First Impressions: Spring 2015 Anime (Part 3)

And, somehow, we’ve come to the end of the premieres for the Spring 2015 season! There really haven’t been too many surprises thus far, as nothing I was really looking forward to flopped and only a few shows surprised me. In terms of building a weekly schedule, that’s really something of a boon. In terms of being happy with my schedule, that’s really a boon. So, yeah, let’s finish this up and get into the season for real!

Still to Watch: Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, Ninja Slayer

Wish Upon the Pleiades

Blogging: Ore Monogatari!!, Blood Blockade Battlefront

Ore Monogatari!!: An adorable first episode with a few troubling bits; very excited to blog it, though!

Blood Blockade Battlefront: I have no clue when Funimation will air the first episode, but I’m going to blog about it when it finally comes out.

Expected Hits: Mikagura School Suite, Nisekoi:

Mikagura School Suite: Woo, that was fun! And thank goodness! Mikagura was one of the shows I was most excited about coming into this season (the Funimation airing delay was really painful) and it really showed up with a fantastically fun first episode. Eruna is an absolute gem, scarf and orange hair and all, strong enough to carry the show by herself if she had to—but, fortunately, she doesn’t. Yoshitsugu Matsuoka showing up as a magical flying cat was a super pleasant (and hilarious) surprise and the fantasy battle setting along with the club rankings system makes for an engaging world for our spirited protagonist. Mikagura also has the added element of being adapted from a series of light novels based on a series of Vocaloid songs (which are really good—check them out!), so I’m expecting some great music. The OP at the end is one of the songs from the original Vocaloid series and its a real treat. I know Dogakobo’s main focus this season is on Plastic Memories, but Mikagura really does look quite good and has its fair share of funny Dogakobo faces, which, if not capable of carrying the show by themselves, at least lend a certain sense of energy and bounce to the presentation. Decision: looking forward to this one more now than I was before!

Mikagura School Suite

Nisekoi:: To be totally honest, I put Nisekoi: in this section before I had seen the episode, as I fully expected it to be exactly the same show it was before. The face game (especially Chitoge’s) was incredibly strong, the cast of characters is just as loony as before, and the comedy fell quickly back into its usual patterns. Thankfully, we started things off with a Chitoge episode, as her comedy is always miles better than what we get from any of the other girls, with Nao Toyama really nailing a great performance with a ton of vocal range. The music still fits into the same sparkly tones, although the visual production seemed somewhat less polished than in the first season—fewer sparkles, some slightly off-model faces, and just less energy than before. I don’t know if SHAFT is under the gun on this one, but usually everything looks good in their shows even when it’s not be animated, so it was something of a surprise to see flaws like that in Nisekoi‘s return. But! The charm here is in the characters and when you start off a season with Chitoge, you really can’t go wrong. Because, after all, Chitoge Best Girl. #TeamChitoge Decision: keeping like a childhood locket.

Unexpected Hit: Wish Upon the Pleiades

I was not at all expecting to like this as much as I did, but whether it was the Snickers ice cream I was eating during the first half of the episode or just the episode itself, I was totally charmed by this first episode. I’m well aware Gainax is no longer the Gainax of old (whatever that means), but this was a really solid first episode for a magical girls show inspired by a studio’s partnership with a car manufacturer. Revving engine noises during flight aside, Wish Upon the Pleiades really surprised me with how good it looked—mostly thanks to excellent color work and use of the sky to create some really great shots. In terms of content, I’m not exactly able to articulate it yet, but Wish Upon the Pleiades had a strangely comfortable tone to the entire episode: light without being insubstantial, fun without being crazy. Whatever it was, it just worked excellently for me, decision: earning the show a spot on my schedule for the time being.

