Initial Impressions: Spring 2014

This season has Captain Earth. Automatically best season I’ve experienced since I returned to anime four seasons ago.

(Kyousougiga’s season could’ve been this, except I somehow neglected to watch Kyousougiga until the season was over and suffered through a completely shit season. Biggest regret.)

Anyway, I’m also planning on watching M3, but since it hasn’t aired yet (wow is this a super late-airing anime or what?) it’s excluded from this list. Might make a separate post for it when it finally airs… or not. Depends. If I don’t make one, just assume it’s turned out to be either really bland or really good. (Because if it was really bad, I would post just to complain about it.)

Akuma no Riddle:

Well animated and scripted, I guess. Still a completely nonsensical premise and shallow characters, courtesy of Kouga Yun (who has interesting ideas but never seems to bring them anywhere). Not expecting much of this at all, but, hey, at least there’s cute girls, right?

Baby Steps:

I am completely biased in Baby Steps’ favor because it is a sports series which is really all about tennis. And unlike other sports series where hard work pales in the face of talent (this was even A Thing in Prince of Tennis, if I remember correctly, where one of the opponents had worked enormously hard and the narrative built up his backstory and everything but then, of course, he gets defeated by Echizen ANYWAY and then some bullshit excuse was given in which the mangaka tried not to make the moral ‘talent trumps all’ but inadvertently did anyway), Baby Steps is ALL ABOUT the ordinary protagonist working hard and managing to beat those with talent and shit. And it’s great.

Black Bullet:

While the animation and aesthetics are really nice, if anything, the premise seems even worse now that it’s been animated. It’s just another one of those series where generic black-haired guy uses a little girl as a weapon to defeat evil monsters because objectifying women is completely OK if you want to save the world!! (“All cursed children are born female,” yeah thanks, narrative, we really needed that little tidbit.) Also, twenty chapters into the manga, and no one has yet to gain a personality, SO. Yeah, not expecting much from this one.

Captain Earth:

Captain Earth exists. All your arguments are invalid.

In all seriousness though, the first episode of Captain Earth somehow managed to exceed ALL of my expectations (and I had pretty darn high expectations). It was just so well-scripted with some really great character relationships already hinted at. Also, all the call-backs to Star Driver was GREAT. The enemy really seems like a more serious version of the Glittering Crux, and the mech designs are both nostalgic and original. I don’t know if it’s bias talking or what, but I just REALLY enjoyed this episode, and I’m super excited to watch the rest of this. It’ll definitely be a close-contender for anime of the year, at this rate.

Fuuun Ishin Dai Shogun:

WHY DID I DO THIS TO MYSELF. WHY DID I CHOOSE TO WATCH THIS. I was originally going to pass since haha more Sengoku- and post-Sengoku-era bullshit?? No, I had enough after Nobunaga the Fool. But, then I checked out the production staff, and hey they looked all right — actually, they looked pretty good?? So then I decided to torture myself because I am easily convinced with anime originals. But just from one episode, I regret my decision so much. Why is everything animated like a generic eroge?? Why do all the women have big boobs?? Why are none of the jokes remotely funny and extremely offensive?? Why do I wish the Sengoku-era and the Tokugawa Shogunate never happened so people would STOP MAKING SHITTY ANIME ABOUT IT??

Hitsugi no Chaika:

While I was originally going to pass on this, I soon found out that Ichirou Sakaki wrote the original light novels, and since I had reallyyyy enjoyed his Scrapped Princess, I went ahead and tried out the manga. And while the incest was ew icky please no, the worldbuilding was really good and it gave me a lot of Scrapped Princess vibes, so, yeah, I decided to watch this, and I’m really glad I did! Although the first episode wasn’t really entirely gripping or anything, it did cut out a lot of the stuff I found gross about the series (especially most of the incest; thank god, Bones, you guys truly are the savior of anime). So I actually found myself enjoying it quite a bit, especially because Bones really knows how to animate magic circles. (God, I love magic circles.) The opening is also my favorite of the season, on pure aesthetics alone. Definitely looking forward to more of this!

Kindaichi Case Files R:

I read the first few volumes of the original manga, but then promptly forgot about it. I decided to pick this up on a whim, even though I never watched the original anime, and I don’t regret it, but it’s really a very straightforward and typical detective story. It’s nice, though, to actually watch a mystery series in which the creators still expect the audience to try and guess the mystery themselves, instead of the now-common practice of having super convoluted mysteries that no one except the scriptwriters can solve. Still, Kindaichi is really a series that was scripted in the past, as the main heroine Mizuki continues to be damselled (and even after being saved, gets put on a bus until the conclusion of the mystery, basically).

Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei:

Oh god, this is even worse than the manga, and I didn’t even know that was possible. The entire story just screams GENERIC with its random incest and black-haired male lead who is a super special snowflake and can’t use magic that well but is a prodigy in basically everything else. Its understanding of discrimination is so shallow that it’s almost physically painful to witness it in the narrative, and the worldbuilding is stiff and awkward, growing out of infodumps instead of actual storytelling. Also everyone has the personalities of a cardboard box. The anime makes this all 9000 times worse by making the dialogue so stilted and awkward that, when you’re not getting infodumps about the world, you’re getting infodumps about other characters’ personalities. Truly, an anime that brings “telling” instead of “showing” to the next level by showing little to nothing.

Mekakucity Actors:

Watching this reminded me of why I don’t like Shaft. Shinbo’s way of storytelling has never appealed to me, and in Mekakucity Actors, it becomes even more apparent that Shinbo uses more on aesthetics as a crutch than as an actual facet of storytelling. Instead of being edgey and cool, the constant switching between artistic styles seems overdone and amateur and does not contribute at all to the story. The twenty minutes spent on random and useless banter that adds absolutely nothing (not even fleshing out of personalities) doesn’t help either. It’s really obvious to me here that Shinbo really doesn’t seem to know what KagePro is about. He fudges character interactions and plot direction, and he makes weird adaptation choices that detract from the original source. Not expecting much from this.

One Week Friends:

YES. GOOD ADAPTATIONS. YES. This, this is a good adaptation of the source material! It encompasses all the sweet and heartwarm of the original, all the while adding its own touches with animation and song choices. The OP and ED are perfectly suited to its atmosphere, and the anime adapts key points of the manga without rushing (or dragging on). Really hoping they can keep this up until the end!! (I wonder where they’ll find the cut-off point to end this, hm.)

Selector Infected Wixoss:

So, after NagiAsu, I decided to give Mari Okada more chances, since maybe she’s just bad at the love polygon stuff, but, well, Wixoss isn’t making me think better of her, honestly. I mean, I might’ve been relatively all right with this series, but there’s this really weird twincest thing going on and with how seriously they’re treating it, it is honestly really squicking me out — power dynamics, people! Also, all the girls really have no personality so far, and their wishes are really… shallow, for lack of better words. They could be good wishes, sure, but Mari Okada simply isn’t exploring them in any in-depth or enlightening ways. I’m hoping it’ll get better, but since it’s basically yet another one of those animes designed to advertise a card game, I honestly doubt it.

(I am also still watching Nobunaga the Fool. And it is still godawful. That is all.)

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