Thanks to Funimation holding a bunch of shows (okay, really just BBB and Mikagura) hostage with no release date or time in sight, this post is missing both of those shows, as I’d hoped to include both of them here. Well, oh well. It is what it is, I guess. Anyways, this batch of anime was chock full of deadly cute stuff—ships, ship, more ship, moe, moe, more moe—familiar faces, and a couple of unfortunate duds. The dread of knowing I’m going to have to cut more than I want is already setting in…
Still to Watch: Ore Monogatari!!, Mikagura Gakuen, Pleiades, Punchline, Urawa no Usagi-chan, Ninja Slayer, Kyoukai no Rinne, Yamada-kun, Nisekoi:
HELP MORE CUTE: Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic, Yuki-chan
Good grief this first episode was an ordeal. I mean, I enjoy cute things. I also enjoy funny things. I also sometimes enjoy cute and funny things happening at the same time. It also sometimes happens that watching things that are cute and funny at the same time can be a bit…um…dangerous to my health. Kinmoza is one such thing. I don’t know what kind of life one has to lead to be able to conceptualize the kind of absurd cuteness and genial humor that marks Kinmoza as one of the best pure moe shows I’ve ever seen, but I imagine it must be a lovely one filled with flowers, orange juice on the porch, and an adorable puppy sleeping on your feet. It is very difficult to write about a show that has perfected its formula to the point Kinmoza has, where the base personalities of the characters feed into the snappy 4-koma comedic timing in a way that recursively feeds back into your enjoyment of the show until the end of the episode is just a gloriously incapacitating experience of laugh, joy, and cuteness. RIP; died of moe. Decision: this is literally the perfect show to watch on a Sunday. So keeping.
The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan: So, the Haruhi franchise is back, except now it’s centered around a slightly more articulate Nagato with slightly more moe designs for everyone—including Kyon. Divorced from its association with the main series (make sure to check out atelier emily’s post on that relationship), Yuki-chan is a sweet, warm-hearted waltz of charming personalities and typical high school slice-of-life situations. Actually, I can’t even tell if my impressions of the characters is unaffected by my prior attachment to the franchise. It may well turn out that entirely separating Yuki-chan from Haruhi is an impossible task. So maybe I shouldn’t try. Umm…let’s talk about other things. Like the visuals (great late fall aesthetic, great facial expressions)! And the music (perfect upbeat, unobtrusive, and charming slice-of-life accompaniment)! And uh…okay, right. Everything else comes back to the show’s relationship with the main series. The point is that, for Haruhi fans who aren’t total grumps about Yuki-chan (and maybe even those who are), Yuki-chan‘s premiere was thoroughly charming. Decision: keeping!
Just KyoAni Things: Sound! Euphonium
Oooo, could this be my favorite KyoAni show since Free! Eternal Summer? Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t seen a KyoAni show I disliked, but I also haven’t seen all that many that I really loved. Sound! Euphonium, at least on first glance, seems it might have the special charm necessary to really make me love a KyoAni show. Beyond the superficial prettiness of the entire anime’s presentation, Sound! Euphonium has a prettiness to the presentation of its story that compliments the way it looks. “Light drama” is the genre classification I’m seeing tossed at Sound! Euphonium most often, which really seems like a decent label for a show like this where everything seems to strike gently, even the tensions. Like a piano played with the hammers just barely hitting the strings, Sound! Euphonium chimes out a lovely tone. I’m loving it. Decision: no reason to drop the only Tuesday show of the season if it’s good!
AOTS Potential: Plastic Memories
Make no mistake, that was not a premiere that made me want to declare Plastic Memories AOTS. But it was a premiere that breathes of AOTS potential. While the comedy is solid (thanks to Dogakobo’s reliably funny faces) and the aesthetic a fascinatingly appropriate mix of technological coldness and human warmth, the real winner here for me was the sensitive and restrained way Plastic Memories went about handling its dramatic moments. One thing I remember distinctly from Yoshiyuki Fujiwara’s directing of Engaged to the Unidentified was the calm touch he applied to all of the dramatic scenes, imbuing them with a sense of warmth that carried the emotion beautifully without letting it overwhelm. That same sensibility was very much at work with Plastic Memories‘ premiere, making the parting bittersweet rather than sad and the aftermath reflectively melancholic rather than depressed. If Plastic Memories wants to walk that tenuous line between comedy and drama effectively, keeping the drama in line with the rest of the show is critical. This first episode proved Fujiwara can do that and do it well, which is excellent news for the future of Dogakobo’s first original project. Decision: keeping, because I’d be crazy to drop a show with this much thematic potential and directorial skill.