On the Bubble: Punchline

First premiere of the season I’ve sat through twice (which is saying something considering there have been a number of episodes I haven’t even finished), and I did like it better the second time around. Visually, Punchline looks pretty darn good, even without MAPPA’s signature cinematographic excellence, and sonically it’s doing a lot of cool things from the sound mixing to the voice acting to the music (the ED might be the best piece of theme music this season). The problems are, as expected, with the content. The fascination with pantsu (and their use as a plot device) has worn pretty thin on me already—frankly, it’s crass and I don’t care for it at all. Even napes of the neck would have been better. But that actually wasn’t my biggest issue with the premiere: it was the feeling that we were being walked through the introduction of a game (and make no mistake, Punchline is definitely being framed as a game) where we’re being given the backstory and rules at the same time. It just was a little too familiar, despite the delivery, to really get me excited. But Thursdays are dry this season, so decision: I’ll give it another week.

Shoulda Saved the “Deceased” Pun: Kyoukai no Rinne, Urawa no Usagi-chan

Kyoukai no Rinne: A bit sad to let this one go, as there was quite a bit I liked about it. Sakura and Rinne have great chemistry, the humor is quite snappy, and the throwback aesthetic is super nostalgic. Unfortunately, that nostalgia also leads to the show feeling a bit rote, even in its premiere. In another season, on another day, Rinne probably would have been a keeper, but as things stand now…I’m going to let it go. I just don’t think the show has much more to offer besides simple entertainment value and, while I appreciate its ability to offer that, entertainment value seems to be the common currency this season. The whole “sending off the dead” theme is already being done with Plastic Memories and, frankly, PlaMemo just has a lot more potential to be fun to watch AND intersting, so Rinne loses out. Decision: dropped.

Kyoukai no Rinne

Urawa no Usagi-chan: Well, it was the only short I was interested in—and it’s the only short I’m dropping, because this was a thoroughly uninspired premiere without a hint of wit, innovation, or energy beyond minimum. The animation is incredibly limited to the point that it negates any efforts to be visually interesting (of which there are few anyways), the voice acting only serviceable when not grating, and the content consisting of nothing of interest at all. As an attempt to advertise Urawa, Urawa no Usagi-chan is failure as far as I’m concerned. Decision: dropped.

Urawa no Usagi-chan


NOTE: And now, the promised free-for-all! I didn’t have time/wasn’t interested in all the premiere this season, so let me hear about all the other stuff you watched that I didn’t. Make your case for me to give something else a try, if you dare! And, as always, thanks for reading—I’m looking forward to a great season with all of you!

29 thoughts on “First Impressions: Spring 2015 Anime (Part 3)

  1. Frankly, both Urawa no Usagi-chan and Wish Upon the Pleiades are leaning towards the “drop” side of the bubble. Usagi-chan pretty much gave us little beyond some generic (and cheap) animation, and Wish just seemed… off. I can’t put my finger on the latter quite yet though.

    Otherwise, the only thing I’m watching that you aren’t is Otaku Husband and the second episode (yesterday) was delightful. Even though the two are an odd couple, and have their moments of doubt – there’s no mistaking they’re deeply in love. It’ll only take a half hour or so to run through the first season, so I renew my suggestion that you should do so.

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    • I was really hoping Usagi-chan had a bit of spunk just because I think it’s neat that it’s a regional anime, but yeah…it’s got absolutely no hook. I think I might kind of know what you mean about Pleiades feeling off. There definitely was an odd vibe to it that I couldn’t put my finger on—I just happened to find it intriguing, maybe moreso than you did.

      I’m actually sort of feeling a quick Otaku Husband marathon right now. I think I’ll go do it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah I am as well. They will get their own posts if I feel like doing that. Also shamelessly saying I just put up my post of impressions on your post of impressions and that you should go read it.

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  2. Mikagura School Suite – The MC was amazing! As one redditor put it, “The MC didn’t do a single reasonable thing all episode.” This was just fun, and looks to be a blast. Let’s hope they can keep it up.

