through. There were sometimes smaller arcs that stretched two or three episodes, but when it came to understanding what the characters were trying to achieve long-term, the show often seemed to just shrug its shoulders. It does end up finding a plot in like the second-to-last episode, possibly just so they can have something grand for the finale.

Still though, it was an enjoyable watch for the most part. I wonder if the show maybe suffered from trying to cover too much of the light novel series it was adapted from, since there were several things that felt pretty rushed. I am honestly not interested enough to go read them to find out, though.

Yes.

Ore, Twintail ni Narimasu

Concluded at 12 episodes.

What can I even say about this one? Bizarre, shameless, somehow really entertaining. I think maybe the biggest strength this show had was that every time I felt like “yeah, I’ve seen all this has to offer, this is starting to get old now” it would do something unexpected and I’d be all “whoa, I did not see THAT coming”.

It is kinda charming how it tries to be both very base and somewhat deep at the same time. It doesn’t always succeed all that well, but I still enjoyed my time with it. I am actually kinda hoping for a second series here as well. It’s not a big deal if they don’t, but if they do I would watch it. If only because it has nigh-endless potential as screenshot material. Squish!

Gay and fishy.

Orenchi no Furo Jijou

Concluded at 13 episodes.

If you only want to watch one 5-min show from this season, then I strongly recommend this one. The OP tries to make it seem like this is a very serious and dramatic show, but it really isn’t. Not at all. It is very laid-back and cute. And very, very gay. I didn’t nickname it “merman yaoi” for nothing. Of course it’s not explicit at all, it’s just very adorable, and rather suggestive. If you want something cute that will probably cheer you up, this is well worth a shot.

Very yes.

Psycho-Pass 2

Concluded at 11 episodes.

While it isn’t hard to tell that there was a new director for the second series of Psycho-Pass, it is still a very strong series. It does its own thing, and it does it well. If you don’t like dark and gory stuff, you should probably steer clear, but if you don’t mind it I’d say both series are worth a look.

I admire how they both managed to feel different, yet capture the general feel of the first series. I don’t really have much more to say on the matter. I feel like I’ve already talked about the setting and its interesting scenario of how crime-fighting and society might work in the future. It’s a show best experienced, anyway.

Demon lady is great.

Shingeki no Bahamut Genesis

Concluded at 12 episodes.

I don’t really have any strong feelings regarding Shingeki no Bahamut. It’s an okay show. Amira is pretty great, and I like that Rita seems to be only competent and clever character most of the time. But all in all it was basically just okay. Okay story, okay dudes, okay supporting cast, okay setting and the ending was also pretty okay. Kaizar spends half his screen-time just shouting “FAVARO!”, while Favaro does his best to act like a wise-cracking, uncaring jackass. And the main villain was such an idiot that I was literally astounded when I watched him carry out his grand plan in the final episode. I don’t understand how he ever expected that to work.

So yeah. Okay, but nothing more, really.

We are rawr!

Shirogane no Ishi: Argevollen

Concluded at 24 episodes.

It is done! I am not really sure what to say about it, though. Part of me wants to say that the second half of the series wasn’t as good as the first, but I’m not entirely sure that is true. Argevollen as a show has never really been anything more than just good. Sometimes merely okay. It dropped a bit of its realistic leanings towards the end, but never abandoned them. Which is also visible in the ending, which almost seems more like something that’d happen in real life than the ending of a story.

In all honesty probably not worth it unless you’re really into mecha shows and/or Battletech. My love of Battletech-style mech and vehicle mixed combat carried me through a lot of it.

Saucer!

Sora no Method

Concluded at 13 episodes.

I think the most succinct way of summing up my feelings regarding Sora no Method is: Not as good as I expected it to be. When I first started watching, I fully expected this to become one of my favourite shows of the season. Now I’m not sure I’d even put it in the top five.

It’s still good, don’t get me wrong. The final episode was very emotional for me, and I probably cried for like 15 of those 20 minutes. But there was a lot of faff and stumbling leading up to that. Characters being pig-headed and cruel for not well-explained reasons, things dragging out and flipping around unnecessarily… Shione especially was very hard to like. Even once she finally got her head out of her ass I couldn’t quite let go of all the resentment she had fostered in me. I think I maybe understand what the writers were trying to go for, but I don’t think it was always as well-executed as it should have been.

Still… that ending was very nice and emotional. Not a perfect show, but I still feel glad that I watched it.

Shenanigans.

Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete

Concluded at 12 episodes.

Man, this was a slow burn. You get that there’s something weird in the transition between episode 1 and 2, but then it seems to get very sedated from then on. You start slowly figuring things out until you hit… was it episode 8 or 9? In one of those, it just suddenly kicks things up several notches as it finally lets you in fully on what’s going on. It even remixes the ED for the occasion, ugh…

As I said, it’s a really slow burn, but for me the build-up was totally worth it once it started paying off. I think it probably needed all those episodes to let us truly know the characters before it threw us for a loop. However, I completely understand if you think that’s too long of a time to wait. Beware of time-travel shenanigans!

Girls!

Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru

Concluded at 12 episodes.

While Shigatsu might be the most personally important show of the season, I hold up Yuki Yuna as the best show of the season. It is absolutely fantastic. Looking back on it I can even see a very clear line in how the emotional journey of the show was handled and transitioned.

I am yet again torn in how much I want to say, because I don’t want to reveal too much, but I still want to entice you into watching the show. I do see certain parallels to Madoka Magica, even though the two shows handle things a bit differently. Every episode, every plot point, every sentence, every action and reaction… it all felt so well-crafted and put together. It knew exactly where to punch and how hard, often striking straight in the heart.

I still haven’t been fully able to analyse my feelings about the ending, which is why I want you people to watch it too, so we can hopefully discuss it together.

And with that I can put the autumn season of 2014 behind me. I hope I didn’t forget anything. In a week or two I might be back with some thoughts on the winter season of 2015. We will see.

~Wulf

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Posted on January 6, 2015, in Cartoons and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. the way you went through all the shows is nice … i quite agree on the Kiseijuu point

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