Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Winter Anime 2015 Round-UP

Sorry for the delay here guys, more headaches and a very stubborn wig to detangle but that's a story for another place. So it's time to start another season of anime, here I was thinking "oh it's winter and barely anything looks interesting, good that will give me a chance to catch up on my backlog!" and nope, there are too many shows again! It's also the first season in at least a year where I potentially have a show to watch every single day, even if I do sign up for crunchyroll and Funimation memberships (since they're now back in my budget range) trying to watch everything for APR each week is going to be murder.....

On the continuing show front, even I seem to have dropped Sailor Moon Crystal by now since I just couldn't muster up the enthusiasms for a biweekly show, especially when both the art and the writing/directing were continually inconsistent, I'm rather confused with what's going on at Toei. I'm also madly behind on Happiness Charge Pretty Cure but I'm going to try and catch up with that one, I'm hoping that the vocabulary will be just basic enough I can use it for Japanese practice as well. I am also semi-stalled on Garo, I was still enjoying it the last time I watched but I just can't muster up the enthusiasm for it right now so I'm going to let it sit for a while and then marathon since that usually works best for my enjoyment.

As for shows I'm caught up on, Yona of the Dawn is still a little slow but very solid now so I'm happily continuing with it (I still can't believe the show even got an anime, I'm still pretty thrilled), Gundam Build Fighters TRY isn't quite as good as the first season but it's about 90% as good so I'm happy with it (and it has a ton of female reoccurring, fighter/builder supporting characters which is awesome, especially since the people I talk with the most about this show are all women), and Log Horizon  is trundling along quite happily as well since it has finally (finally!) reached the meta plot, not that I expect that to really come into play for a while yet. I'm also trying to pick up two other continuing shows, I've started Shirobako and am really enjoying it so far and I'm hoping I'll have time to start Shonen Hollywood as well (since I really need a workplace drama and an idol show to fully round out my anime watching diet).

Assassination Classroom: To be completely honest, I'm both excited for this series yet I don't really care how it ends up. Part of it is because the director, Seiji Kishi, has made not-so-great shows as of late so I don't want to get my hopes up, plus I'm sad they changed some of the cast. But my real reason is because I wanted this to get made so that there would be enough demand to get the manga published in the us and that's already happened! So, with that in mind I was still bothered that this episode wasn't as strong as it could have been, I felt like it focused on odd things (it should be a loooooong time before anyway, Nagisa especially, uses the word bloodlust) and seemed to ignore other details (I'm not sure it was clear that Korosensei was angry because the plan used Nagisa instead of one of the guys who planned it). Hopefully it'll get stronger since I certainly do want to enjoy the show, although I'm really not a fan of that opening song, especially that half-assed dance in it. 

This is a funimation show and can be watched on their website or on hulu.

Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE: One of my first 12 days of anime posts was a little exchange it had with a friend which involved a great deal of snarking over gbf, I told her I was doing it and we agreed that we needed more shows to sit and snark over these days. So we decided on this show, it was something we would maybe check out anyway and a parody can only be improved with a sarcastic mindset. I was a little disappointed however, this wasn't quite as funny as I had hoped and if it wasn't for this then I would have dropped it t make more room in my schedule. The show seems to be struggling to fill time already and if we seriously have a rambly "hey why is it?" monologue each way to determine the monster of the week then I will be very grumpy. I was happy that the boys seemed to adjust to their new status quickly enough and not drag out the complaints too long. Hopefully they'll be able to find some new gags each week, the magical girl genre is big enough that it shouldn't be a problem!

This is a funimation show and can be watched on their website or on hulu.

Death Parade: I actually did a full write-up of this show over on OASG so go give it a look, it also has someone not me talking about Idolm@ster so you get bonus idols too!

This is a funimation show and can be watched on their website or on hulu.

Durarara!! X2 Shou: How in the world has it already been 5 fives since this show ended? I mean, it's true that the last special for it came out a year later, I continued reading translations of the novels for about a year and a half after that and did cosplay of it a year later but it still really doesn't feel like it's been this long. Considering how well it sold, I think it was Brain Base's best seller of all time and averaged around 10-12k, and that it's now being made by the exact same staff but they've created their own studio, there's definitely a story behind this one but alas I doubt we'll ever find out why. I'm also curious and nervous how the show plans to cram so many novels into three cour, the current plan is to air one cour in winter 2015, the second this summer, and then the third one in winter 2016 which will certainly help the staff but they still have to fit in about three volumes of material into each cour and the first, two cour season was three volumes plus only one or two episodes with expanded material, it's going to be a really tight fit! This first episode is a bit slow as it reintroduces viewers to Ikebukuro (it even snuck a recap of the first show in the opening just like old times) but I've already noticed a few bits of foreshadowing that I remember from the novels (and noticed a few references to other Brains Base shows in the background, as well as the actual product placement to crappy light novels and Samurai Flamenco of all things). Watching this show again is reminding me of just how much I enjoyed it the first time, I immediately wanted to listen to the original opening and ending songs again (which I amazingly remembered after five years!) and it's not going to take much convincing from my friends to get me cosplaying from the show again*. I still remember a number of details from the novels so I'm not as optimistic about the plot as I wish I was ("I'm really surprised an underclassman asked me to show him around" OH FUCK THIS CHARACTER) but I will hope it's all handled with grace and a fun ride none the less. Preferably with more van chase scenes.

This show, an Aniplex pick-up (the original was one of their firsts!), can be watched on Crunchyroll. 