Marathon Material: The Heroic Legend of Arslan
This was a solid premiere, but not so captivating that I feel compelled to pick it up weekly. And, furthermore, as a shounen title likely to have battles and arcs stretching across multiple episodes, The Heroic Legend of Arslan really feels like a title better put on hold for now until at least a few episodes have stacked up or the entire run of the show is through. As for the premiere itself, the obvious headlines is that Arslan is moe as all get out and that the visuals (not-all-that intrusive CGI aside) were quite solid. The whole sunset color palate with its oranges, browns, reds, and yellows was quite lovely—and made Arslan’s white hair stand out all the more. There are also the seeds of some bigger thematic issues of religion and society being sown in this premiere, but (again) I think letting the show spin out for a while before moving on with it is the most advisable choice in a season still with many premieres to come. Decision: on hold for later marathon.
Joining the Deceased: Owari no Seraph, Re-Kan!
Owari no Seraph: I like to think I don’t have that many non-fanservice instant-dislike triggers, but somehow Owari no Seraph managed to hit like…all of them. From the annoyingly (and perhaps unrealistically) angsty 12 year-old Yu punching Mika over a simple act of self-preservation/working the system/helping out their family, to his tsun behavior over the family, to him diving straight into revenge mode, Yu just really didn’t work for me. But I think I could have gotten over that had Owari no Seraph not ended its premiere the way it did—with the senseless murder of a group of helpless orphans (mostly girls). There’s just something about the way it characterized the kids as one happy family and then murdered them (notice I’m ascribing the killing to the show, not the vampire—it’s intentional) that really causes me to react badly. It just feels crass and manipulative and altogether in horribly bad taste. And I don’t want to watch a show that thinks it’s okay to do that sort of thing. Decision: dropped.
Re-Kan!: In another season, if it were made with more care, I think Re-Kan!‘s fusion of moegirls, comedy, and the supernatural would have been a favorite of mine. As is, the poor sense of comedic timing and the glut of good moeblob fare elsewhere this season (and an already heavy Friday schedule) doomed Re-Kan! to the land of dropped shows before the end of the episode. There was nothing I really disliked about the show—in fact, I found the characters to be pleasant, the comedy to be enjoyable in theory, and the supernatural elements well-used. Unfortunately, Re-Kan! just lacks the structural glue and the energy to pull it all together. The laid back pace of the show actually reminded me a bit of Non Non Biyori, but Re-Kan! gives the sense that its measured pace isn’t by design, but by incompetence. Besides the character designs, the aesthetics of the show are nothing to speak of, and so the overall package is inoffensive, but bland. In this season, that’s sadly not good enough to get you through. Decision: dropped.
NOTE: As before, please limit your discussion in the comments to the shows that are mentioned in the post. There’s one more first impressions post to go & I’ll be turning you all loose for a free-for-all of impressions for anything that hasn’t been addressed yet. Look forward to it & I’m excited to hear what you think about this particular batch of shows!
25 thoughts on “First Impressions: Spring 2015 Anime (Part 2)”
I really should catch up with this, everything I saw about it looks good.
I think I read the manga a bit and wasn’t that impressed, I haven’t had time to watch the anime proper though so I should probably do that to make a proper judgment. Seriously though, there’s already so many shows I want to watch this season…
I have the same feeling watching this that I do Hyouka, which is a good thing. Tuesday night is empty except for this too, there’s no way this won’t be a keeper. Also, that Sapphire girl really reminds me of Kunogi Ai.