    Wish Upon the Pleiades – This was okay. However, if I’m going to watch a mahou shoujo this season, I’d rather watch Nanoha Vivid. The Nanoha series is pretty decent overall, and Vivid looks to be solidly in that tradition.

    Punchline – The pantsu is pretty dumb. But what really bothered me was the time rewinds. That screams “no consequences”, so any drama or sense of danger evaporates. Going back to your game analogy, that’s like restarting from a previous save every time something bad happens.

    Kind of disappointing, because I usually love shows that are over the top in this style.

    Kyoukai no Rinne – I liked this a fair bit, because it was more laid-back than a lot of shows this seasons. It felt very old-fashioned, and rather comfortable.

    Etotama – I think this is the only thing I saw that you haven’t. It was kind of cute. The MC was very calm and took everything in stride, which was somewhat unusual. (Well, at least until his house was destroyed.)

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    • I think the big thing for Mikagura going forward is just keeping the craziness fresh; Juri Kimura is doing a great job as Eruna, but they gotta make sure things don’t get bogged down in the same old same old.

      As far as your worry about Punchline, I saw the time reset as a way to explore a whole bunch of different scenarios. So, rather than it being a “no consequences” narrative excuse, it instead becomes something that allows for more narrative flexibility and fun. But it definitely depends on how they choose to use it.

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  3. First thanks for the nod to the ska music / also The Ost for Mikagura School Suite people should check that as there is a song for each character !

    Yea 50 is my watch list but there me a drop or two!

    I am glad this is the last spring overall review as it takes time and want to choose my worgs so there are easy to understand ! Thanks for letting us do this!

    First Impressions: Spring 2015 Anime (Part 3) and my shows that are missing!
    Note I have seen Blood Blockade and it is interesting !

    1 Mikagura School Suite, / Nisekoi

    Mikagura School Suite is good for me.I like the idea of clubs battling each other And you are like the 2nd reviewer that mentioned the Last Note OST because each song fits the character.And they better put them in too! Eruna is fun and the rest are eccentric as they come! The 1st Ep did have Eruna’s song at the ED which is another ska sounding song. Should be a Top 10

    Nisekoi I cant imagine anything to go wrong especialy with the two new characters coming ! Another that should be in the Top 10.

    2 Punchline Didn’t you think that the bus segment was from the movie Speed I think so! I don’t mind the Pantsu so much but the cat web scene was a bit much . I dont know they don’t want to reveal everything but the whole trasformation thing to being a ghost / then bringing asteroids left me a little dazed ! Rolling Girls is a Masterpiece compared to this! So I wiil watch but not a Top 10 for now maybe Top 15 ??

    3 Kyoukai no Rinne I agree with you another time it be good and it is . But stiil wiil watch but will be like you said a safe bet!Toward the Btm of my favorites 35 – 50 ??

    4 Urawa no Usagi-chan Well when the credits rolles right through the episode for 1:30 that is short! I might be with you on this to drop ? Wiil give the 3 EP chance though!

    MY RANT POV / Before I get going withe missed shows why does the ongoing always get left! I just think it’s unfair as a lot of thede are as goood or better than the new ! Sorry that gets me going ! It’s unfair to those shows and the season!

    First The Ongoing Shows / Ha you say we could let go 😄

    Ansatsu Kyoushitsu / A TOP 5
    WORLD TRIGGER / A Top 10
    Sailor Moon Crystal / Good but out of the Top 10 BTW Another cour in the news today!

    Second The Shorts /

    I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying 2nd Thread / It’s more personal this Cour and a baby on the way!

    Teekyuu 4 / Takamiya Nasuno Desu! / Teeyku Spinoff Both very funny! Teeyku EP Men In Black had great homages as do most of the episodes!

    Cyberpunk is Back !

    Triage X / when I first got into anime beside DBZ / Pokemon Cyberpunk was the thing . No holds barred fanservice was a standard you couldnt get away from it . This has it all anti-heroes / villans great action and looks like an actual story! Just a Power anime period! Should be a Top 5

    Koukaku Kidoutai Arise: Alternative Architecture / Ghost in The Arise More Cyberpunk BTW this a full series not one shot Movies! And is good IMO !

