First Impressions: Fall 2014 Anime (Part 1)

I’m still less than halfway through all the premieres I wanted to check out and this post is already long, so I figured I would split up my first impressions this season. I dropped 3 of the 10 shows in this initial slew of episodes, which is a fairly high atrophy rate for me.

Still to watch: TwintailsAmagai Brilliant ParkYour Lie in AprilYuYuYuGaroDonten ni WaruBahamut: GenesisRoja the Robber’s DaughterAkatsuki no YonaTrinity 7, Chaika: ABKokkuri-san

When Part 2 is ready, you will be able to find it here (Part 3).

I Can't Understand What My Husband is Saying

I swear I am not like this.

Sequel Land (Part 1): spread WIXOSS, Log Horizon 2

selector spread WIXOSS: Other than Chaika, I don’t think there was another show I was more excited for than the second cour of WIXOSS. I thought the first season ended on a streak of really good episodes, and it looks like the new season is picking right up where the old one left. The thing I really like about WIXOSS is how responsible everyone is, in some sense, for their part in the whole mess. Sure, they got dragged into this willingly or unwillingly, but they still maintain a degree of agency. And WIXOSS doesn’t revel in the suffering of these girls; it just shows things how they are. Keeping. (Episode 1 Notes)

Log Horizon 2: Basically more of the same, just like WIXOSS, except for Log Horizon more of the same means more talking and more talking and more obscurity from Shiroe and much crappier visuals courtesy of DEEN (why did this happen?). It’s also still got that addictive “maybe next time something big will happen!” thing going for it. And, of course, “Database” is back—did I sing along to it at the start of the first episode? You bet I did. So, I’ll keep on with Log Horizon, hoping they’ll talk less and continue to be disappointed. And seriously, DEEN? Get your act together. Keeping.

Log Horizon 2

Color Me Intrigued: The Fruit of Grisaia

That was…an oddly fascinating first episode. Let’s the get obvious things out of the way: all the characters look like they belong in Monogatari because it’s the same character designer. Senjougahara clone. There are a lot of panty shots; they aren’t necessary. MC-kun is not impressed by the panty shots. Music is good. Very much adapted from a visual novel.

Okay, that’s the easy stuff. On to the rest. First off, the show looks really great. The whole color palate reminds me off White Album 2 (another VN adaptation, hmm) and I really like it. But more than that, something feels…off…about the show. Like it’s hiding its true nature—which is probably true. The direction and camera work outside of the seemingly token panty shots is really intriguing. I’d say it also seems inspired by the VN format, but it’s definitely more intentional than just mimicking the source medium. I think the direction had a lot to do with how unsettling the whole vibe of the show is, and the aesthetic plays into that as well. All in all, there was a lot of tension simmering under the surface, more than would seem to be warranted by a normal VN harem adaptation. I’m kind of fascinated by the whole thing, I sort of think I might end up hating its messaging, and I’m fairly certain I’ll be watching to the very end. UPDATE: Everything that interested me about the premiere was gone in episode 2, so dropped.

#TriggerDoesLightNovels: Inou Battle

YES. I liked this a lot. Andou is such a breath of fresh air—almost a manic pixie dream girl, except he’s a guy and a bit of an airhead. Characters with outrageous flair for the dramatic nearly always work for me and Andou’s got a lot of it. The rest of the main cast looks to be fairly archetypal, but already they’ve got some traits that put them outside the norms of their tropes. For example, the redtsun (who’s cute as heck) was the one who got to do the brainwork in the confrontation with the student council president. The music was awesome, the visuals solid (Dogakobo-esque schoolgirl antic animation next episode?????), and the voice acting was good. Looks like a keeper to me.

Directionless?: Sora no Method

In my screenwriting classes, we talk about how important the first ten minutes of the screenplay are—within those ten minutes you have to tell your audience who the show is about and what the dramatic premise/need is (among other things). Sora no Method has let us know who the show is about: Nonoka, who looks like a cross between WIXOSS‘ Ruko and Toradora‘s Minori. But as to what the show is going to be about? I haven’t really got the foggiest. We kind of have a general idea of the players from the OP and the sort of story that’s going to be told, but was to the direction the show is going? I dunno. The first episode was genuine enough to keep me interested, and Noel’s loyal, forgiving nature has already endeared her to me. That’s enough, for now, to keep me watching.

