Anime Spring Season 2015 – Final Thoughts

Another season of anime is wrapping up, and it’s become time to deliver my final thoughts on the stuff I ended up watching, and thoughts so far on things continuing on into the next season.

Overall this season has had a lot of shows that started out promising, but got stuck or lost their way at some point and didn’t really utilise their potential fully, or turned out downright disappointing. A lot of stuff ended on a fizzle rather than a bang.

Kekkai Sensen thoughts coming whenever they feel like airing the finale.

Still, there’s been a few good ones as well, so it hasn’t been a total loss of a season. I didn’t end up dropping any more shows between the mid-season point and now, and you can still find my early impressions here, so let’s just get into things with the ongoing shows.

Ongoing Shows:

Grr grr grr.

Arslan Senki

Okay, so I went back to Arslan Senki and gave it another chance. After five episodes, and a few minutes into episode 6, I kinda feel like putting it back down.

People told me it got better later, but I’m not sure when this mythical “later” is. So far it’s a bit of a mess. There is a sense that maybe the production of the show was a little rushed, and they just went with the “good enough” versions of things. A lot of the time it’s not really anything majorly or blatantly wrong, it’s more like things are just slightly off. A little odd.

For instance, the voice-acting. For the most part it’s okay, but some lines really seem to have the delivery wrong, which does give the sense of “we don’t have time to get this right, just use this take, it’s good enough”.

And the animation quality is all over the place, but usually veering into the “not that good” territory. The CG animation really doesn’t look good. Now this isn’t something that is necessarily a problem in and of itself, but the real problem arises when it seems to clash with the mood the scene is trying to set up. The directing has to take some of the blame for this too, but there were a couple of scenes that seemed like they were going for being dramatic and serious, but the framing and the art quality (along with the writing) just sent me into fits of laughter. I have a really hard time taking this show seriously, even when, or maybe especially when, it seems to want to be.

It really doesn’t help that the writing is quite dire. Every storybeat is quite predictable, sometimes painfully so. A lot of characters seem more like caricatures, which would be fine if that was the intention, but they don’t seem to quite fit with everything else and feel more like accidents. Certain scenes seem to have a lot of dialogue that essentially says nothing and adds nothing. And there seems to be a desperate need to really hammer home every point.

I’m not sure I’ll put any more time into this. It doesn’t seem like it’s for me, really. But on the other hand, it gave me a fair deal to talk about.

#Puff

Go! Princess Precure

There’s really not a lot more I can say about Princess Precure. It’s a very solid show, Puff is the most adorable thing ( I’ve seen subbers also spell it as Perf or Pafu, but I reject that ), and you should probably just watch it.

Worst anime dad ever.

Kyoukai no Rinne

Well, I pegged this as a mostly relaxed, fun, and light-hearted anime, and it mostly is. It goes to some weird places at times, but it usually keeps things pretty light.

And then they introduced Rinne’s dad, Rokudou Sabato, and I just… the stuff he puts his son through, the lack of care and thought he displays and just complete lack of any redeeming features… Sabato is easily in my top 3 most hated fictional characters ever. He is the worst father I have seen in anime, I think. Yes, worse than Ikari Gendou. He is so absolutely horrid and irredeemable, and I’m not confident the creators meant to make him seem quite so awful. The show kinda also incidentally makes some unfortunate social commentary in the Sabato episodes, but that’s overshadowed by Sabato himself. Really not what I expected from a show like this.

When I learned the show is aiming for a total of 25 episodes, I must admit I got unsure if I wanted to stay with it. It seems like Sabato is still going to feature prominently in the show going forward, and it does sort of feel like they’ve spent all their ideas in the first cour and are just aiming for an awkward love triangle thing in the second cour, but I guess I’ll look at another episode or two before deciding.

Disappointing.

Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu

Well, I kinda ended up with a lot of opinions on this as it went on. I put it in the ongoing shows since for whatever reason it’s going to 16 episodes, a number I don’t think I’ve seen before in anime. Not sure how they pulled that off.