Gourmet Girl Graffitti: This show was just rather dull. I had hoped that the food would be enough to keep me interested but that didn't do the trick and I just found a and b to be rather wooden, boring characters. In fact the most interesting thing for me was this little blog entry I read on anime diet which mentions other, sexualized food reviewers, we don't have that at all in the us even in the nichiest of niches and I'm rather unsurprised that someone has done it. So, with all of that in mind, dropped.

This show, I believe it's Aniplex, can be watched on Crunchyroll. 

Maria the Virgin Witch: I didn't dislike the show but I wasn't wholly sure what it was about either. The setting is the French side of the 100 years, French and English war and we follow Maria, a witch who hates war and is trying to stop the battles. There are other witches too but I couldn't tell if they were trying to profit from the war (like many of the peasants), hence why they were exasperated with Maria, or if they were also trying to stop it and are just unhappy that she keeps doing thing like summoning dragons. And the show is just weird like that, it seems like it could be interesting but it doesn't seem to know where to focus and I feel like it didn't explain enough of it's own situation yet. I'm hesitantly gong to follow it but it's not going to be high on my to watch list yet, especially after seeing this post on episode two on Mage in a Barrel since I can see those things easily bothering me (I'm not longer Catholic but I'll still defend the church when someone is horribly wrong about it's beliefs/teachings, I do still truly believe that there is a lot of good in it and my separation from it stemmed from it's non-Biblical practices^).

This is a funimation show and can be watched on their website or on hulu.

The Rolling Girls: I've seen a lot of other titles bandied around as people talk about this show, kill la kill, Kyousogiga, Yozakura Quartet, and I'd like to add two more if my own to the mix, Magica Wars and Zvezda. I didn't think that either of those shows were any good honestly but the fighting and division of Japan, in MW there were just mascot magical girls for each region while Zvezda was also set in the aftermath of some crazy blown out war and all three of them have had some similarly crazy outfits and fights to boot. To be fair, this show is actually most similar to Yozakura which I've actually been watching lately (if Hana no Uta and the ovas were streaming legally I would have finished it already!) and I might put it aside and pick it back up when I finish that show. Part of it is since I try to watch different shows but part of it is because Hana no Uta just clicked with me better. They both have some pretty messy exposition that needs to be laid out fast but Rolling Girls starts out with an info dump and practically says "and there's even more, relevant stuff but augh let's get on with it already!" so in a weird way it feels like not much was explained at all. The fights did look cool but I also felt like they were too long, plus, not only am I a little wary that Studio Wit can keep up this level of production consistently, again I preferred Studio Tatsunoku's action scenes in quartet far more. So this isn't a full drop from me but it's pretty low on the to watch lost each week. 

This is a funimation show and can be watched on their website or on hulu.

Yatterman Night: For me this was the strongest first episode of the season, the conflict, setting, and characters were cleanly introduced and the show managed to convince me that even though I don't have any familiarity with the original Yatterman show that I can enjoy this one. We've had a number of shows like that over the past few years, Gatchaman Crowds and Casshern Sins from about five years ago were also similar where they made series that weren't true sequels to an older show but weren't full reboots either and still newcomer friendly, I think I like this trend better than simple reboots. Honestly there's not much else for me to say, I think that Leopard is the perfect age to be the main character in this show, that there were many little moments where I thought "this must be a reference but I can still enjoy it", and I'm looking forward to continuing with this show.

This is a funimation show and can be watched on their website or on hulu.

Yurikuma Arashi: I'm not quite sure what to think of this show yet, on the one hand the first episode was a bit underwhelming with just how much information it threw at me, yet on the other this show would have to be amazingly bad for me to drop it (and Psycho Pass 2 has proven that there are some shows I won't drop no matter how terrible it gets so there). Between watching this first episode and reading a slew of write-ups on it I feel like I'm starting to get a grasp on some of the symbolism or at least some of the potential interpretations of the situation. I'm also wondering if this might truly be a horror series, it would be unexpected but since I've also seen people pointing out all of these visual references to specific horror movies in the show (sadly these aren't in one convenient place, someone just needs to do a write-up each week with all of the best reading for the show) I am wondering. So I'm not exactly hooked but I am totally onboard with this show, from the very cute bear designs (I'm struck by how similar the art style is to Penguindrum but how the setting itself looks totally different, even the color schemes since this one is dominated by more pinks/reds, greens, and black while Penguindrum was blues and purples and Revolutionary Girl Utena was pinks, white, generally pastel and less black) to the strange yet repeated many moments of the show. And if I ever end up being current with this show I swear I will compile all of the good reading for it each week in one place for future viewers.

This is a funimation show and can be watched on their website or on hulu.

Despite the sheer number of shows I tried, none of them had a super strong wow-me first episode which is a first. Yatterman Night was a really good one but even that didn't leave me immediately craving for more,  I hope at least a few of these grow on me! So currently my watching schedule stands at Maria and Yatterman on Sunday, Yurikuma on Monday, Yona on Tuesday, GBFT on Wednesday, Shirobako once I catch up on Thursday, AssClass, Garo, and Death parade Friday, and finally Log Horizon, DRRR X2, and maybe The Rolling Girls on Saturday with cute magical boys whenever my friend and I find time.

*in case anyone's really curious, Erika because the van gang are the best characters aside from Celty hands down
^well, that and because I couldn't stand to become like my youth group leader and have gay friends but say nope, no marriage for you. Thank goodness since I ended up being queer and that would've been frustrating to backtrack on.

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