Sora no Method

Bubble Comedies: Denki-gai no Honya-san, I Can’t Understand What My Husband is Saying

Denki-gai: While I wasn’t really impressed and the first half of the episode was quite dull (the ero book lover joke wasn’t funny the first time), I saw a few sparks of personality from some of the characters and moments of the show in the second half. The main problem I’m struggling with is that Honya-san doesn’t seem to offer anything new or anything I haven’t already seen done better elsewhere. If I want to watch a comedy about a mangaka, I’m going to watch Nozaki-kun. If I want to watch a good workplace comedy, I can watch Working!! So, let’s sum it up just by saying that Honya-san has two potential paths to becoming a keeper this season: 1) be funnier and more creative. 2) Get me more attached to the characters. I like the art style of the show, but right the overall package lacks the charm I’d expect this kind of show to offer. I’ll give it a few more episodes before I make a decision. UPDATE: Dropped after episode 2.

I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying: You know, I think I would find this funny if the show had anytime at all to breathe, but there were just too many jokes crammed into one episode for any to really hit home. Or maybe they just weren’t funny anyways. Hard to tell. At three minutes a pop it’s not a huge investment, so I’ll stick it out until I decide I want my three minutes back.

I Can't Understand What My Husband is Saying

Drops: Cross Ange, World TriggerUshinawareta Mirai

Cross Ange: Yeah, no thanks. The opening battle was boring. The “sport” was boring. The princess isn’t the least bit interesting. Pacing was bad. Some of the animation looked pretty decent, but of course then we had the ending scene. Screw that. I’m not jumping on board with 25 episodes of sexual abuse and violence. Dropped.

World Trigger: Booooooorring. I’ll admit, when Yuma sprang into action, it looked pretty cool That’s not going to save the tepid in-scene pacing and general lack of energy in the show. It was basically one big yawn and I was pretty happy when it was finally over. Dropped.

Ushinawareta Mirai: I liked Kenny and the kicking girl, but overall this episode was lifeless, looked bad…and was lifeless. I mean, we did get an episode one love confession, but HA! We know that’s a death flag for sure. Ultimately, it just comes down to the fact that I didn’t enjoy the episode, nor do I really see that much potential to enjoy it later on. There are elements that I think I’d enjoy in another show, but here it’s just not worth my time, especially as a Saturday show. Dropped.

Ushinawareta Mirai

21 thoughts on “First Impressions: Fall 2014 Anime (Part 1)

  1. Agree with every point. Well almost…

    I think I figured out the direction of Method based on the end and the childhood flashbacks, but that remains to be seen if I was even close to being right.

    I haven’t dropped World Trigger, I was entertained by the first episode somewhat, it was one of those neither bad nor impactful shows. It could also be because I read the manga in WSJ.

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    • I mean, yes, Method is definitely going somewhere, but I just couldn’t distill that out of what I saw in this episode. I guess we’ll see if you were right!

      I do wonder if having read the manga of WT would help make it more engaging. Maybe sort of a suspense thing where you’re going: “Ooo when’s this going to happen?”

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  2. This is going to be a heavy season, isn’t it? ;_; So many shows already, and so much potential. And we haven’t even gotten to some of my most anticipated!

    Quite surprised by the love Sexy Evil Fruit is getting. I’m going to have to check it out.

    Otherwise my favourites so far have been Bahamut, #TriggerDoesLNs, and Sora no Method. And yeah, having Mikorin in permanent shameless mode is a huge boon for #TriggerDoesLNs. I expected it to be more… indulgent? It was quite tame, and very little degrading fanservice, which is a good thing. Oh, and White>Red.

    BTW, if you want a pet comedy for the season, Kokkuri-san is much better than Denki-gai and The Otaku thing.

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    • Yup, it looks like there’s going to be a lot more that I won’t end up dropping this season than last.

