Summer 2014 Anime, Final Impressions

Summer 2014 Anime Season

As summer fun comes to an end, so too does this wonderful lineup of anime. Presented here is a list of final impressions for anime I watched from the Summer 2014 season, randomly organized. Possible spoilers may be discussed.


hanayamata

Hanayamata

Bring on the cuteness! Girls slice-of-life show, Yosakoi dance edition. It has the usual touchy-feely plot about friendship, but that’s not what I want to talk about. It’s the character design; very distinct in my opinion. The eye design carries a more pronounced “V” in the upper eyelid, sharper when compared to the smooth lashes of most others. And no, this isn’t about Tareme vs Tsurime eyes because all the girls are kind and innocent. Another thing to add is this anime’s use of colors, mostly vivid throughout with few darks. Seems a bit girly, but hey if I haven’t noticed this in similar shows, then I need to re-watch them.

Rokujouma no Shinryakusha

Invaders of the Rokujyouma?!

Overall, it’s a “one guy surrounded by a bunch of girls” situation, you know the word. So what makes this one stand out? Is it to have a relationship with the main guy, Satomi? Nope! It’s to be in possession of his tiny apartment room; all the invaders want to occupy the same room. Why? Various reasons… But really, things turn into a showcase of each invader having some sort of a conflict that Satomi eventually helps to solve. So yeah, a harem anime… But I did enjoy this anime for having a cast of beautiful girls with mostly new voice actors behind them. Catchy opening and ending songs add to their appeal. The mini arcs are unique to this narrative too.

Tokyo ESP

Tokyo ESP

40% cool esper battles, 60% contemplation about being an esper with responsibilities. This show had an interesting premise and the first couple of episodes definitely pulled me in. Similarities to a certain American comic were astounding, yet appreciated as inspirational material. But the faults of this show quickly arise, taking precedence on the “roles of having special powers in society” rather than battles. This becomes a source of much brooding, making for a slow moving plot where most would expect action scenes. Yes, the story is interesting and our main character does develop considerably, but the show didn’t entertain me as much as I wanted it to.

Barakamon

Barakamon

A feel good anime about determinations and country living. One of the few anime out there that does not revolve around a school setting! Also, using children to actually voice child characters! The approach to this anime is simple, Seishuu is a calligraphist from the city forced to move to an isolated island so he can repent for his sins reform his thinking, possibly inspiring him to create new works. While away from the luxuries of technology, our main character meets and greets a whole host of villagers eager to share their interests with him, none more so than Naru, the always curious little girl. Slowly, the interaction with the villagers changes Seishuu’s outlook on life and his work. It’s a wonderful show filled with good comedy and a cast of colorful personalities. The animation work isn’t too stunning but it’s made up for with such a kind setting and soft music. Give it a watch!

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun

Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun

This anime was a great watch! I loved the changes to gender roles in almost every character while still catering to a wide demographic. If you look closely, there are about four females in the mostly male cast. Yes, the character designs look shoujo but the plot and setup is not. The jokes are witty and regularly come out of nowhere. The concept for this anime is truly unique and much appreciated in a history of anime mired with mundane and overused situations either set for girls OR boys to enjoy. This time both can enjoy this anime! This show is innovative in that such barriers are broken and combined with good intentions.

Zankyou no Terror

Terror in Resonance

This anime excels above most to bring a suspenseful story with stunning animation. The approach to this anime is like most others but executed in fine detail. Everything from the setup of bombs to how a government reacts to an attack is detailed very finely, realistically, and almost told as a non-fiction would. This close connection to reality really brought in the suspense. Adding to this is the amazing attention to detail in the environment, objects, and characters. I’m not going to delve in to the story because that would lead to a discussion about the terrorist’s ideals, which is a major spoiler. Just watch and be amazed.

Locodol

School Girls tried being Local Idols [Locodol]

Another great example of an idol anime without the focus on songs, the other being WUG. This time the idols, just two of them, are hired by a small town as promotional representatives. This is in addition to the town’s mascot Uogokoro-kun, a light-blue creature with a trident in one hand and a fish on its back. The show is a slice-of-life comedy with friendship lessons; standard fair here. The anime looks to reflect the recent developments of local mascots representing the many small towns in Japan, all in the effort of promoting tourism. The anime has done a good job at this and looks to bring good exposure to the concept of local idols, rather than big, for-profit, idol groups. A welcome change for the betterment of my outlook on idol shows.

Sabagebu

Sabagebu! -Survival Game Club!-

Funny as hell! That Momoka, what a brutal and merciless personality she has! What this anime lacks in animation quality is made up for in great jokes and gun battles. Every episode brings little story but when conflicts occur, they are are often solved with firearms, to an overly-exaggerated effect. Sometimes the lead in to the battles is stupid, but that’s the nature of this anime. It may not be for everyone, but for some great laughs, be sure to watch this!