So here’s the weird thing: when watching THAT episode of Shirobako, I really really love it but my eyes are dry, yet I don’t like this episode as much but I have tears in my eyes. Yeah, I don’t understand it. I think the first episode was good but am still not convinced it’s AOTS material yet, as I’m still hoping they’ll take the drama to an interesting and unexpected direction. Also, while the comedy mostly worked (sasuga Dogakobo) sometimes it doesn’t mesh well with the drama, like that peeing joke after the tear-jerking stuff a minute prior.
I get your arguments for marathoning, but I think I’ll keep watching week by week because I find it really interesting. Sometimes it doesn’t look that good though – I’m not the guy who nitpicks (or even notices, really) most of these stuff but there’s a part with the guards running that looks really bad and obvious even I notice.
Owari no Seraph & Re-kan
I think it’s actually pretty well-made for what it is, but what it is is something I’m not interested in, so pass. I do wish something like Arslan has this level of production quality though…And yeah, Re-kan isn’t horrible but it also isn’t that interesting that I want to watch more of it.
Also, be honest there, do you arrange this part 2 specifically so you can drop just Seraph and Re-kan, and calling it joining the deceased? Because I’m impressed.
Kinmoza is adorable and cute and funny and hilarious. Basically everything you could want from a moe 4-koma adaptation—and it’s really well constructed besides! It really is the perfect show to watch on a Sunday.
For the peeing joke after the tear-jerking thing, someone on Twitter suggested to me that it was actually an important part of establishing Isla’s character. As in, she is the type of person (robot) who can swing from existential life crisis to a very immediate life crises fairly quickly. We’ll have to see what they continue to do with her character, but I thought that was a good point.
I can only wish I arranged things just to set up that pun for the dropped shows, but really that was the first thing I thought of when I added in the section and then when I typed up my blurb about Re-Kan! I realized how perfect it was. ^_^ I had a good laugh to myself about that one.
Huh, that’s a good explanation for that. Yeah, I have faith in the writer as well, I think he can bring this to interesting places.
Plastic Memories – Looks interesting. A little too heavy-handed with the sadness, so far, but it is the first episode where they have to get their theme across. It will be interesting to see what direction this takes, especially as the bad ending (Isla breaking down) is clearly in sight. I do hope it doesn’t end up being a villainous corporation using forced obsolescence to increase profits.
The best thing about this show, though, is that it is an anime-original. So the discussion threads on reddit are interesting instead of being dominated by manga-readers complaining or hinting at spoilers.
Owari no Seraph – I kind of liked this first episode. It has potential. But then the preview showed a high school, and that makes me leery. The world they created was different and intriguing, and yet there’s a normal high school?
As I was watching, it occurred to me that this would be a really interesting story from the perspective of the vampires. Assuming they had nothing to do with the plague, their main food source just got wiped out. And since the plague seems to strike when the humans reach puberty (at least as initially presented), there will be no future generations. So the vampires are on a 13-year clock where they have to care for a generation of children as well as find a way to keep humanity alive.
Re-Kan! I saw the first 5-10 minutes, and it just didn’t click for me. I’ll probably go back and give it another chance, but I’m not a fan of shows where the main character is “too” weird, and I think the MC here is hitting that zone.
Hm, that’s an interesting thought from the vampires’ side. Heck, that’s a show I’d watch. As is, though, despite the potential, I just don’t see it being a thing I would really like long term, besides the issues I already noted on the post itself.
As for Re-Kan!, I’m glad some you’re giving it a second chance. I honestly would like to do the same, but I just don’t have the time right now. Ah, the tragedies of the new season!
I enjoyed Euphonium; definite keeper. Same with Yuki Nagato. Plastic Memories I already said on the other post was my favorite opening episode, and that hasn’t changed. The one thing I didn’t like was, yes, the pee joke. In retrospect it DOES kind of fit with Isla’s character, though. There’s a certain childlike quality to her, where she doesn’t feel any self-consciousness about things like reporting to her boss with a banana peel on her head, or doing a swan dive into a recalcitant customer’s flower bed. Speaking from experience, suddenly announcing that she needs a bathroom right this minute (and probably right after they passed the last rest stop for 20 miles) is exactly the sort of thing a four or five year old child does.