But yes, I was quite hopeful about this show early on. I never read the manga, so I didn’t quite know what to expect, but from what I’ve been told the show is quite faithful to its source material, and I’m really wishing it wasn’t. There was potential here, but it wastes so much time on pointless faffing about that it really doesn’t make the best of it. Or much good at all. If you’d cut all the nonsense and re-written some things, I think you could have had a pretty good 10-12 episode series here.

It really doesn’t help that of the seven main characters, three of them essentially do nothing that adds to the show. Koizumi, Asahina, and Tsuruya all could have been cut from the show without losing anything. There was the opportunity there to make Asahina another supporter of Nagato, only more quiet and approachable, the one who takes her aside when she starts to get overwhelmed, but outside of a few token scenes it’s not really taken advantage of. Even Haruhi doesn’t really do that much after the first few episodes she’s around.

And then… this paragraph will have spoilers for episodes 10-13, so skip this if you want to avoid that. And then they introduce alternate-Yuki. After being nearly hit by a car at the end of episode 10, the show starts the titular The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki arc, which spans eps 11-13. And good lords, are there a lot of issues with this. For whatever reason Yuki’s personality gets buried, and instead this alternate-Yuki assumes control. A Yuki who is quite similar to the original Yuki from the original Haruhi show. And then there’s just three episodes of her slowly discovering life and almost getting her own personality before she has a “tragic” good-bye as the normal Yuki wakes up. Who remembers nothing of what’s been going on, even though alternate-Yuki had normal-Yuki’s memories. So essentially nothing was accomplished, except Kyon somehow getting more attached to this Yuki he’s known for like a week than the actual Yuki, because she can’t have good things happen to her, that would just be silly. Also, these episodes trim the cast down to just Yuki, Kyon, and Asakura, which just highlights how pointless the rest of the cast are.

Though for all its faults, this arc kinda nails the right feeling and atmosphere for the show. Just a shame they couldn’t do that for a part of the show that actually felt like it mattered.

Spoilers over. With another three episodes left, I will likely finish it, but I do feel like the show just pissed all its potential away.

Ninjas! Ninjas everywhere!

Ninja Slayer

This seems to have actually picked up a storyline along the way, although it is largely nonsense. Still very much an embodiment of the 90s, both for good and ill. It is still mostly over-the-top daftness that is quite charming and amusing in its own way, but it’s also starting to show certain weaknesses.

Take the treatment of the female characters, Nancy especially, which goes a bit far at times. She is molested, she is nearly raped ( in cyberspace, or IRC space as they call it, of all things ), it doesn’t really add anything to the show, and it’s kinda soured me on the amusing aspects of the show. Like, was this really necessary? Really?

We’ll see if I last the distance or not. Going all the way to 26 episodes, this one.

So many feels.

Ore Monogatari!!

This is still so adorable. A highlight every week. Takeo is a clueless, but well-meaning dork. Rinko is just 100% adorable, even when she thinks she’s not. Maybe especially when she thinks she’s not. And Sunakawa is just the bestest friend. So long as your cuteness resistance is high, or you don’t mind indulging and squeeing, I definitely recommend checking it out.

A friend and I were talking about how we think Sunakawa might be asexual, which would be cool. It’s not like they get a lot of representation in any media, so even if they don’t really highlight it, it would be a neat thing if it was the case. It just seems to fit, so we’re accepting it as canon unless we’re proven otherwise.

A lot of gold.

Saint Seiya: Soul of Gold

This hasn’t really started making any more sense, it still just seems to go entirely bonkers with any and all European mythologies.

But it has this sense of still being from the 80s, and there’s something charming about that. The animation is sometimes hilariously bad too. Not a bad watch so long as you don’t intend to take it seriously.

It is only going to 13 episodes, but it started so late that it will go partway into the summer season.

Completed Shows:

Five guys and a dog.

Ame-iro Cocoa

Concluded at 12 episodes.