      Sexy Evil Fruit is not really that sexy or evil yet, but it’s in widescreen film aspect ratio rather than your normal anime dimensions, which I think just adds to the intrigue. I’m not ready to call it the season’s dark horse yet, but it certainly surprised me out of the gate.

      I’ve heard good things about Kokkuri-san (including Barakamon comparisons) and I remember liking the premise when I read it, so I’ll probably check it out.

      & I agree, White>Red. You’re just in the wrong show.

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  3. I’m not sure if you already forgot Satelight’s crappy art/animation in Log Horizon S01 or simply you’re just bashing Deen because why not, but the visuals in the first episode was on the same level and sometimes better than the first season.

    And this is neither Satelight’s or Deen’s fault, because both worked from a very small budget. If you really want to Blame someone, blame NHK.

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    • That’s fair. The opening battle sequences in this episode definitely did look really good. It might be more that I just don’t like the new style than the visuals being totally inferior. I guess we’ll just have to see what it looks like over the course of the season. & yup, definitely not totally Deen’s fault, but it’s easy to blame the studio. Shame on me.

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  4. Kokkuri-san’s seiyuu is the same guy voicing Handa in Barakamon so that’s a plus! Hahaha, plus the comedy is there and Kokkuri-san is like the combination of Tomoe from Kamisama Kiss and Sebastian from Black Butler (because of Daisuke Ono voicing both characters). It has a lot of potential I think. Still haven’t watched Inou Battle, but I think it’s fun. Looking forward to PP2, Your lie in April, and Twintails.

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    • The reasons to give Kokkuri-san a try keep mounting! I’m kind of overwhelmed by how much stuff I still haven’t watched, which makes me forget that I still have Chaika, Your Lie in April, and YuYuYu to go.

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  5. I agree with your general sentiments, haven’t watched all the anime you watched though. Haven’t watched method, and all of the shows you dropped because I’ve been hearing similar opinions about them that makes me less interested.

    I personally don’t mind the visuals from DEEN – it’s not like Satelight is that much of a step up, and I’ve never watched this show for the visuals. I think Log Horizon.(or anything by Mamare Touno, really) will always have more talking than action, but there should be more action if the flash forward in the beginning is any indication (which is probably the only thing it’s good for – I find those flash forwards at the episode bookend is completely pointless, and I really hope it’s just a one-time thing.

    Grisaia does look sinister, especially with that stuff at the end. I also have Denki-gai on the bubble – it has some good things, but overall it’s just not that funny, and there looks to be a ton of anime I want to watch this season. I personally like the fast humor of the other comedy though (damn name so long) – I think it’s good for the hit-or-miss jokes, moving to the next one fast enough if one doesn’t work. I’m biased though, as I love this rapid-fire humor style like in 30 Rock or Arrested Development, and with just 3 mins I think this is a keeper.

    I watched some stuff you’re planning to watch, and personally I think Rise of Bahamut is a keeper if the first ep is any indication, it’s really the most surprisingly good first ep this season. Kokkuri is also good, I can see the Barakamon comparison but this one have darker undertones.

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    • For me, Cross Ange is the only truly irredeemable show of the season so far. Both World Trigger and Ushinawareta have a few redeeming points, but Cross Ange…nope.

      As skall pointed out above, it’s not totally fair to lay the blame of the LH visuals completely at Deen’s feet, but I absolutely agree about the flash forwards. The one at the beginning was nice as an eye catch, but the one at the end was just pointless and it irritated me.

      I Can’t Understand What My Husband is Saying is definitely okay for the time constraints. I’m generally cool with the mile-a-minute joke set-up, but more jokes failed to work for me than I expected. Not a big deal, though, for only three minutes.

      I keep hearing about Bahamut and Kokkuri, and if they are good enough to fulfill show type slots of me in place of other things, I’ll be plenty happy.

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      • Yeah, it takes a lot to repel me from watching something, but even skimming the summary of what happened in Cross Ange is enough – I’m not touching it with a ten-feet pole. Even those who will continue watching are mostly just there for the trainwreck factor, without seeing anything redeeming there.