My updated top three are now 1. PlasMemo, 2. Nanoha Vivid, 3. Euphonium.
As to your question on twitter about what’s still out there for CR to pick up, this what’s still unlicensed according to the list I’ve been tracking:
Two short series – Ameiro Cocoa and Narudoma
Two new series – Kyoukai no Rinne and Yamada-kun
Three sequel series – GITS Arise: Alt Architecture, Nanoha Vivid, and Knights of Sidonia: Battle for Planet 9
Four kids series – Battle Spirits, Digimon Adventure tri, Duel Masters VSR, and PriPara2
I’d think the shorts and the new series would be the most likely pickups, possibly one of the kids shows. You’d expect Netflix to buy Sidonia since they have S1, GITS seems to be DOA, and I’ve given up on Vivid (wouldn’t be surprised if that one was just too expensive).
And it looks like Crunchyroll already has KnR and I missed the announcement, so cross that off.
Liked Euphonium, Yuki-chan, and PlaMemo. “WingKing has good taste…”
The more troubling implication of Isla potentially being framed as a child is the whole infantilization of women thing that is a common charge directed at moe anime. The protagonist (his name escapes me right now) is definitely portrayed as having some sort of romantic attraction to Isla the first time he sees her—so, is she a child or is she an “adult,” as much as a robot with a 9 year lifespan can be? Haven’t really seen enough to make a call on it yet, but it’s something to look out for, I think.
Thanks for the licensing list! Things have already changed, although not everything has been grabbed yet. I’m guessing Funi is out at this point, so it’ll just be a matter of CR picking up things or them getting orphaned.
Well ya see, you still haven’t seen Hyouka or K-On, so it’s no wonder you’ve yet to love a KyoAni production. But yeah, KyoAni Jazz hands is pretty legit. I’m looking forward to seeing where the music teacher-to-be fits into the story.
I’d also hold off on the Arslan marathon for now. By which I mean keep watching Arslan weekly!
Seraph sux, thank you. Somebody else with some goddamn taste.
Well, technically Haruhi is KyoAni, and I DO love Haruhi, so there’s that…it just feels like it comes from a different KyoAni than the studio we know now.
The Arslan marathon is also due to time constraints, but I might come back to it on Sunday if I have the time/feel the inclination.
Can’t believe people think Seraph is actually good (as opposed to just interesting/has potential). The world is a strange, dark place sometimes, my friend.
Plastic Memories; Came out of the gate like a top fuel dragster, spewing feels left and right. Somewhere I read that it’s kind of a cross between Angel Beats and Chobits, and it’s certainly headed that way… But how it’s going to get there is unclear given the pedal-to-the-metal feels in the first ep. It’s gonna be a long tough road over the next 12 eps. (And if they keep skidding on the comedy, they’re just might end up on the road to the junkyard.)
Sorry for the road puns, the just kept coming as I was writing… Seriously, PM has very high potential but the opener felt more like a mid season eps in some ways. Can they come up with enough material to go the distance without relying on filler or more lame comedy?
As it stands though, I’d nominate Memories for consideration as this seasons stand alone review show.
Sound! Euphonium; Seems like it’s going to be a cute slice-of-life gambatte school drama, maybe with a bit of romance tossed in. Which sounds worse than I meant, I’m actually completely OK with that, I’m rather fond of that genre if it’s well executed. With the two Grisia series and Plastic Memories in this seasons queue, Euphonium will make for a nice balance.
Kumiko is strong front runner for Best Girl already, but there are several other students at Kitauji that may give her a run for the money.
The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan is sitting my queue, but I haven’t decided one way or the other if I’m going to watch it. I’ve no experience with the Haruhi franchise, so I’ve got no dog in that fight.
I haven’t seen Chobits myself, so I can’t really speak to the accuracy of the comparison with PlaMemo, but people generally like Chobits, right? So that’s a good thing. Hm, so people generally didn’t like the comedy is a refrain I keep hearing…wonder if I just have a different sense of humor or if my expectation that Dogakobo shows be funny is at work…as for it being an episodic show…I’ll have to see. With school right now, I really need to stay at two shows and BBB is burning in a whole in my metaphorical blogging pocket.
