Summer 2015 Anime: First Impressions (Part 2)

This is the good batch. The eight shows I was most looking forward to out of the whole season. As I begin this post, I’ve not watched a single episode of any of them—and I’ve avoided most reactions to them as well. Come the end of this post, I’ll either be joyful…or miserable, depending on how it all shakes out.

And, for fun, I’m trying something new: live blogging. For the rest of the night, I’m just going to be watching anime and blogging my thoughts on them—one at a time. That rounds out to something like an update every 30 minutes. Strap in—it’s gonna be a fun ride (I hope…)!

Summer 2015 First Impressions Live Blog Header

Danchigai: My third short of the season, but easily my favorite. I’m the oldest child, so my situation isn’t exactly the same as Haruki’s, but I did have three younger sisters, so man oh man did Danchigai resonate with me. The annoying-because-they-like-you-so-much younger sisters who always do things together. The older younger sister who also likes you, but is too independent to really express it (minus the annoying incest tsundere stuff). And, actually, I always wanted an older sister like Mitsuki—someone who would be responsible and boss the rest of us around. So, yeah, I loved this a lot. I don’t really feel the need to complain about the length, either—it’s perfect as is to have one little scene out of this odd-duck family’s life a week and I really look forward to seeing them again next week. Verdict: absolutely a keeper.

Gakkou Gurashi: I refuse to call this show School-Live!, even though it’s not a bad title by any means. Anyways. Wow. I hope you all have seen this episode, because for the one absolutely stunning moment near the end of the runtime—it’s worth it. Although, it seems a bit silly to say that because it’s not like the rest of Gakkou Gurashi was bad. On the contrary, I found it charming, a bit offbeat, and funny (not to mention cute). Taroumaru was an excellent device for showing off the school building and Yuki’s happy school life, the perfect combination of—******static**$)((@$%()…”can you h..er me? am i g….tt…g th–and then, there’s that stunning moment. The incredible moment of payoff. And it was chilling. Frightening. Disorienting. Compelling. And there’s no way I can look away from this show now. Not after that. Verdict: so very, very, very much keeping.

Gakkou Gurashi

Castle Town Dandelion: Man, what did I deserve to start off with such a great run of episodes? Dandelion was pretty much everything I’d hoped for when I first read the premise—a great large family dynamic, just enough supernatural touches to delight the part of me that wants fantasy elements in everything, and a lighthearted premise that should let the characters and their relationships with each other stand out as the highlight of the show. The premiere itself was a nice blend of humor and character introductions and I was a pretty big fan of the way they used a game to introduce all of the siblings’ superpowers. There are a whole lot of them (9!), so it’ll take some time to get their names down, but the character designs are really great (for all genders—not just the girls) so that’ll help. The other big thing I noticed about Dandelion is that it really didn’t read like a 4koma manga despite being adapted from one. That’s definitely to the show’s credit and maybe is the reason it felt really fresh to me. Verdict: I can’t let these siblings go—keeping.

Durarara!! x2-2: Well, I’m sad to report that this iteration of Durarara!! features what’s definitely the most inelegant of the franchise’s signature OP styles. Fortunately, that didn’t extend to the rest of the episode, which (besides looking like Studio Shuka finally got their production consistency back together for the most part—and some sections of the episode looked legitimately good) served very well as both an introduction back into the world of Ikebukuro and a reminder of where we left off three months ago. All in all, it was kind of a lighthearted episode, at least as much as one featuring a stabbing, Izaya helping two girls commit suicide, and a dangerous-feeling Mikado could be. Watching Izaya’s bored angst was a delight (although I wish he actually suffered more from it, grr), and even just the act of physical moving around the players in this gigantic board game set the ball rolling for new, exciting things to come in x-2-2. I, for one, am really hoping to see Kida back for real soon, but who know when that’ll happen… Verdict: like I could quit DRRR now!!