I really don’t know. It was so short, didn’t really do anything, and apparently there’s still going to be second series, and I just don’t know what to think about it. Mostly harmless?

Boring tentacles.

Ansatsu Kyoushitsu (TV)

Concluded at 22 episodes.

Thank fuck that’s over. This became such a drag towards the end, it’s only my own stubborn completionist streak that made me sit all the way through episode 22. I skipped through a lot on the way.

With a lot of shows that I end up not liking, I can at least see why other people would like it. For AssClass I got nothing. This is so extremely dull and uninteresting that I don’t understand how it can hold anyone’s attention or interest, especially not that of the teenage boys it’s aimed at.

As the second cour was killing all my investment in the show and its characters, I looked desperately for something to cling onto, but it gave me nothing. Though apparently it’s quite popular, so I guess I have no clue. I am not coming back for the second series, just to that’s clear. I don’t care any longer.

Cuties.

Danna ga Nani o Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken 2-sure-me

Concluded at 13 episodes.

Absolutely adorable to the end. I just think it’s really nice to have this grounded show about figuring out married life between a big nerd and not-quite-so-big nerd. The season ended on a nice note, and I’d be fine with that being the end. Though I also wouldn’t mind coming back for a third series. It’s a very nice palette cleanser if nothing else. An example of how anime doesn’t have to be awful.

Trying so hard to be fierce.

Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works 2nd Season

Concluded at 13 episodes.

Wow… what can I even say? Shirou is awful, and demonstrates no actual growth or change, the writing is dire beyond belief ( some of the corny lines are close to gold though ), fight-scenes drag on for too long, and… at least it’s pretty, I guess? But yeah, again, it was my completionist streak that made me sit to the end of this, because a few episodes before the end I kinda stopped caring altogether. And then that absolute fan-wank of an epilogue, dear gods.

I get that a lot of people like Fate/Stay, even if I don’t get why. I am not one of them. After this, I don’t feel like touching another Fate property ever again. I’m done. I’m free. You have no hold on me.

Some people have died.

Gunslinger Stratos: The Animation

Concluded at 12 episodes.

Hoo boy, does this work hard to kill any potential it ever had. While watching this show I came up with the term “aggressively mediocre”, because that is exactly what it is.

It’s a show with an interesting concept and set-up, which then works very, very hard to be as clichéd and mediocre as possible. Everything has to be predictable and tedious, characters have to die for no reason, characters we don’t know get “epic” last-stands, and all in all it’s just a mess that doesn’t really seem to know what it wants, or what message it wants to deliver. It could be a result of trying to “appeal to everyone”, which so often turns into “pleasing no one”.

Band cuties.

Hibike! Euphonium

Concluded at 13 episodes.

This was a bit of a rollercoaster, but personally I’d say it got there. I’m actually quite happy about that ending. Wondering if it’s setting up a sequel? Unsure if I’d want to watch that. They might ruin it.

But yeah, I am quite happy about how they resolved things. It left certain things open to interpretation, I guess, so I now choose to believe that Reina and Kumiko develop a deep, romantic relationship shortly after the end of this show. It is a show about being teenagers, and music, and figuring out what your actual feelings are, and how you relate to and interact with other people, and thinking back on my own teenage experience, it seems fairly authentic to that.

I do feel like I have to stand up for Kumiko a little though. She’s been called a little shit, and awful, and yes, she is, but I also find myself absolutely adoring her. She doesn’t really get other people or how they work, she has a tendency to be too honest, she doesn’t really understand what she wants, and she ends up feeling directionless and non-caring as a result. And that’s something I can totally relate to, because that’s pretty much how I was at that age. That is probably why I adore her instead of hating her like others seem to.

Now that doesn’t really address other issues the show has though, like how Midori and Hazuki quickly seem to run out of things to actually do in the show, and they’re kinda just there for the sake of it. Personally I didn’t really notice much at the time because I was very invested in Kumiko and Reina.

I will agree that Natsuki is awesome though. And she has the prettiest eyes, and probably one of the best character arcs in the show. Maybe the best, depending on who you ask.