Kumiko ponytail: support or no? (Hint: ponytail)
Honestly, I sort of feel like saying it’s really best to watch Haruhi before trying Yuki-chan. It’s cute on its own, but (as I’ve said) it’s very hard to divorce the experience of the show from its prior association with the main series. I just sort of feel like non-Haruhi watchers are missing out on the real experience. But I’m not one to tell people not to watch things because they aren’t part of a specific sub-fandom, so do as you see fit! I just think it’s a much richer experience if you’ve seen Haruhi prior.
Chobits also features human-realistic androids and explores how humans relate with them and the question of what makes a human different from a self-aware AI (if there is a difference)… so the comparison is natural. But yeah, from what I’ve seen it’s generally well received. As to the humor, most of the complaints I’ve seen seem to spring from it being ill timed and executed slapstick and thus not working well within what seems to be positioning itself as a more serious show than they about the comedy per se.
Oh, absolutely, ponytail.
The more I looked around, the more people seemed to agree with you, Yuki-Chan is aimed mostly at those who already familiar with the mythos. (Even though it’s a side tale set in an alternate universe.) In the end I took it out of the queue because we’re going to assign Nisekoi and Kinmoza to a slow night and just run through them starting with season one of both.
Maybe I should start a Patreon where I commission articles for people agreeing with my tastes in anime girl hairstyles…
Good call on Yuki-chan. If you ever do watch Haruhi (would recommend; it’s one of my favorites), then you can decide if you want to watch a moe romcom version set in an alternate world.
Your remarks on the tone of Plastic Memories, thanks, yes. There was something I couldn’t put my finger on, but you articulated it. It was so successful at conveying emotions quietly. Tis is especially appreciated just now, as I have finally consented to watching Clannad, and that show tries WAY too hard to hammer feels home.
Sound Euphonium is looking promising too, but They had me, frankly, at Kyoto Animation. Nobody comes close with regards to figure drawing, giving characters a solidity of flesh and warmth. Shaft is fun, but they do stick figures by comparison.
Owari no Seraph was handicapped from the get-go, employing the conveniently selective pandemic trope that first had me rolling my eyes during “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes” back in the previous century (Mystery virus kills all the dogs and cats, so apes as pets, no brainer). But then, I felt badly manipulated by the scene you mention, so, no.
It’s very cool to be able to trace Fujiwara’s style from Mikakunin to PlaMemo, especially when he’s using his talents like this here.
The Euphonium characters definitely have a…hmm…what’s the word? Not weight…maybe substance? to them that makes them feel like real physical people.
First I am attempting to watch close to 50 shows !Not including the Wniter Dubs which will finish but then more Spring Dubs coming ???
Second hardly any shows MON Tues WED even Thursday is lighter than the past! The Japanese TV viewing must be changing !
Third / Between lousy late annoucements and the shows being late is very poor! One of my major rants about the anime industry!
1 Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic Karen was just amazing to watch / what a bundle of energy! Should be easily in my TOP 15 / our of 50
2 The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan: Maybe diidnt give a fair shake with the weekend cramming
Probaly end up in middle or lower
3 Sound! Euphonium Top 5 already / a new take on music (no Idols / Light Music Clubs ) / looks like a lot of backstory / more on music below !!
4 Plastic Memories A Top 10 easily / have to watch the balance of comedy vs drama! / but a good story about life death A.I.
5 The Heroic Legend of Arslan ( replaces 7 Deadly Sins ) BTW the end card was drawn by one of the 7DS animators / Again since 7DS is gone I wiil watch weekly . I thing the story is stronger than you think but that’s IMO A Top 10 or 15!
6 Owari no Seraph, This is a hard anime / lots of darkness / but am very interested / A Top 5 or 10
7 Re-Kan! I like the opposite personalties / I agree with you its need to be tightened up!/ but the scene with the children playing got to me! Top 15 20 ??
The music this season is amazing / I added Top OPS and EDS to my favorites thread!
