For the most part, I start off each season with about five anime, add a few in later on based on what I hear about them, and drop a few along the way. This time, I’m doing things a bit differently, and starting out with 18 shows. And I’m going to regret it.
First off, I’ll cover the five anime that caught my interest before the season started, the ones that I’d check out no matter what. And then I’ll get to the rest.
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works
Comparing the animation in this to the 2006 series is like comparing the drawings of a toddler to Van Gogh. Honestly, unless Ufotable change the story in some substantial way, I can’t see this being a disappointment. For reference, consider this – the greatest fault of the UBW movie from Studio DEEN was how rushed everything was, with the full route from the visual novel crammed into 90 minutes. The first two episodes of this TV series (the episode 0 prologue and episode 1) are each 45 minutes long, meaning that the basic introduction to the series is just as long as that movie was. Let that sink in for a bit. With this and the upcoming Heaven’s Feel movie(s), I have pretty much no motivation to return to the visual novel.
While I’m a bit disappointed that Kajiura Yuki isn’t doing the soundtrack like she did with Fate/Zero, the music seems solid so far. Besides that, which isn’t even a problem yet, I have no complaints. This is definitely the series I’m expecting the most from.
The sequel to Psycho-Pass comes from a new studio and a new writer, so I’m not sure how it will live up to the first season. Based on the first episode, it seems like it might be pretty good though. More than anything, I’m a bit confused about one character’s complete absence from the plot, especially after how the first season ended. Along with this, they’ve introduced a new and (presumably) unrelated antagonist.
I’d love to see this be equal to the first season, but there’s also going to be the movie next year, so who knows how the story will actually unfold. And Urobuchi will actually be writing the movie, so I have a feeling that will fall more in line with the first season.
Kiseijuu / Parasyte
Conceptually, this is pretty weird. An alien takes over Shinichi’s right arm, and he has to deal with living symbiotically and dealing with similar beings that have taken over other hosts. The anime looks good, and despite some rather gruesome visuals, there is no intrusive censoring, so that’s a huge plus. As of right now, my only complaint is that the soundtrack doesn’t seem like the most fitting. While dubstep can work well with the zaniness of something like JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, a more serious sci-fi/supernatural show like this doesn’t feel as appropriate.
But anyways, I’m looking forward to seeing how the story progresses. Based on what the manga readers say, it shouldn’t disappoint if it’s faithful to the source.
Amagi Brilliant Park
Kyoto Animation’s releases since Hyouka have been pretty lame. Visually, they are some of the best anime out there, especially where pretty young anime girls are concerned, but the stories… Well, I’m not expecting much here besides eye candy. The actual concept – working to restore a park run by actual supernatural beings – is quite strange, and the main characters are an odd duo too. Based on the first episode alone, it seems like it could go either way, but I’m at least willing to keep up with it in the hopes that it turns out worthwhile. I still don’t understand what a “slapstick harem” is supposed to be.
Sadly, this was written by the same person who wrote Full Metal Panic. We’ll never get a third season. :(
Grisaia no Kajitsu / The Fruit of Grisaia
Quite simply, I really liked the first episode. This is the second VN adaptation I’m keeping up with this season, but unlike Fate/Stay Night it’s something I knew absolutely nothing about.
I can sum up the first episode pretty easily – Shaft vibes and uber-widescreen. The character design is very reminiscent of Shaft’s designs for the Monogatari series (and the character designs from the game Akiba’s Trip), and the entire episode is in uber-widescreen (see above). And while his personality is different, the main character looks like an ahoge-less and tall Araragi. At this point, he’s my favorite part of the show, with his deadpan responses and general indifference to everything that happens around him. Also worth noting, there’s excessive fanservice for both genders in the show. Woohoo? It was a bit overboard in the first episode, so I hope they dial it back a lot.
This piqued my interest enough that I actually started the VN. I may post something on it once I finish.
And now, here are the other ones.
Inou-Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de / When Supernatural Battles Become Commonplace
When I heard this was going to be from Trigger (Little Witch Academia, Kill la Kill, Inferno Cop), I had to do a second take. It looks painfully generic, and after their past releases, they do this? More than anything else, this was just boring. No worthwhile comedy, no interesting action, and underwhelming animation (especially when the closest comparison is KyoAni’s Chuunibyou) come together for a bland first episode.
And even though it’s a superpower show, none of the abilities are even interesting. As far as superpowers go, I think Railgun/Index did it best, with Imagine Breaker, Attack Crash, Dark Matter, and plenty of others, along with explanations of how they actually function. Here it’s all standard fare, with time control, control of the elements, etc. Meh. I’ll watch the next few episodes, but unless it improves drastically, I’ll drop it.
This was bad in so many ways. Besides the laughably cheesy “lesson” learned during a Quidditch/lacrosse match, there was a baby in a box (see above), some ridiculous attempt at showing parallels of racism, and “not rape.” If I didn’t know better, I’d think this was a comedy. Adios, Cross Ange! It was nice knowing you.
Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken / I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying
This is a strange short. It follows a couple that don’t act like any typical couple, and… that’s about the extent of what happened. The characters seem more like friends than spouses, so I’m interested to see how else they spin jokes out of their relationship. It wasn’t anything amazing, but it’s short enough that I don’t mind keeping up with it. It’s not going to be like Pupa at least.
Magic Kaito 1412
Magic Kaito is a sort-of spin-off of Detective Conan – the manga came first but it’s generally treated as a side series. One of the first things I noticed was the old-school character design, with large sharp noses and eyes that are more angular than circular. The first episode was nothing special but did a good job of setting up the story, which I’m hoping doesn’t follow an episodic approach. While I have a feeling this show is aimed at kids and families (unlike the other stuff on this list), it does seem promising enough that I’ll try to keep up with it.
Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis / Rage of Bahamut: Genesis
What this anime lacks in interesting story it makes up for with great animation (when not using excessive CGI), unique character designs, and a good soundtrack. Having said that, it still failed to catch my interest in the ways similar shows have, even those that have turned out to be huge disappointments. As a whole it’s okay, but I think I’ll leave it on the back burner for the time being.
Ushinawareta Mirai wo Mitomete / In Search of Lost Future
This looks terrible. The animation frequently switches back and forth between traditional and CG and it is easily noticeable, distracting, and pointless. Even when not using the jilted CG animation, it doesn’t look particularly good, mainly because the females’ heads all look grievously misshapen. And for whatever reason, the student council thinks the astronomy club is most qualified to act as school security. To make matters worse, there’s nothing good about this – it seems like things may take a dark turn based on the ending, but I couldn’t care less.
Sora no Method / Celestial Method
The first episode of this show seemed like AnoHana with a greater emphasis on the supernatural. From the point of view of someone who didn’t remotely enjoy AnoHana, that is not a good thing. Nothing important really happened, besides a vague setup for what’s to come. There are lolis. It’s okay. I’m not going to drop it, but if it starts to dive headfirst into melodrama, I’m waving goodbye.
Also of note, the protagonist’s dad looks just like an adult Kamijou Touma.
So far, this seems like the only comedy of the season that’s consistently funny. The story follows Kokkuri, a deity aiming to fulfill the wishes of the young Kohina. The gags are generally effective, and any down-time only serves to strengthen the next joke. While not as funny as last season’s Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, I’m happy to keep up with this.
One of the characters also looks like a carbon copy of the Persona 3 protagonist – same hair, same general clothes, same red armband, and he carries around a gun. Coincidence? I doubt it.
Ore, Twintails ni Narimasu. / Gonna be the Twin-Tails!!
This show is about a guy obsessed with the twintail hairstyle, and he becomes a twintailed girl with the power to save twintails across the world. Yeah… Calling this bizarre doesn’t give it enough credit for its bizarreness. Whoever came up with clearly has some issues. And we all know it would be better if it involved ponytail girls instead of twintail girls.
Oddly enough, I’m looking forward to the next episode. I’m not sure if this will be really enjoyable or really stupid in the long-run, but I’m willing to stick with it.
Girlfriend (Kari) / Girl Friend BETA
This is a show about a girl in the “rhythmic gymnastics” club at her school. And that’s pretty much the entirety of the story so far. It’s pretty boring, as it’s a slice-of-life in quite possibly the blandest way possible. People run across each other, chat quickly, and move on. There aren’t any memorable events, there’s no comedy, and none of the characters seem particularly likable. The cast seems pretty large, and I really don’t think that’s going to work in the long-run.
The animation’s not very good, and the voice-acting is really distracting, especially when the obnoxious closet-pervert photographer senpai and token foreigner are talking to each other. And why is it that the foreigners in every anime/VN can speak fluently but always don’t know or misunderstand really basic stuff? It’s really annoying.
Denki-gai no Honya-san
When I heard there was going to be an anime about a store in Akihabara, I was a bit curious about what direction it would go. However, I didn’t expect a laid-back slice-of-life comedy. Unfortunately, the first episode wasn’t really that funny, but it’s enjoyable enough as an SOL. I’m probably not going to follow this one every week.
So… this is kind of lame. It’s yet another high school magic show, but it lacks redeeming qualities. The protagonist’s goal is basically to construct a harem so that he can save his childhood friend, and that’s all I got out of it. Well, maybe the sexy ninja techniques will make it worth watching. Probably not.
Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso / Your Lie in April
I’m always down for a music anime, so I’m happy to have this show fill the spot for the season. The story follows a middle schooler who lost the will to play piano after his mother’s death (his mother seemed like a bitch), but a blonde violinist comes into the picture and makes him rethink his decision. As of the first episode, the show is a very enjoyable SOL. The comedy is a bit hit-or-miss, but it doesn’t really drag the show down.
Visually, it’s a bit reminiscent of Chihayafuru, which is definitely a good thing. I also hope it handles drama in about the same way as Chihayafuru – instead of being a melodramatic mess, having the characters learn from the past and move forward without whining like little babies. That might be too much to ask though. Regardless, this seems like it has the potential to be the pleasant surprise of the season.
If there’s one comment I need to make about the season as a whole, it’s this – CGI NEEDS TO GO AWAY. FOREVER.