Hats!

Houkago no Pleiades

Concluded at 12 episodes.

Not gay enough. Went disappointingly hetero at the end. Now I might be projecting here, but I do still feel like the relationship build-up between Subaru and Aoi was much stronger than the one between Subaru and Minato. So Subaru and Aoi is still my headcanon, and I have the desktop background to prove it!

Otherwise not a bad show by any means. Cute and colourful, and it’s hard to go wrong with magical girls.

Crazy eyes.

Kekkai Sensen

Concludes at 12 episodes.

Waiting for the finale.

Goast.

Koukaku Kidoutai Arise: Alternative Architecture

Concluded at 10 episodes.

I must admit that I failed to notice that episode 10 was supposed to be the ending. I just thought today: “why hasn’t there been more episodes,” and went to look it up. Was only supposed to be 10. Alright, then.

I’d say it’s a completely okay show, and Logicoma is still awesome, but it’s not really something to go out of your way to watch. And GitS fans still hate it for how poorly it portrays the characters, someone told me. Unless I’m remembering that wrong. So probably definitely not worth watching if you’re a GitS fan.

People!

Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku

Concluded at 12 episodes.

A bit of a mess, but overall I enjoyed it. I might be slightly disappointed at how it kinda tuned down the focus on how gay Eruna was, but I don’t think that was ever intended to be the main focus of the show anyway. There’s definitely a lot of improvements that could have been made here, but I’ve gathered the studio are still pretty fresh at this, so for an early effort I think they did pretty well. I’d probably watch a second series of this now that most of the characters have figured out their shit a bit more, but if they want to end it here, I wouldn’t be too disappointed.

It was a decent ending, and I think I’d be more interested in seeing this studio do something new.

Oh, and it actually does some pretty decent portrayal of certain social anxiety and mental health issues that I’ve gathered a lot of teens struggle with, and it was just nice to see them make an attempt at trying to portray these issues without turning them into jokes. Even talking about such things is still considered taboo for many people. I’m not saying they always did an excellent job, but I do commend them for the effort. It might have just slipped past me, but I didn’t feel they misrepresented any of the issues.

Vampires everywhere!

Owari no Seraph

Concluded at 12 episodes.

This show has problems. The first and foremost being Yuu and Mika. Well, Mika especially. He’s been a vampire for four years now, roughly, and already he acts like an arrogant ass who thinks humans are well beneath him. Which doesn’t quite fit how kind-natured and resourceful he was in the first episode. Yuu is a little better, and actually displays some character growth, but he’s still not a great character. Plus he has the Protagonist Romance Syndrome which causes girls to just fall for him for no apparent reason, which kinda undermines at least one of the lady characters ( Shinoa ) in my opinion.

On the other hand, Shinoa is by far and away my favourite character of this season. Of this year so far, even. Her snark and wit are amazing, and I love her hair and eyes, her wry smile, her looks that could kill, her badassness, and pretty much everything about her. She doesn’t take any shit from anyone, not even Guren ( who’s a pretty great character himself ), and I love her so much. I’d totally be happy with her sweeping me off my feet. Which is part of why her falling for Yuu doesn’t quite seem like it fits. Now, maybe this is just jealousy, but she doesn’t seem like the easily-fall-in-love type, especially not for someone like Yuu. She cares about people, yes, but I never got the impression those feelings turned easily romantic for her. A shame to see such a strong and interesting character reduced to Yet Another Love Interest.

Still, I will probably at least check out the second series when it comes.

Cuties.

Re-Kan!

Concluded at 13 episodes.

While it definitely does set up a budding romance between Hibiki and Narumi throughout the series, it keeps it very light. Still very sweet, though, and it ends on such a good note. I don’t really feel bad about it not going further, or anything like that. Just some sweet, light yuri.

There’s also episodes where they’re dealing with the regrets and final requests of certain ghosts where it just gets pretty much soul-crushing. There were at least a couple of episodes where I was just crying so much.

