First Impressions: Fall 2014 Anime (Part 3)

This is the third and final iteration of my Fall 2014 Anime first impressions. I do apologize about them being so spread out, but there were just so many shows…(Part 1, Part 2).

Well, well, we’ve finally come to the end of all the premieres. It feels like it’s been a quite a while since the season kicked off, what with Amagi Brilliant Park and the Ghibli series getting orphaned and YuYuYu having a really late premiere. However, it’s all over now and the time of separating the wheat (keepers) from the chaff (drops) has come! All of the impression below are based on the first episodes only.

Twintails

Literally the worst thing possible.

Better Than Expected: Ore TwintailsYuYuYu

Twintails: Okay, so I went into Trinity Seven expecting harem nonsense. Got it. I went into Twintails expecting the same thing as when I went into T7 and Twintails responded by shattering my expectations. This is a clever show guys. It’s stupid, but it’s clever. I cannot express how much I appreciate that Twintails knows its premise is absurd, commits fully to it, and then just runs with it sans any sort of “Oh ho ho, look how silly we are.” I’m sure you could also probably find some interesting gender roles stuff (actually kind of interested to see what they do with the genderbending thematically, if anything) in MCs transformation into a twintailed girl. Yup, I really just wrote that. Cheers to this show. An easy keeper for now until I get bored, knocked T7 out of the schedule.

YuYuYu: Apparently I wasn’t paying enough attention to the summaries or the secrecy around the show before it aired, because when YuYuYu turned into a mahou shoujo in the middle of the first episode, I was surprised and pleased. I was fine with what I thought I was getting—a CGDCT show with some magic thrown in—but this has surpassed my expectations. This is the same director as did Arpeggio of Blue Steel, which had some great fight scenes and is still the best CGI show I’ve seen, and YuYuYu so far has held up in both action and CGI with its double episode premiere. Like I said, I’m pretty thrilled with this so far. I’m sure YuYuYu will be pulling Madoka comparisons all the way through, but I’m guessing from the natural way they integrate jokes into the action and drama that it’ll have a lighter tone all the way through. Keeping and excited.

Weaker Than Expected: Your Lie in April

I’m very much ambivalent about Your Lie in April after the first episode, which really isn’t a very good thing for a show I had pretty high expectations for going in due to noise about the manga and my own personal hopes for it. It looks incredibly pretty, I’m a huge fan of the character designs, the music (J-pop and classical and pigeon-summoning alike) was really good, the dialogue felt natural, but then…a lot of the most important stuff—you know, like the characters and the story—just didn’t all hit home for me. The tragic backstory is overused, yes, but Your Lie in April looks like it wants to rely heavily on it and that worries me. Kousei’s relationship with his now deceased mother intellectually makes sense to me, but it felt clumsy to me, even with the chilling image of a beat-up child making promises to his mother. I’m just worried that this is all going to fall apart. Hesitant.

Your Lie in April Episode 1 Kids in Love

Why Can’t You Suck?: Amagi Brilliant Park

There were times I was totally engaged. There were times I was totally disengaged. There were times I laughed and times jokes just dropped dead before my eyes. It also looks great. That’s a pretty good summary of Amagi Brilliant Park‘s first episode for me, and it’s pretty frustrating to have yet another show on my plate that is neither an obvious keeper nor an obvious drop. There are some elements of the show that I really like, nothing I hate, but a fair bit of stuff that just sits in the middle without eliciting a strong reaction from me either way. For a hook episode, there wasn’t much of an actual hook—just jokes, a stoic female lead (minus Kagari Ayaka’s fire witch powers, typical KyoAni visuals, and generally solid execution. But what sets it apart from the pack, besides it being a KyoAni show? If this was an A-1 Pictures adaptation, would I still be debating whether or not to watch the next episode? I dunno what to do with this show. It’d be easier if it was just terrible.

Amagi Brilliant Park

Dropped: Donten ni WarauRonja

Donten ni Warau: As much as I like the way Dogokobo does comedy visually, it just doesn’t fit with the story here. I do think this is more on the source material than the studio, which apparently can’t make up its mind as to whether it wants to be a serious show or a comedy show. I’m not saying you can’t do both—many shows have done so in the past—but these two elements needs to be better integrated for them to work, and they don’t in Donten. I’m also not a fan of the viewpoint character chosen, Soramaru—he’s just too angst in a bad way for me (Kajii Yuki doesn’t help on that front). Overall, though, I was just underwhelmed by the show in an already packed season. Dropped.

Sanzoku no Musume Ronja: Studio Ghibli’s TV anime for the season definitely has the Ghibli feel, despite the CGI.—it’s relaxed, with lighthearted banter flowing freely, and a bit of ominous foreshadowing on the side. The problem, at least for me, is that all those elements feel like they’d be much better suited for a film than a TV series. A film has the luxury of being able to present a concentrated aesthetic experience as a way to draw in the audience; a TV series has to get me to come back a week later. From what I saw in the first episode of Ronja, it doesn’t quite have the tension or sense of direction I need to get me to come back a week later, even on a Saturday that’s really light for me this season. Dropped.

