Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Fall 2015 Anime Round-UP

Things are finally looking up guys! It’s true that all of the shows I was most excited for this season were sequels and, for the third season in a row I had no carry over shows, but I actually had more shows than I knew what to do with when it came to trying them out! It’s true that there have been a lot of really fantastic shows in this year, working out my top whatever list for the end of the year will actually be hard for once, but for me everything has been either great or terrible, there haven’t been as many middle-of-the-road, nice shows that I usually count on to fill up my time. You know, the shows where you think about them a few years later and go “oh yeah that was good, I should rewatch it someday”.

Although that might’ve been the best for me now with how crazy my schedule has gotten, oh well. In any case, here’s what I’ve been checking out over the past week:

Beautiful Bones -Sakurako's Investigation-
I checked out this one since my anthropology friends were practically drooling over it but, since I'm not that big into bones, this might not be the show for me or my stomach. If it ends up being a show that's focuses a lot on mysteries then I might enjoy it but if not, eh. The characters didn't grab me that much, I was a little miffed that the show was billed to me originally as two characters in a relationship and at least one of them was an adult and yet we have a high schooler who acts as a "minder" to an adult woman with the mind of a child, and the atmosphere/visuals didn't really grab me either. It is funny to see how colorful this show is compared to the other mystery show this season, The Perfect Insider, but my favorite mysteries are the ones with a cool atmosphere and whip-smart stories. I'll give this show a few more episodes to see how it goes but this might be an early drop.
See it on: Crunchyroll

Comet Lucifer
While my initial impression of the preview was "oh this is a Eureka 7 rip-off," after seeing the first two episodes I'm not so sure the show is trying to rip-off E7 so much as it's trying to be a show like that, an adventure-action show with shady military organizations, loyal friends, a mysterious girl/technology, and a reason to save the world. Which is exactly the kind of show I like the idea for but usually not the execution, although we're off to a good start here. The show casually shows off it's setting without bothering to explain anything, there's not a single info dump in two episodes, and yet the only confusion I had was if one of the girls was being pursued by her fiancee or her brother (I have been told NOT to say "what if he's both!" but hey, anime, gotta consider that option). The characters are a little bland so far but I'm willing to give the show at least a few more episodes to see how it wants to flesh everything out and if there's something original beneath all of the familiar.
See it on: Crunchyroll

Concrete Revolutio
So far JoseiNextDoor’s comment that this show is “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. mixed with Samurai Flamenco after it lost it’s goddamn mind” is probably the most accurate description of the show so far. Oh SamFlam, Mangaglobe may be gone now but I think we’ll be using you as a measuring stick for insane superhero stories for a long time to come.

In some ways however this show reminds me more of Gatchaman Crowds than SamFlam; when I talked about the very first season of GC I mentioned that in its second episode it did what normally takes an entire movie or tv season: the characters questioned why they were heroes and what they were going for. ConRevo is ballsy and tries that in the very first episode but so far it's not working as well. Here the show seems to be operating with a significant time-skip, either five or seven years, and so it jumps back and forth within the same episode and doesn't pull it off as well as say Baccano! does. So far it's done this in two episodes to introduce two new characters, Kiko and Fuurota, and how they both start out seeing the Superhuman Bureau as this place which fights evil and saves good guys but have become disillusioned about it. But, even after these episodes we still know very little about either of these characters, we know more about their powers and who they are so these "reveals" just aren't connecting. Plus, while this may be a shock to the characters, it's no shock to the audience that there are shades of gray hiding somewhere in this groovy-looking, over-saturated pastiche, honestly the show is moving so fast that it feels like it's only 13 episodes instead of the already-announced 25. I'm sticking with it for now since I do want to see where it's going but I can't really recommend it yet, I'll come back to it during the Winter round-up and see where it's at then.

See it on: Funimation, Daisuki (with behind the scenes videos)

Garo: Crimson Moon
To reiterate what everyone probably already knows, this iteration of Garo isn’t connected to either the live action franchise or the previous anime season so you are free to jump in now and see how the water is. You might be lost on a few terms so a basic rundown: Horrors are the monsters here, they come from another dimension and sometimes they’re the villains and sometimes it’s humans who have made a contract with them of sorts (very much of the “do you want X? I will give you X in return for everything” kind, not a formal thing). Horrors are hunted by the Makai Knights and Makai Alchemists, although it’s usually the knights who land the killing blow (alchemists can be male or female but knights are always male, although their hereditary armor can pass down a female bloodline if needed!). Simple enough right?

