I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling pretty good about anime right now.
Still, doesn’t mean I can’t be a heartless bastard and drop shows left and right, which is what’s happened this week (by those weird coincidences that pop up sometimes, this just happened to fall around the 3-ep mark, which seems to me indicate why such a “rule” exists in the first place). As it looks like my final list has settled down, this’ll also be the last Spring 2014 impressions post I’ll be doing.
Akuma no Riddle: After my declaration last week that I wasn’t going to continue this show…I did anyway. Episode 3 rolled around to give us our first big fight, and pretty much there was no huge action scenes. I originally was under the impression this would be quite the action-y show, but instead what it’s opted for is a lot of “OH SNAP HEAVY IMPLICATIONS” dialogue and short bursts of “OH SNAP HARU’S IN TROUBLE” type of thing, rather than a more free-for-all brawl. Plus some sexual tension — that too. There’s obviously some DARK BACKSTORIES involved and each of the characters are quite ridiculous, but it’s a little bit boring to me. Dropped.
Baby Steps: Ei-chan has to be one of the oddest protagonists of a shounen sports manga. A perfectionist straight-A student (almost to the point of OCD I’d say), he transitions over to tennis after he learns just how much he loves hitting the “sweet spot”. It’s a story as much about the odd one out and about discovering yourself and what you’re truly passionate about. It’s a good premise, but for me there’s three main problems that make me not really buy into the show. 1) Ei-chan’s character is not actually portrayed consistently. He sorta does some things really thoroughly, in line with his characterization, but then completely bypasses others. Granted, the situations where he doesn’t do this are those where he’s gotten advice from his crush Natsu (and thus somewhat understandable), but it’s still a little bit jarring. 2) His hair actually bothers me. It’s the strangest thing. 3) The pacing. I’d forgotten the reason why I don’t watch many shounen sports shows: they’re just really really slow. It’s been three episodes, and Ei-chan has yet to play (or even watch) a full game of tennis. While slow pacing or a slow start isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just not my personal preference. Dropped.
Black Bullet: The second episode was this really bizarre thing that does what lots of people hate but that you only really can find in anime: mixing DEEP themes and situations like intense discrimination with completely NOTDEEP anime tropes. Plus just nonsensical situations and odd monologues where no one else talks. It’s still a fine show for me though. Continuing.
Captain Earth: There’s some really cool ideas going on with this show. The double-narrative and the Kil-T-Gang are intriguing, as is much of the backstory and environment which has been left unexplored. But there’s still just too much nonsensical name-dropping with no explanations to keep me interested. For me, this isn’t really an example of a good “show, not tell” type of sci-fi show: it’s just a lot of made-up terms thrown around to try and achieve the same effect without really accomplishing much of anything. Dropped.
Date a Live II: New girls, same
boobs plot. Continuing.
Haikyuu!!: Regardless of how beautiful this show is, it just has the same problem as I have with Baby Steps: the pacing is just slow (although it’s still almost an order of magnitude faster here than there), and since not much has happened (I want to see some volleyball!) I’ve lost interest. There’s been some good character development already though, and the cast looks great, so for anyone who likes sports anime, this is probably the show to be watching this season! Dropped.
JoJo: Walk like an Egyptian. Brilliant. Continuing.
Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara: Despite intending to drop this, I’ve now picked it back up. Everything I said in the previous week still holds, although I’ve warmed up to the show a little bit. Continuing.
Daimidaler: This show is meant to be dumb by even anime standards, so I find it kind of hilarious (just like this) when people bash this show for doing exactly what it advertised it would do. Continuing.
Mahouka: Tatsuya is Jesus. Continuing.
Mekaku City Actors: I like Kagepro, so I’ve been happy with how things look so far. I did want to chime in here though with a quick concern I’ve recently developed, which is people essentially going “Shinbou’s done this a million times before, now I’m bored because this is nothing new”. In recent months, I’m starting to shift over into the “Shinbou is deconstructing anime and media” camp (is that a camp?), and I think his repeated use of similar shots, movement, sound effects, and aesthetic symbols (among others) is actually an attempt to construct an entire symbolic series of aesthetic practices and associated meanings centered around their very deconstruction. Not sure if this justifies SHAFTing everything that comes his way, although I think it’s a good fit for both Nisekoi and MCA given their nature. Continuing.
No Game No Life: I unabashedly love this show. Everything I said last week remains the same, although I also dropped some comments over at Behind the Nihon Review about how I feel the shows portrays hikikomori/NEETs. In addition, wanted to chime in quickly on a complaint I’ve heard, where because NGNL somehow endorses wish-fulfillment escapism it therefore is a horrible show. Personally, I don’t think wish fulfillment and escapism is all that bad in and of itself (and I don’t think LNs entirely fall prey to this either), although obviously it can become pretty bad. In a similar vein, I don’t think you can really “critique” shows like Mahouka, SAO, or NGNL (and many other LN adaptations, for that matter) for being “escapist” except where it disagrees with some of your personal biases. It’s somewhat related to some of the issues surrounding hero worship in Samumenco and is a complicated issue that I think hits many of the same ideas. Anyways, I’m of the opinion it’s still QUITE EXCELLENT. Continuing.
One Week Friends: It’s nice and fluffy, although the weird almost-forced drama in the last episode left me a bit puzzled. Continuing
Ping Pong: This show is absolutely gorgeous. Unlike Baby Steps and Haikyuu!!, here we really have a dynamic cast of characters who have been amazingly well characterized within the span of only two episodes. Yuasa has really won me over here. Continuing.
Sidonia: My impressions after the first episode were justified — this looks to be great. Not only are we seeing real PTSD symptoms and more great indirect worldbuilding without all the jargon-y nonsense (ahem Captain Earth ahem), but it looks like things won’t be slowing down anytime soon. The CG still perplexes me. Continuing.
Soredemo: Nothing much to say here beyond last week. Continuing.
Still continuing Nisekoi and Seki-kun.
Are there any shows that I should be picking up on this last time around that I’m not watching (e.g. Histugi no Chaika)? Any other thoughts on shows that I’ve either dropped or am continuing?
Concerning Nisekoi, Marika actually terrifies me, which is actually great, because we see all the different types of “love” that are often written about represented here: Chitoge’s tsundere “slowly coming together” affection, Onodera’s “fairy-tale” crush, and Marika’s childhood “I’ve loved you ALL THIS TIME” fixation. Plus the side “I WAS PRAISED” blind adoration from Tsumugi. Not only is the show filling out/checking all the typical boxes, but it’s making sure those boxes really are representative of something. Again, given it’s “false” nature and how it really is deconstructing “love”, I think it’s a great fit for Shinbou, who’s gone to work deconstructing the entire show too!