        And yup, the one flash forward at the end of LH is just terrible. I think you’d enjoy Bahamut and Kokkuri, and I’ve also watched 3 of the shows you’re going to preview in Amagi, Akatsuki no Yona and Trinity Seven. Amagi is great, there’s some fanservice but the main character is interesting and it looks fun, and with KyoAni working on it it’s always going to be great to look at. Yona seems like a typical shoujo, but the stuff at the end definitely catch my interest to watch more.

        I don’t see why you’d watch Trinity Seven though, doesn’t seem like an anime you’d typically enjoy. Because it’s just your average fantasy battle harem with average plot and action, and the anime budget definitely won’t elevate it any. Only reason its fans like it is because it acknowledge and embraces that it’s a silly harem, especially with the protagonist. Did you read the manga or something?

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        • Ugh Cross Ange is gross. Definitely advise to stay away.

          I’m planning to watch Yona and T7 today; Amagi isn’t a high priority, as I’m expecting CR will pick it up eventually. I’m trying out T7 because occasionally I enjoy being horrified by harem antics, and because sometimes unrestrained shounen energy at least makes it fun to watch. I’ll have no qualms about dropping it, though, if it’s too much.

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  6. That’s a lot of show you’re watching there. The only one i’ve seen so far Amabri and it’s quite good.

    Still 12 episode behind on Log Horizon 1 though (-_-) and yeah so far it can be a bit boring during the talky moments and the pacing is definitely slow, but the cast is likeable and fun to watch. I also found myself intrigue with the world of Elder Tale. Its your typical fantasy world blend with MMO mechanic and elements, making it quite interesting world especially the conflict arise from it.

    It’s also funny that despite how powerful they are in the new “reality” our protagonists is actually a 21st century people having conflict with your standard fantasy kingdom. Shiroe for example being a clever tactician and diplomat but in other reality is a socially awkward 20 something college engineer student. (don’t really care about the visual)

    I am really curious about Grisaia, but i am afraid the fanservice element can be a bit of a turn off.

    Still waiting for Chaika 2 with much anticipation

    Also Twintails for my corny popcorn fun (“ironically watching” something is a load of bull)

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    • Been hearing mixed reactions about AmaBri, usually either “it’s very good” or “it’s very bad.” I’m still holding out in expectation that it’ll get picked up by CR for simulcast, but if not I’ll go find it elsewhere.

      I picked up a lot more shows this season than I did last—mostly there was just more stuff that interested me, and it also might be a bit of a rebound from being slightly burned out.

      The fanservice in Grisaia is odd. It’s almost so in your face that it’s just like, “Okay, boring, moving along.” It could get worse later on or it could get better.

      Chaika today! & I’m also looking forward to Twintails. Probably will be a battle between it and Trinity 7 for my no-thinking-just-fun-nonsense show.

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      • My moneys on Twintails. It seems like more crazy and over-the-top, Trinity Seven seems like more regular action-harem blend, though from what i’ve heard they say that Trinity Seven is self aware of its own harem-esque premise. Though i don’t know if that means they are going to be satirical about it or just wink nudge to the audience and proceed to indulge in it anyway (ala NGNL). We’ll see, though i won’t be watching it, i already have my fair share of self aware harem.

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  7. Good that you dropped Grisaia. I was reading about the third episode, and got more explicit regarding sexual content, plus the story elements seem to be more disjointed.

    Ushinawareta Mirai: I’m still watching that one. Surprisingly few fanservice (in the first ep, only some censored nudity, if I remember wel), being a VN adapation. I found the story interesting, and the characters too. Surprisinlgy, the transition from hand drawn animation to CG is smooth, but sometimes is more noticeable.

    Denki-gai: I didn’t bothered with watching it, after reading some reviews. A episode around people that likes porn and flaunts it? terrible. Just another otaku pandering show, highlighting the unsavory elements of the fandom.

    I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying: Only watched the first ep. But, I dropped it, after reading about the second episode. They added a trap character that draws erotic manga about his brother… I guess this one is highlighting the worst aspects of the fandom too.

    World Trigger: I think this one is interesting, I liked some interactions between the protagonists and their contrasts in morals. Sadly it got that mediocre animation and problems with the pacing, but I’ve read the manga is very good. And, no fanservice, so that’s a huge plus.

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