Jinsei

Jinsei

The school’s newspaper’s (those still exist?) advice column is run by a lively set of individuals each having conflicting opinions as to how problems should be approached. But much of this anime doesn’t stick to a question answer routine, rather it is used as a jumping board for whatever the column members decide to do in the episode. Things don’t really pan out much from this, maybe a bit of character development, but not as much as what Love Lab accomplished. It’s a nice comedy with average character design. Do watch it for the addicting opening and chibi ending songs.

Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance

Blade Dance of the Elementalers

Nothing innovative here. This light novel cannot break from the chain of typical plots, settings, and storytelling techniques. A lot of the characters are overused archetypes that will not impress anyone. It’s hard to find the unique in this anime, so I’ll just list down the tropes used and make your judgment from there: magical academy setting, tsundere main character, childhood friend, magically binding contracts, people transform into weapons, harem… It’s all typical in this anime. Avoid by all means, unless you like this kind of stuff.

Himegoto

Secret Princess Himegoto

This anime pulls out all the jokes related to male cross-dressing. Since it’s a short, so story is dropped for comedy. There is ecchi, of the male kind… Traps, traps everywhere!

Majimoji Rurumo

Majimoji Rurumo

The cutest, most aloof, little witch ever! If you’re looking for an all-around anime combining the best elements in comedy, romance, and drama, then this is the right anime for you. The story is about a guy entrusted with a witch-trainee to grant him wishes, in the form of 666 tickets. When the tickets run out, he dies. However, no plot pans out from this premise; the tickets are used sparsely throughout the show. The main attraction to this anime is the simplistic scenes and characters. Most of the time you can tell where each episode will be going, with a few surprises along the way. But don’t let that deter you from labeling it as a boring show. It was a pure entertainment experience under a cloak of modest animation and plot. And Rurumo, my choice as the cutest girl this season! Her slow learning handicap makes me feel empathy for her, and her honest emotions shown every now and then are just too cute!

Glasslip

Glasslip

I am thoroughly confused and bored with this show. In truth I was watching it for the art PA is known for. As for the story and pacing, dull is what I’ll call it. I probably missed some crucial points because of how slow this show was moving. It’s a melodrama for the most part, with minimal action, or even fast moving scenes, just a lot of conversations. I do like the relationship building between Sachi and Hiro, but they’re not the main characters! If someone could explain to me what was going on, please do. Otherwise, I recommend skipping this.

mahou shoujo taisen 02

Mahou Shoujo Taisen

I’m not sure what happened for this second half. In the end I tuned in just to look at the pretty characters in costumes. I would enjoy this if it were full-length and had better explanation behind the story.


Mid Season

Francesca

Hungry Zombie Francesca

I’ve only seen 5 episodes. I’ll watch more if when they are translated. It’s a little interesting short anime mostly about tourism for Hokkaido and the undead, I think… It’s all in CG, sometimes good looking but mostly an obvious fact.

Akame ga Kill p1

Akame ga Kill!

It’s not a bad adaptation, but it’s not a good adaptation either. Things in the anime world are harder and harder to adapt from the manga world. With restrictions already tight, showing nudity and gore is practically out of the question for broadcast. Having read the manga, Akame ga Kill certainly has its moments. But the anime version toned things down considerably. The story for the most part sticks to cannon, with a few rearrangements. Overall, the anime still is battle scene heavy for moving the plot along. The cast too is evenly balanced with both likeable and detesting characters. The show is up there in many people’s radars, so give it a watch when you can. I can’t wait for the latter episodes because things get really good!


Sequels

Space Dandy s2

Space Dandy 2nd Season

More Dandy madness! The second season did impress, but not as much as the first. Also, what many postulated was happening with Dandy has been confirmed in the finale; that there are multiple universes with multiple Dandys (Dandies?). Though this ending was hinted at a while back, most wanted a different outcome from what was shown. It may leave in a bad taste though, akin to feelings felt by gamers after seeing Mass Effect 3’s disappointing endings. It was a good run and happy to see in an English simulcast.

GunGale

Sword Art Online II

So what do we get with one of the most highly anticipated anime this season? Well, a fresh start. We know that there’s much more content from the original source than what was covered in the last season. Fans of the light novel will appreciate the change but I believe those who only watched the anime may find it weird to basically start from scratch again. Not that it’s bad, it’s just that most would want a continuation in the truest sense of the word. I do like the Gun Gale arc but its execution felt bewildering due to what built up before it. Here’s hoping the next arc of this show would yield better respects.

Yama no Susume s2a

Encouragement of Climb Second Season

With the cast firmly introduced, we now get to see some actual mountain climbing! Mind you, this is still a slice of life show. Our aspiring girls now have the opportunity to go on much larger mountain trails, even taking on Mount Fuji which is a challenging climb. Production for this anime has also improved with double the number of episodes from last time and an increased duration, from four minutes to almost fifteen. This anime as a wonderful opening sequence with so many colors, shades, and patterns all combined in a fluid-like manner while having pictogram feel to them, it’s stunning to watch and a joy to listen to! I wonder where the girls are headed off to next?!

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Filed under Final Impressions, Mid-season Impressions, Reviews, Summer 2014

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