Kudos To 2 shows for playing Ska type songs / there are more too!
1 “Yumeiro Parade”( Dream Colored Parade ) by Rhodanthe* / Hello! Kin-iro Mosaic
2 “Tutti!”by Tomoyo Kurosawa, Ayaka Asai, Chika Anzai, & Moe Toyota / Sound! Euphonium
Almost 50 shows? You’re crazy haha!
Love seeing more love for Kinmoza! Always a show that needs more attention—and yeah, the two ska songs are great!
My Bad I forgot you had shows yet to watch I will add my Top Cant wait !
Sidonia no Kishi: Daikyuu Wakusei Seneki
Koukaku Kidoutai Arise: Alternative Architecture / Ghost in the Shell
Ore Monogatari!! / My Love Story
Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku / Mikagura School Suite
I’m really looking forward to the rest of Sound! Euphonium, that first episode was so stinking cute! I liked the main character, she seemed like a real girl and not just some overly emotional or seemingly “deep” child. She felt real, which made me really happy! ❤
Plastic Memories really surprised me. I wasn’t expecting such a strong emotional pull; I felt near the edge of tears by the very end! I hope it stays strong.
I like moe girls and supernatural things so I’m going to stick with Re-Kan! for now. I loved the lead girl’s hair! 🙂
The supernatural elements of Re-Kan! were a big part of the reason I wanted to check it out in the first place (and I did enjoy how they were used). Wish it had worked better for me…
And yeah, Kumiko is a great lead character for Euphonium! She’s got a wide-range of emotions and KyoAni really does “realistic” looking and seeming people very well.
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Nagato Yuki-chan: can’t believe it… they made a somewhat “moral substitute” for the Haruhi series… beautiful art, good character designs, and Nagato Yuki-chan is adorable.
Still, some things could have been better, like removing the Mikuru running part, and Ryoko removing Yuki’s sweater in that way.
Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic: I watched the first episode from the series a couple of years ago. It was cute. I decide to watch the series later. But, when I was to watch it again, I read that delved into shoujo-ai territory…. eh, what a waste of a potentially good frienship story.
Sound! Euphonium: Very beautiful art, and good character designs. It seems that is going to have more focus in music compared to similar series.
Why the red string at the ending? because I’ve read that the novels don’t feature these relationships… unless they interpret that string differently.
Plastic Memories: Beautiful backgrounds, and an interesting story. I think the white higlights in the characters’ hair under various types of light settings are too much. Some camera shots are rather strange-questionable (?).
I guess the white haired robot girl is now facing her expiration date.
The best part, the story of the little girl robot and the elderly woman.
The Heroic Legend of Arslan: Haven’t watched it yet.
Owari no Seraph: What you wrote, plus the themes of siding with demons to fight vampires, are enough to not watch that one. That part about the killed children sounds awful.
Re-Kan! : The character designs are nice, but the combination with the backgrounds is rather strange, but interesting. Is because the level of rendering of the 3d backgrounds is more towards realism, compared to the degree of siplification of the characters and their colors. Something I didn’t liked about the bg’s, is the repetition of some textures, that don’t look very believable, sometimes it gives an “artificial” look.
I liked the tsundere character. She is tsundere towards almost everyone!
That perverted cat, and the part at the final of the episode looked like a “take that” to certain shippers.
Overall, this seasons has many watchable shows, and potentially, various recommendable ones.
I think you’ll like Arslan when you check it out.
Yeah, don’t bother with Owari no Seraph. It’s kind of annoying besides murdered orphans for edgy points.
I think the Re-Kan! backgrounds fall into the uncanny, as they look kind of realistic, but not quite enough so to actually be realistic. So it ends up looking weird/bad.
Yes, uncanny is a good way to define it. But the half way realism and the camera shots have certain je ne sais quoi that I like.
I’ve read the OnS manga… Yeah, so my opinion will certainly be biased… Yeah, for me it’s a right series for the right person. You like the genre, you’ll like this one. dislike the genre, you won’t like it. Most of the complains are about how cliches it is, which I understand, reading the manga and all. And I can understand why you dislike it. But for me it was pretty enjoyable.