Anime Autumn Season 2015 – Mid-Season Thoughts
And so we are at another mid-point, with most shows having come out with 6 episodes. At least for the ones I still watch.
When I was 2-3 episodes into the season, I thought there would be a lot more shows I’d stick with, but for one reason or another I’ve ended up trimming down the list considerably. And it might get even smaller still.
For some of these shows I will say something along the lines of “I’d probably watch this if I didn’t have enough better things to watch already”, and as my list has shrunk, I do probably have the time to pick some of these back up, but instead I’ve chosen to spend the time catching up on past shows I missed.
Currently watching the first series of Yuru Yuri, and even though it has “yuri” in the title it’s still gayer than I expected. I thought maybe it would be a bit subtle considering the Japanese anime audience, but it’s not at all. I love it.
With that said, let’s get into this! If you missed my first impressions, you can see them here.
After watching a couple of episodes, I did feel a bit too clearly that I was too far outside of the target demographic to get much more enjoyment out of it.
It seems pretty good for what it is though, so if you’re interested it’s well worth taking a look.
Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou
After a very interesting first episode, I felt like this show ran out of drive really quickly.
Maybe it’s more enjoyable if you’re able to follow the past/present jumping more clearly without feeling like it gets in the way.
To me it just felt like the novelty of the concept wore off really quickly during episodes 2 and 3, and once that was gone the characters and writing just weren’t able to support and make good use of the world they had set up. Perhaps you’ll feel differently. I do still really like the aesthetic of it.
Might have kept up with it if there wasn’t better stuff available.
Dance With Devils
Now see, this annoys me. It really does. Another strong start that goes weak all too quickly, and it’s very annoying because I had high hopes for this.
I got hung up on this thing, see. I found it too hard to swallow that main-girl hadn’t been told *anything* about the supernatural world her family is involved in. I’m sure they’d eventually pull out the “we wanted her to live a normal life” card, but I wouldn’t buy it. If you want to protect her, and her to be able to protect herself, you need to let her know to look out for certain things at the very least. Give her some idea of what she might run into, and what to do if/when she does. It is clearly evidenced in the show that because she doesn’t know anything, and maybe doesn’t have a sufficient capacity for critical thinking, she keeps falling head-first into traps set by the various devils.
And when her brother *finally* shows up, he *still* doesn’t tell her *anything*! Even though she’s now right in the middle of this mess, and it would benefit her greatly to have a better understanding of what’s going on, he still tries to keep her in the dark. Again, I’m sure it would pull out some trope like “she wouldn’t understand/believe it”, and WHOSE FAULT IS THAT?! Also, it’s quite likely she could be easily convinced that something supernatural exists considering everything she’s seen. Surely she must have at least some suspicions, especially if she thought back on certain things her mother would do without really explaining why.
Maybe she would be more clued in later, but I don’t feel like sitting around fuming at everyone’s stupidity just in case it gets better.
Also: Not enough musical numbers.
Garo: Guren no Tsuki
Disappointing. Gives off a distinct feeling of being more formulaic and shounen than Garo 1, and the “monster of the week” thing feels even more blatant than early Garo 1 did.
I’ve seen others say they enjoy it, and I really don’t begrudge them that. Everyone is different. But to me it got boring way too fast, with only one somewhat interesting character, and too many questions left hanging for too long. I don’t necessarily have a problem with slow-rolling reveals and information, but there is such a thing as going too slow.
I might have kept up with it if I didn’t have better things to watch, but I do, so I won’t.
The warning signs were there. They really were. But I held out a small hope it might turn into something. However, episode 2 left me feeling rather disgusted, so I dropped it without a second thought.
Pro-tip: Writers, please don’t throw in a non-sequitur where a guy accidentally gropes a girl and goes “Woot! Boobs!” while they are supposed to be fleeing for their lives. It’s just really tacky and disgusting.
Definitely not the GATE of this season. In fact, I don’t think I’ve found anything I’d describe as “the GATE of this season”.
Kido Senshi Gundam: Tekketsu no Orphans
I’ve seen several people really stoked about this show, feeling it is on par with One Punch Man, but I’m not seeing it. I ended up finding it rather boring by the end of episode 3, and I had no desire to keep going.
I would still say it’s the most interesting Gundam show I have personally seen so far, but I guess that doesn’t really say much.