I will echo what I’ve seen other people saying and say that yes, this season feels like it is playing far safer than last season in all respects. The first thing you’ll notice is that the art is totally different, while the backgrounds are lovely and have a textured-paper-like appearance, the character designs are far less stylized and normal. It took me a while to work out why they looked so odd but it’s the shading, in the first Garo anime there’s exactly one scene where we see the characters in full, bright daylight, otherwise there is always heavy shading or a light colored filter over the scene, plus everything seemed a little desaturated, so seeing such bright colors was really weirding me out! So far all of the horrors have been 2D animation, not CGI, and even the CGI on the makai knight armor is less shiny so it stands out less, visually it’s completely different! The set-up is quite different as well, last year's Garo had a bombastic first episode where it establishing all of the characters, their goals, and what their downfalls will be right from the get-go; by comparison we barely learn anything about the characters in this episode other than their names, that Raikou is having trouble with his armor, and that Seimei is the badass of this team. Honestly at this point Seimei is what has me the most interested in the show but then again, when MAPPA announced at Otakon that Crimson Moon would have “a gender-bent Abe no Seimei as the main character” that’s what grabbed my attention the most so I guess that’s to be expected! Hopefully the next episode is stronger, it felt like the show was getting more comfortable with itself during the fight scene at the end, since otherwise this felt like a fluff episode, not a first episode attention grabber.
See it on: Funimation, hulu

Haikyuu!! 2
The volleyball boys are back! And honestly that's all I really need to see here, HQ remains as solid and fun as it was the first time around, it hard to not watch this show with a silly grin on your face and I love it for that. Go watch it folks, it's one of the best sports shows out there and if you like character-driven shows at all this should be right up your alley.

See it on: Crunchyroll

K: Return of Kings
I’ve got a review of the movie coming up this week that will go into more detail on it but yeah, you need to see the movie first. The movie takes place right before the second season and it’s technically more accurate to say that this season is a sequel to the movie (which was a sequel to the first season) and while you might not be lost per say if you don’t watch it, come on. If you’re really that interested in the second season of “the most anime of anime” shows then you should be chomping at the bit to watch the movie too. For newcomers, this is honestly one of the most "anime anime" I've ever seen with superpowered people in Tokyo, heavy fujoshi baiting, and a show that's trying to look cool when it clearly didn't have the budget/time/etc to sustain it. It's a love it or be confused by it show, also you need a high tolerance for colored filters since this show puts even ConRevo to shame in the "this doesn't always work" visuals category.
See it on: hulu

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans
Holy crap, it’s Aldnoah/Zero if it had actually been competent, that’s not a phrase I thought I’d utter with a Mari Okada series! So far this has been a rather solid start, it's not connected to any other Gundam series so even someone like me who hasn't seen any of the Gundam proper can get into it. We're in a future where Mars is semi colonized and still under Earth rule, Martians want Mars for the Martians, Earth wants to hold onto this insane resource, and our main characters, the child soldiers on Mars, just want to stay alive. But with someone out to kill the girl who has just hired them to escort her to Earth, and Okada driving this crazy ship, even this relatively simple wish is going to go through some tough times on the way. See it on: Crunchyroll, Daisuki, Funimation, GundamInfo youtube channel

Noragami Aragoto
Much like HQ, hurray Noragami is back! It's hard to remember that I was initially hesitant about this show considering how smoothly put together the first season was and the show just glides back in as if there was never a break. We are still in the land of the rising sun that is beset by phantoms in the shadows and protected by gods and their regalia, for a price if you're a practically no-name god like Yato anyway. And we still follow Hiyori as well, sweet middle school student who has recently developed the unnerving habit of slipping out of her body to go on adventures with Yato and Yuki. She's still badgering Yato to fix this, although I'm sure she'll miss being able to pull off wrestling moves once it happens, but in the meantime things are afoot in the harem household of the god Bishamon and it looks like the choas there might spill over and taint Yato and Yuki as well. So, sounds like it should be a good season!
See it on: Funimation, hulu

The Perfect Insider (Subete ga F ni Naru or Everything Returns to F)
And so we have our second mystery show of the season and the second mystery show on noitaminA in a row, that’s unusual but unlike Ranpo Kitan I actually want to watch the second episode of this show which is a much better sign. Unlike Beautiful Bones I actually really like the characters here, or rather I like Moe and so far that's enough. She's not a complex character but she is multi-faceted, sweet but dry to her teacher-crush, defensive and sarcastic to strangers, and surprisingly sharp when facing down a genius on her own grounds. Much like Beautiful Bones I'm really not sure where the "mystery" in this show is going to go but having heard praise of the actual book this is based on I'm hopeful that I'll enjoy it!  
See it on: Crunchyroll

For those shows I didn’t cover but might try later, I’m sure I’ll get to Seraph of the End when I need a marathon show but I just don’t have time for it right now. Heavy Object might sink or it might swim so I’m holding off for the moment, same with Mr. OsomatsuDance With the Devils might turn into a silly group-watch (it’s a musical!), and while One Punch Man is universally beloved I’m just not that interested in it right now so it’s also going on the back burner. Which means that right now my crammed full watching schedule looks like this:

Sunday: Gundam, ConRevo, Comet
Monday: Nothing, probably catching up from Sunday!
Tuesday: Nothing again hurray backlog day!
Wednesday: Beautiful Bones (on the brink)
Thursday: The Perfect Insider
Friday of sequels: K2, Noragami 2, Garo 2
Saturday: Haikyu 2


Guess I won’t have much time to get through more of my backlog this year after all huh? It's a weirdly unbalanced schedule but I think I think I can make it work, also means I'm less likely to take on new shows considering how much I already have. This working girl doesn't have enough time for anime anymore dammit!

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