Durarara!! x2

Classroom☆Crisis: From the director of the beloved Gundam Build Fighters comes another show with a beautiful soul and a warm love for all things excited and joyful and exuberant. And I’m delighted. Everything about this premiere was fantastic—the tropey beginning-of-the-school-day start overlaid with a tense interstellar hostage crisis, the small A-TEC class being filled with super lovable super nerds, the breathless jazz-filled rescue mission, and the nasty new transfer student’s mission pitting him against the characters we’d already come to love by the time he showed up. But, seriously. The way Kenji Nagasaki directed this premiere was thrillingly recognizable—not from any particular visual quirks or directorial tendencies, but from the way he handles everything he touches with an obvious love for the medium, the characters, and (most of all) sci-fi. And it all just breathes in the most inviting, comfortable, and charming way. Fantastic. Verdict: I’m in love already.

Akagami no Shirayuki-hime: This has been an unbelievably good night of watch anime, and it’s still going on. Akagami no Shirayuki-hime is being directed by Masahiro Ando at Studio BONES, which is, incidentally, a combination that also produced a title called Blast of Tempest—you know, my all-time favorite anime. And Ando is in fine form here, winding together beautiful visual, absolutely gorgeous music, and a cast of charming characters to produce one of the most pleasant premieres of the season. Saori Hayami is a joy as Shirayuki and the rest of the cast (including a delightfully overblown Jun Fukuyama as the nasty Raj) is likewise. I haven’t read much of the manga, but if Shirayuki-hime can stay the narrative course, I have no doubt Ando will take it great places. Verdict: Who knows? Maybe this’ll be my new favorite anime of all-time!

Akagami no Shirayuki-hime

Working!!!: And the final installment of tonight’s live blog is Working!!!, a show that you might recognize from my the lower end of my top anime list. I’m happy to report that everything that made me love this franchise in the first place is back—and with none of those pesky production issues that sometimes plague sequel series. It seems A-1 Pictures know Working!!! is a good property, and it’s really good to see them treating it well. It’s also a joy to have Kana Asumi back in a lead role—Popura’s not my favorite role of hers, but who cares about that at this point? Anyways, we’re plopped right back into the world of Wagnaria and it’s honestly like we never left. I don’t entirely recall all of the glacial romantic developments (and not) that happened in the first two seasons, but the easy chemistry Working!!! has going between all of its characters is so addictive and so nice to watch that there’s really no issue there at all. Verdict: as if Yamada would let me leave.

Working!!!


And that’s the end of tonight’s blogging! Man, 7 episodes of premiers and not a single dude among them—in fact, they were all good. Since when do all the shows you’re most excited for in a single season all turn out well? Never, that’s when! And since I’m not at all worried about Gatchaman Crowds Insight at this point, that’s 8/8 for my most anticipated shows being good.

I dunno if anyone actually kept up with this post as I was blogging live, but if you did and liked it—let me know! If you did and hated it, also let me know that, I guess.

Remaining Premieres: Gatchaman Crowds Insight, Game of Laplace, Prison School, Charlotte, Chaos Dragon, Aquarion Logos, Venus Project(?), Sore ga Seiyu, Himouto! Umaru-chan

21 thoughts on “Summer 2015 Anime: First Impressions (Part 2)

  1. stretches hands

    Well you have already seen my thoughts, though a lot of these didn’t make my initial post, but I guess this reply would be my thoughts on your thoughts? XD

    Anyway starting from the top:

    Danchigai- Seriously thought for some reason the incest vibes would have turned you away more…shame it is a short though… or atleast not a longer short.

    Gakkou Gurashi- My gods that particular moment though. When things change for the viewer. That was just like =O =O =O =O for me. Seriously the entire episode I was like “wait… wasn’t this supposed to be something else?” Then that moment happened and I was like… “Oh well… shit.” And honestly it makes sense… a good portion of anyone who survived such an even would be like Yuki and pretty much be in denial about it. Especially mattering HOW I guess close you could say she was to anything that happened.

    Dandelion- One of my not good but not bad series I suppose. I liked the episode and the cast was enjoyable as hell. Really my only down side to the episode itself would have to be those absolutely awful names they gave the kids powers. It’s like… couldn’t you even make them sound good or is the cheesy anime super powers naming sense just really getting old for me?

