Winter 2014 Midseason Report

While I’ve only been watching simulcasted anime for three seasons, the Winter 2014 season is probably the weakest I’ve seen. This is mostly due to a number of very inconsistent shows. I’ve seen batches of shows that were consistently excellent or consistently mediocre or consistently bad, but Winter 2014 has brought many shows that just can’t make up their mind if they want to be good, bad or just run-of-the-mill. It’s a frustrating phenomenon, which makes those shows that are consistently good much more valuable to us viewers. So, which shows are falling more on the good side than on the bad? Read on to find out. Here’s a hint:

Transcending the Medium

Hunter x Hunter: If you aren’t watching Hunter x Hunter, you are missing out on genius in action. Genius writing, genius direction, genius voice acting, genius music, genius animation. Just everything. Seriously. There is nothing approaching Hunter x Hunter right now.

Really Good

Silver Spoon: Even the wonderfully consistent Silver Spoon has had its bumps this season, but they’ve been smaller and more infrequent than anything else. Hachiken is still a compelling protagonist, and the romance with Mikage is FINALLY progressing beyond just subtle looks and Hachiken’s daydreams (although those are happily still around).

Engaged to the Unidentified: Surprising though it may be, Engaged to the Unidentified does belong here for being consistent. It’s perhaps been even more even-keeled than Silver Spoon, but the content is less compelling. That being said, Engaged to the Unidentified is an excellent example of how good execution can make a basic concept a good watch.

Kill la Kill Mot

This is what Kill la Kill is like right now.

Witchcraft Works: Alternately awesome, over-powered, hilarious and always pretty, Witchcraft Works is my pet anime of the season. Kagari is one of my favorite female protagonists in recent memory & Honoka is gradually growing into a better character, which is nice. His progression has been nice to watch. But it’s just pretty to look at and really fun to watch.

Kill la Kill: It looks like we are starting to roll into the real action of the show. There have been some missteps along the way getting here, but Kill la Kill has been strong enough to give me confidence that TRIGGER will bring us home with style and a good wrap up.

Log Horizon: Like, Kill la KillLog Horizon seems like it is heading into the best part of the show. It’s about time. There’s been wayyyyy too much talking in this show. Too much talking, not enough doing. Action makes character and that’s why sometimes the characters feel dead: because they aren’t doing anything. But I’m being optimistic that Log Horizon will fall back into its good habits, rather than the bad ones.

Tonari no Seki-kun Dominoes

Tonari no Seki-kun: Brilliantly funny all the time. Tonari no Seki-kun is a spectacular vehicle for Kana Hanazawa’s voice acting talents, and Hanazawa is hitting it out of the park week after week. When the dust settles at the end of the season, Tonari no Seki-kun could very well be the best anime of the season, even as a short.

Tripping Up Here and There

Nisekoi: Oh, man, I want to love this show. But it has been split pretty much 50-50 for good episodes to meh episodes. 1 and 4 were great; 2, 3 and 5 were unspectacular. SHAFT has been very hit or miss, but when they hit, it’s so good. In other words, Nisekoi is good when it wants to be, and bad when it’s not trying. Oh, and #TeamChitoge

Nisekoi Episode 1

Wake-Up, Girls!: The movie was good, the first two episodes were pretty solid, but Wake Up, Girls! lacks pop. For a show about idols, that’s not a good thing, even for one that is trying to portray a realistic view of the industry. Episode 6 took things in a refreshing new direction, so I’m hopeful that the show can build on that going forward.

Wizard Barristers: What is Wizard Barristers trying to be? Is it a crime and law show or a magic show or a clever combination of both? It can be either or both or none. The main conflict of the show is still veiled, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, Wizard Barristers is a bit too much on the episodic side, rather like another anime here…

Hamatora: Which is Hamatora. This anime has done a good job of keeping at least a little bit of focus on the main story thread, but the inconsistency of character and episode tone and quality is troubling. It’s still a fun watch because of the bright colors and cool action, but Hamatora doesn’t feel like it’s really giving its all.

Nobunagun: Once again, Nobunagun has had a few down episodes, but remains, overall, more on the good side of things than on the bad side of things. It’s fun to watch and has the advantage of possessing a fantastic main character in Sio, who was sadly ignored in the most recent episode.

Tokyo Ravens: After a brief (okay, somewhat lengthy) detour into slice-of-life and comedy territory, Tokyo Ravens is finally getting serious. While the anime is somewhat mediocre in quality and story, but the characters are certainly likable and actually experiencing some (though not much) growth. Basically a good show in the genre, and not much more.

Tokyo Ravens Cast

Buddy Complex: Aoba is possibly the most rage-inducing protagonist I have ever watched on screen, BUT he is slowly balancing his levels of being a total idiot with having some good moments. The animation, as expected, is quite good, and as long as Buddy Complex continues to have fights ever episode, I will remain happy and watching.

World Conquest: Zvezda Plot: A show I picked up specifically for my coming time on the CrunchyReport recap show, World Conquest is is sort of absurdist, surrealist story that appears to be pretty much what it seems: just fun. There’s not a lot of depth to be had, but the anime doesn’t seem to care. I’m not unhappy that I un-dropped. I probably wouldn’t have picked it again on my own, but it’s a fun watch nonetheless.

Why Am I Watching These Still?

Strike the Blood: Should I say much? It’s better than Magical Warfare. Congrats.

Magical Warfare: How is this show so painful to watch. Episode four was just a mess of awful and episode five was mystifying. Still very little magic and NO warfare. I’m holding out for some magic battles, but if they don’t come, Magical Warfare is gone-like-the-ex-girlfriend-who-will-never-return. Just like this.

Pupa: Another show I’m watching only for the CrunchyReport. I am trying to wait until the end to really make statements on it. The short form is that I don’t like it at all, and that the gore is way too much for me.

Where Did They Go?

Noragami, Golden Time and Nagi no Asukara are all on hold until they finish airing, so I can marathon them properly.

Noragami Yato

And that’s everything! Thanks for reading, subscribe on the right side of the screen and let me know in the comments below what your favorite shows of the season are.

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