Budding romance and ghosts, that’s what it says on the tin, and that’s what you get.

Pink space princess.

Sidonia no Kishi: Daikyuu Wakusei Seneki

Concluded at 12 episodes.

It was alright. Sidonia is still a very interesting place to observe as a possible future, and it does have some pretty great combat scenes, and the characters are largely quite interesting. I’m sure series 2 is appearing in its entirety on Netflix soon (if it hasn’t already), and I do recommend checking it out. Yes, the CG animation is a little weird at first ( people look too clean against the backgrounds ), but most likely you’ll get used to it.

Now, this might be controversial, but I do think the show would have been stronger if Nagate wasn’t another sufferer of Protagonist Romance Syndrome. He is probably one of the least interesting characters on the show, yet all sorts of girls just seem to fall for him without explanation. There are a couple I can understand. Izana’s been hanging around Nagate ever since he got integrated into society, and they’ve kinda seemed interested in him from very early on. And Tsumugi pretty much only interacts with Nagate ( well, and Izana to an extent ), and they keep fighting together, and he actually treats her as a person. That she develops romantic feelings for him just kinda helps underscore how human she actually is, in spite of her appearance.

Still, maybe Tsumugi and Izana should just forget about Nagate and start dating eachother instead.

Just don’t get me started on how the show treats Izana’s pronouns though.

Cuties.

Show By Rock!!

Concluded at 12 episodes.

The second half of the series kinda lost its way some. I mean, it was still cute, and fairly interesting, but it didn’t live up to its potential. And I do feel similarly about the finale. It had its moment, but I feel like it could have, and maybe should have, been more.

I still think it’s worth checking out though. Some great music in there.

Cute girls.

Urawa no Usagi-chan

Concluded at 12 episodes.

Short, silly, and fairly nice. And it did actually advertise Urawa a fair bit. I guess that’s cool.

Poor Yamada-kun, pushed all the way to the back.

Yamada-kun to Nananin no Majo

Concluded at 12 episodes.

Now this… this kinda fell apart in the second half of its run. The first 6-7 episodes are pretty good. Very good occasionally. But then after just playing around with the mystery of the witches for a while, they figure out the seventh witch, and then the Real Plot happens, and it’s a mess. I didn’t really have many issues before that, but afterwards I just got hyper-sensitive to all the second-hand embarrassment and cringe the show was serving up.

Plus it felt like it was no longer playing against tropes like it’s been doing earlier, but rather falling into the trap of just following the tropes instead. It took me forever to get through episodes as I had to pause and take breaks, and to speed things along I eventually resorted to turning off the audio at times and just reading the subtitles. As I was watching episode 11 I kinda felt like just dropping it right there, and not even watching the finale. It was that bad.

However, I am glad I actually watched the finale. It seems to find back to the show’s strengths, at least to an extent, and actually delivers a pretty nice ending to it all. Nice enough to actually redeem the previous episodes some. Not entirely, but some.

People reading the manga say that it doesn’t actually end here, but keeps going, and I don’t understand what they can do after how this series ended. I am happy with this ending. I don’t want any more. If it comes out, I will ignore it, because I am 99% certain that indulging my curiosity as to what might be next would just ruin my good feelings for this ending.

And that’s another season wrapped up. I’ve had a look at the list of shows for the summer season, and honestly the only stand-out was Jitsu wa Watashi wa. Now the manga became a bit of a mess some ways into it, but it was really brilliant early on. So I think a single cour series of that could be really good.

I also spotted several shows tagged as “ecchi”, and I am reasonably certain that all of those will be trash. Ecchi anime rarely tends to be tasteful, and kinda stops being amusing once you’ve reached a certain maturity level. Still, I will give them a look. Probably not more than one episode.

There was some stuff that looked like it could be cool, but I don’t remember any names off-hand. In a few weeks you can read my early impressions, though! Until then~

~Wulf

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Posted on July 4, 2015, in Cartoons and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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