Best part: Biscuit’s little twin sisters are called Cookie and Cracker.
Again, might have watched more if there wasn’t better alternatives around.
Owari no Seraph: Nagoya Kessen-hen
Probably the most painful one to drop. I love Shinoa so much. I still consider her my favourite character of this year. I know I keep saying that.
But she is not enough to make me sit through the parts of the show that doesn’t have her in it. Especially not anything involving Mika.
When the focus of the show is on Shinoa, Yu, and the rest of that squad (or even Guren), I sometimes end up thinking “wait, why do I keep thinking I want to drop this show, this seems quite okay”, and then it cuts to what Mika is doing, and I remember “oh, that’s why…”. He is by far the worst part of the show, and makes anything else I don’t like about the show stand out so much more strongly, and altogether it becomes something I can’t keep watching.
Even if it breaks my heart to not see more Shinoa.
I was enjoying this for a while, but episode 4 marked a clear point where the show went from interestingly weird, to uncomfortably weird.
Maybe it was always dancing on that line, but suddenly I didn’t feel comfortable watching any more of it.
Perhaps the -monogatari series isn’t for me, but I am still a little interested in going back to look at the earlier series. We’ll see.
Subete ga F ni Naru
I kept going all the way through episode 4, hoping that there would be something to hook me for sure and make me feel invested in what was going on, maybe once the murder mystery finally got started. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. If you got there, I will admit to feeling a bit envious, because I really wanted to like this show. But ultimately I just felt it was a bit dull. It wasn’t able to sell the characters to me, and in a show like this that is probably the most important part.
It’s no Columbo, that’s for sure.
Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note
Sadly not Milky Holmes.
Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid
I was really sad about dropping this too. While it had the occasional uncomfortable bit, by the end of episode 3 I was still liking it a lot.
But at the end of episode 4 there’s a scene where Mirei gets raped, and… I just lost all heart to keep going after that. I want to say I might continue watching if people say good things about episode 5 and onwards, but in all honesty I probably won’t.
I’ve been sticking with this one, mostly because I like Felia, but I will freely admit that the flaws of the show are standing out more and more. I am really not sure if I’ll keep going with this one till the end.
The battle scenes aren’t as interesting as I feel they should be, but at least the action is easy to follow. None of the main characters are especially well fleshed out, but I might not have minded that too much if the rest of the show was interesting enough to make up for it. Slight spoiler: There’s a point in the show where Felia uses so much of her magic that she “grows up”, her body and mind becoming that of a teenager, though she is probably still more pure-minded that your average teenager. And suddenly we have a love triangle going. Because of course.
But the worst part is the antagonists. The villains. Of the trio that currently makes up the main bad guys, two of them are entirely one-dimensional, and the last one is just barely two-dimensional. They’re essentially three flavours of psychopath. One just likes to hurt and/or kill people. One is just a massive creep who thinks other people are his playthings. And the last one just wants to find something worthy to fight with his big robot, because he was in a war at some point, and I’m sure eventually that will try to explain why.
Hang on, why am I still watching this show? I guess there’s just something about it that makes me go “okay, I’ll try one more”. Even though there’s a big chance it won’t pay off at all.
Hidan no Aria AA
This show is so gay. Sooo gay. It is pretty close to Yuru Yuri’s level, and so far it’s been quite delightful, even with so many little girls with guns and various other weapons.
The chart of who is interested in whom is getting a bit complicated at this point, but it makes me smile even so.
However! I still have that feeling that at some point it will drop the other shoe, and little girls will start dropping dead. So far everything has worked out somehow, but I am still suspicious. Maybe the show is just trying to get me to lower my guard before it sinks the knife in. I don’t know. But all signs point to me sticking with this one to the end, whichever way it intends to go.
I am also really worried about Akari’s sister, and I hope she’ll be okay.
High School Star Musical
This is pretty much the only source of cute boys being really gay this season, so if that’s your jam, this is where to go. It is definitely one of my jams, though I’ve been having some weird conflicting feelings about it.
On the one hand, the boys are really cute, there’s one or two good musical numbers every episode, and I am generally a fan of shows that feature characters getting gradually better at song and/or dance.
On the other hand, in some of the episodes I find myself checking the time as if thinking “is it close to being done yet? I wish it was done yet”, and I don’t really know why. Do I not actually like the show as much as I think I do? I didn’t feel that at all with episode 6, so at least that’s hopeful, but I do wish I could decipher why I’m having such opposing feelings about it.