    A Top contender!

    Sidonia no Kishi: Daikyuu Wakusei Seneki Wait until people see this ! S 1 was just a warm up. Yea you have to look for it!

    A Side Note why Thursday is Dead / Animeism Programming Block Set to Move to Fridays includes MBS so we now have to cram on weekends!

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    • And thank you for commenting! Always glad to hear what you’re thinking about things!

      Sorry I didn’t have any ongoing shows in here! The only showed that carried over for me was Assassination Classroom and I’ve pretty much expounded on my feelings on it elsewhere and they haven’t really changed as of late.

      And yeah, Thursday really has turned into a graveyard. It’s all good by me; easier to get stuff watched during the weekend than during the week.

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      • I am embarrassed how could I forget Baby Steps 2 . It;s already at the Top and the others will have to be excellent to knock it out of there! It follows the manga very closely!

        Some thoughts after EP 2’s Not everything I am still catching up!

        Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma / really is quite good after this week / tone it down a lot but interesting things going on !

        SNAFU 2 / My Romantic Comedy Snafu Season After a shaky start much improved this week!

        Is it wrong to try to pick up girls in a dungeon? Another that put itself as a good one

        So I took a break have 3 more to go / I hope you revirew more shows becuase you’re more articulate and better than most!There’s probally one more blogger who does a good job too IMO The rest I wonder sometimes!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. PlaMemo just has a lot more potential to be fun to watch AND intersting

    I don’t see it. But then if you prefer the PlaMemo’s rote and simple entertainment value over Rinne’s, I won’t fault you. Personally I think PlaMemo is taking the lazy way out, and if I have to settle for that I’d rather take something like Rinne which doesn’t have to pretend it’s something it isn’t.

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    • I guess I just think PlaMemo has a lot more flexibility in the kinds of things it can (and might want) to do. I don’t really know what you mean about PlaMemo pretending it’s something it isn’t, though.

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  5. My eyes almost fell out of my head when I watched Punch Line but I’m also going to give it another try. I am NOT fan of all the panty shots barfs into trash can under desk but I was also too intrigued NOT to give another try because I had fun at the same time. And I agree THE ENDING IS ADORABLE!

    Mikagura School Suite shot up to my top three favorite shows of the season (besides Ore and Sound! Euphonium.) I ADORED that first episode! I love the main girl, I love the school, I love the girl crushes, I loved the comedy, I just loved loved loved it! 😄

    ~Jamie

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    • Do yourself a favor then, and don’t ever watch Agent Aika. One aniblogger reviewing that series actually kept a running tally of all of the panty shots, and he counted 175 of them. In a 7 episode OVA.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, panty shots really irk me, too, but it seems we’re in the same place. A bit annoyed, but still intrigued somehow. If you like the ED, you should check out this post I put up on tumblr about the ED and its similarity (later identical staff was confirmed) to a couple animated music videos I really love.

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  6. Here are my final rankings for week 1. Don’t really have any more comments since I’ve already talked about almost all of these in other posts.

    Plastic Memories, 2. Nanoha Vivid, 3. Euphonium, 4. F/SN: UBW 2, 5. Kaitou Joker 2, 6. Ore Monogatari, 7. Otaku Husband 2 (glad to hear you picked up this franchise!), 8. Food Wars, 9. Danmachi, 10. Yuki Nagato, 11. Pleiades, 12. Gunslinger Stratos

    A very strong group of shows. None of them were instant drops, and Stratos is the only one in danger of going straight to the chopping block with a bad week 2 (Pleiades probably would’ve been my #3 show of the Winter after Saekano and KimiUso – here it can’t even crack the top 10).