Sanzoku no Musume Ronja

17 thoughts on “First Impressions: Fall 2014 Anime (Part 3)

      • This is true, especially since everything can and probably will change on an episode basis.

        I’ve dropped only… 2 of I think 29 shows, I just could not get into Orenchi or Twintails at all… Add to that there are 4 I have not seen that I am aware of at least, 3 of which I plan to watch post-season rather than weekly. Finally after that is 3 carry overs from Summer.

        So I guess I have 20 shows I am watching and so far after seeing at this point I guess most of their 2nd episodes looks like I will be keeping them all.

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        • 20 shows isn’t that bad. I’m at 16 as of right now, but still looking to trim a few more out (preferably to make Thursdays more manageable).

          I think you have to like a certain kind of humor to like Twintails, which is the “here’s the joke, now let’s keep making it.” For me, I generally find those get funnier and funnier the longer it goes on, especially if it keeps get reframed in different ways. But if I get bored of the joke, I’ll just drop the show there.

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  1. I haven’t fully made up my mind yet, but I think I do actually like Ronia despite the really jarring CGI. I agree that it feels more like a film than a series, but it comes across as charming to me regardless, in a dreamy, child-like sort of way. I feel a bit like I’m watching a retro Disney movie.

    Almost certainly dropping Your Lie in April though. Sure, it’s pretty (almost too pretty, really), but it also strikes me as contrived. I just can’t realistically think of any junior high schoolers who think or act this way – especially on the romance front – and I guess what I wanted out of this title in the first place was a music-focused show rather than a romance-centric one. So far I’ve gotten mostly slow-building drama, with the musical aspects being used primarily as convenient wallpaper.

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    • Oh, yes, Ronia is absolutely charming! The CGI doesn’t even bother me as much as just how…floaty (whoo great descriptive language there self) it feels. And, maybe more than that, at this point in the season I’m looking for reasons to drop things and for reasons to keep things. Ronia may not have given me reasons to drop it right away, but I didn’t feel like it made a convincing case for me to keep it.

      I haven’t watched the second episode of Your Lie yet, but I wonder if that feeling of being contrived was what jarred with me in the first episode. The tonal inconsistency between the drama and the “humor” (haha he accidentally took a picture of her panties…award-winning manga material right there) also bothered me and messed with my immersion. We’ll see how episode 2 goes, I guess.

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  2. Again, pretty much agree with your general opinion of the shows. Is YuYuYu really that good? Because Thursday is already really insane, I don’t really need more. Well, I might swap Lie in April for it – glad to see someone agree with me that it’s not as good as it can be. I really love how it looks but I just can’t get into the character at all, and I suppose the whole ‘contrived’ feeling isn’t that too far off the mark either. No way I’m dropping something like Shirobako for it though – last ep was brilliant and shows that the first ep wasn’t a fluke, this is genuinely in my top 3 favorite anime from Fall alongside Bahamut Genesis and Parasyte.

    Haven’t watched Donten or Ronja and probably won’t unless I start hearing major hype about it, but I feel the same way about Amagi – though I feel I’m liking it better than you do. It’s not great and it might never will be, but it’s a nice show to just relax, sit back and enjoy to me. That makes it at least 15 shows this season for me, which is pretty insane. I have to say I’m pretty on-point with my expectations from seeing the season preview though. There are some surprises, but they are mostly pleasant ones like Shirobako and Bahamut Genesis (with the exception of Cross Ange, because absolutely no one would expect it to be that bad).

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    • I think the surprise factor of YuYuYu was a big part of why I’m so hyped about it right now, but it does look beautiful and there’s clearly money in the show. Depending on how much the first two episodes strike your fancy, I’d say it could be a good sub for Your Lie in April. & yup, Shirobako is most definitely among the best shows this season. I was one of the few who didn’t think the first episode was a fluke and was expecting the second to continue to be excellent.

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  3. Amagi Brilliant Park is a funny one – Like you, I was pretty lukewarm to the premiere. But then the more I started to think about it, the better I thought it was? It got under my skin, but in a good way. I also thought the second episode was a step up, so you’ve that to look forward to.

    And BTW, I’ll bet the four theatre girls will end up as your favourite characters 😛

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    • I’ve actually seen the second episode already and I still wasn’t totally sold either way. Not much of the humor has connected for me, but the overall package and presentation is just too good to let it go right now.

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    • YuYuYu is streaming on Crunchyroll! AmaBri hasn’t been licensed by anyone for simulcast (sadly), so the only way to watch it is from fansub groups—it usually is subbed by Friday.

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