Also! Nayuki’s little sisters are great. While I was originally puzzled at there being actual girls as characters in my gay boys show, they are pretty amazing. And intense. I am okay with them showing up more to terrify the boys.
Itoshi no Muco
I really love this show. I really do. Muco is an amazing little dog, and while the human characters certainly add flavour to things, she essentially carries the whole show on her own. I’m not surprised that one of my friends immediately declared it anime of the year. It is certainly up there with its abundance of cuteness, and an amazing assortment of gags.
So yeah. Good show. Worth giving a look.
Still really fascinated by this one. It definitely has some of that X-Files feel to it, as it explores and highlights a new monster every episode. I’m not entirely sure where it’s going with it yet, but I really am fascinated enough to keep going, if only to see the various monster designs and behaviours.
Komori-san wa Kotowarenai
I know. I know I said I dropped this. I know.
But then someone told me it’s by the same people who did I Don’t Know What My Husband Is Saying, and I was compelled to give it a second chance.
It’s only 2 mins per episode, so it’s not like it’s a big deal even if it isn’t that good. And it’s had some very good moments, and the little girl with the long, black hair is great. Still amused by the idea that the two small girls are the same age as Komori-san though. She’s really tall and busty, something the show never lets us forget.
While the show depicts her as super-tall, anime characters tend to trend towards the really short, so even if she’s tall in comparison to them, I am not sure how tall that actually is. Is she like 160? 165? Maybe 170? By European standards, that’s still rather short, but I doubt the show will ever tell us her height outright.
One Punch Man
So good. So good!
Even though I’ve read all of the manga, and I’ll probably re-read it soon, it’s still great to see all of this animated. Definitely my favourite show of the season. Though I wouldn’t say it surpasses last season’s Overlord as my favourite of the year, it’s a very good candidate for second place.
Looking forward to seeing more of it, and seeing how far they get with this series. It’s really been chewing through the manga chapters quite fast, so there really might not be enough material to do more than one cour yet.
Onsen Yousei Hakone-chan
I’m still having fun with this one. It’s a bit dumb, and a bit ecchi, but it’s also quite endearing. Hakone’s bold and solid confidence charms me substantially, and I don’t even mind the parts where she gains enough power to regain her voluptuous adult form for a little bit.
I am having some misgivings about there now being more spirits showing up though, so it’s not a guarantee I’ll stay interested in the show, depending on what direction it takes with it all.
Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru
This seems to be colloquially known as either just Sakurako-san, or “The Bones anime” considering how it borrows from the Bones TV show.
I look forward to this one every week. The animation is good, the characters are interesting, the mysteries are neat, and it’s just a bit different.
There have been some hints of a more over-arching plot, so I am curious how that will turn out. Most of the episodes so far have seemed largely stand-alone though.
Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen
I still consider this the second best anime of the season. At the simplest level, it’s just a lot of fun. Even if it’s turned into a pseudo-harem show, and there’s a lot of scenes of characters in the hot springs seemingly just to have an excuse to show some skin, I don’t really mind that much, I find.
Haku is more interesting than I honestly expected he’d be, and Kuon is super-cute (and a little scary). I miss Big Bird though. She was awesome. Hopefully she’ll show up again.
There have some indications of something significant about the past Haku has forgotten, so we’ll see how that turns out.
I do wonder if watching the original Utawarerumono show would give some more context to things, but I haven’t really felt like I’ve been missing anything by just watching this one. Maybe I’ll go back and look at that at some later point.
There we go! That’s what I think of things so far. I would say that overall, Autumn is probably the strongest anime season this year. Summer had some really strong shows, but outside of those the rest of the assortment wasn’t especially good. So on average, I’d say the curve for Autumn is a little higher. And both Winter and Spring were largely… eh, especially compared to Autumn.
Last year’s Autumn season was also pretty strong, I seem to recall. I guess we’ll see if that trend continues next year.
In another 6 weeks or so, I’ll do the season wrap-up, and then I suppose I’ll do a “best of the year” compilation. Apart from the top two, maybe three, spots, I’ve not really decided what I want on the list yet. I’ll have to go back and look at all my season wrap-ups for the year to refresh my memory.