    As I mentioned in another post, I run a local anime club in my community, for 11 to 18 year olds. At the start of each anime season I show them trailers (and occasionally some clips if a show’s already premiered) for some of the new series I think might appeal to them. So if you’re interested, here’s what I showed them this time, and their general reactions.

    Blood Blockade Battlefront: High interest, lots of chatter that it sounded like a cool show (hey, I would’ve picked it up myself if it hadn’t gone to Funi).
    Denpa Kyoushi: Mixed reaction. As expected, the ones who like that style of comedy enjoyed it.
    Seraph of the End: Pretty high interest from both my vampire fans and my action series fans.
    Plastic Memories: Not typical teen fare; I previewed it because I have a couple of kids who like Chobits. Sure enough, they got excited. No one else really seemed to.
    Danmachi: Played a clip. A lot of them seemed to like it, and I took a lot of questions afterward about the premise of the show and the “rules” of its world.
    Ore Monogatari: Takeo got a lot of laughs, but no one showed interest in actually watching it.
    Food Wars: Lots of excitement, especially from the kids who’d already read the manga or heard about it from their friends.
    Gunslinger Stratos: Played a clip. The boys in my group who like action series were pretty into it. Amusingly, they also tried to guess who was or wasn’t going to be a main character based on how much animation detail each person received.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Only one on the chopping block, leaving 11? A perfectly doable weekly schedule!

      Very cool to hear from about your anime club’s responses to things. Makes sense to me that BBB would pull the most interest (it’s got a lot of flash and style that would make it appealing to a younger demographic). And yeah, Seraph and Danmachi, too, make a lot of sense. I’m assuming most of the club members are boys? Either way, it’s a super cool thing that you’re running a club for a younger group of fans and that you can be there as a guide for them.

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  7. Kyoukai no Rinne: Reading about it in tvtropes, it doesn’t has many questionable things, except some reincarnation related stuff. Looks interesting.

    Mikagura School Suite: I was looking at some screenshots and reading the wiki of the sseries… it seems it features a perverted girl protagonist that plays erotic games, and fantasizes about girls. Well, another show like that. Not watching it. About the graphic part, looks very good, is sad that talent is spent in these type of productions.

    Wish Upon the Pleiades: Looks interesting. I haven’t watched it.

    Nisekoi: I watched some episodes last year, but I was going to leave it for later. Another case of doing that, and reading something that made me drop the series. This time, the typical [for recent seasons]. Fanservice, and possible shoujo-ai. Recently, they even released a fanservice filled ova, from what I’ve read.

    Besides that, I liked the character designs, and the aesthetics of the series.

    Punchline: What an absurd premise. As you said, they could have been choosed something like the nape of the neck instead of pantyshots. I watched the ending, it has a very interesting aesthetic. The character designs look good too, but I don’t think I’ll be watching it. Back to the premise, with some modifications it could had some potential as a moral tale.

    Urawa no Usagi-chan: Haven’t watched it, but I guess a show about a city isn’t going to feature the typical bad stuff, so maybe I’ll watch it.

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    • I could see you liking Rinne; it’s got kind of a classic feel to it. But yeah, nooo Mikagura is very much not your thing.

      I read something someone wrote somewhere (very specific, I know) that maybe Punchline‘s “the world ends if he sees too many panty shots” bit is actually supposed to be a critique of otaku’s fascination with them, but I kind of doubt it’ll have any sort of actual teeth towards that end.

      Usagi-chan is nothing if inoffensive, but there’s not much else there, period.

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      • Yes, the character designs are typical of her, and very classic. I guess that is carried in the storyline as well.

        There are various series that supossedly criticize elements of the otaku lifestyle but actually end showing these things in a way appreciated by the supposed targets of the critic. The end of the world part could be unserstood as the consequences of perversion and immorality, but making these pantyshots precisely ruins the point.

        Is a sad situation when having a clean show (without much else) could be seen as an acomplishment, when that is an starting point. Another way of looking at it, could be that being clean is left to productions that could be deemed as uninteresting.

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