    Classroom Crisis- Very interesting here. For me I personally found the episode fairly meh (though aesthetically pleasing) with the male MC guy there being way too far in the deep end of ‘Personalities I Loath’ for me to possibly like him. The rest of the cast was bland as well other than the girl who pulled off the rescue. Still going to give it a chance but it is on the chopping block.

    Akagami no Shirayuki-hime- Unlike you I care little of who directs what or what studio is doing what nor which voice actor/actress does what really. But putting that aside I did enjoy the episode itself the only problem I have is one I shared with I think it was Insomnist and I don’t really see what all they can pull out for this one to make in engaging in the long-term. Especially since it has already been confirmed split-cour I do believe.

    Working!!!- Oh god I am so happy it is back. Everything I love about the series was there in the first episode, minus maybe Inami punches and blushes (though we got some jealousy from her and Popura), my only hope really (and I am not holding my breath for it) is some sort of romance. So long as it isn’t MaleYamada with Inami I am fine with whatever happens really but I just want some romance.

    Lastly you have Prison School twice in your Remaining Premieres. How excited for S&M School are you?!

    Like

    • As far as Danchigai‘s incest vibes go, I think I’m (unfortunately) desensitized to it to a degree because it seems to be so ubiquitous in anime. If it intensifies with Yayoi or spreads to the other siblings, I’ll probably drop it, but right now the other three sisters are likable enough for me that they kind of cancel out Yayoi.

      Akagami definitely does have some concerns in the long-term sustainability department. I hope it doesn’t go the way of Ore Monogatari!!‘s kind of cute status quo thing.

      Inami x Takanashi.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, I kind of watched your liveblog. I checked it a couple time. I’m not really sure liveblogging works when updates are 30 minutes apart, though. It feels more like a real-time venture.

    Danchigai – Eh, it was nice enough for 3 minutes. I’m not sure where the conflict will come from, so I don’t know where this will go. In I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying, a lot of the conflict came from the wife’s normality and husband’s otaku-ness. I don’t see anything like that in this show.

    Gakkou Gurashi – I got completely blindsided by this. I almost turned it off at 15 minutes, thinking that it was yet another too cutesy, high school slice-of-life show. Thankfully I decided to finish it just for completeness. Now I’m looking forward to the next episode eagerly.

    Castle Town Dandelion – Decent enough, seems like a nice, likable cast, if a bit too big for a 1-cour season.

    Actually, I think this is a problem a lot of adaptations have. The anime can edit, cut, or compress events, but they can’t really cut or combine characters. I think Yamada-kun suffered a bit from this last season. If it had been anime-original, a couple of roles would have been combined. For example, 2 witches could have been cut, and Yamada and the other male “stealer-of-powers” could have been counted as witches.

    The other thing about Dandelion that I didn’t like was the whole “panties” thing. It’s becoming a turn-off in anime for me. Akane should do what Mikasa “Railgun” Mikoto does and just wear shorts under her skirts.

    Classroom☆Crisis – I enjoyed this one quite a bit. We’ll see how it turns out, but I liked the setting and the characters so far.

    Akagami no Shirayuki-hime – I don’t really understand why everyone is going gaga over this show. To me it reads like Generic Romance 101, with pretty bad dialogue to boot. Girl runs away from powerful bad guy. Bad guy tracks her down (in a single day too). Bad guy threatens girl’s love interest. Girl nobly surrenders to the bad guy in order to protect her love interest. Good guy rushes in and saves the girl. I’ve read dozens of romance novels with that exact same plot.

    The worst part is that there seemed to be so many options for the heroine to use her special skills. Love interest is poisoned by eating an apple? She’s an herbalist! If she doesn’t have or can make an antidote, the least she could have done was give him a emetic to make him throw up. Heck, instead of surrendering to the bad guy, she could have at threatened to poison him back.

    Not to mention that royalty+real person is a pretty standard romance trope since Cinderella. My gold standard for this trope in anime is Saiunkoku Monogatari, which is miles above Shirayuki-hime so far.

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    • Thanks for the feedback on the liveblog experiment!

      Yeah, the panty stuff in Dandelion was real dumb. I’m desperately hoping they don’t return to it and that it was just the seemingly obligatory “gotta rope in the otaku” introductory fanservice.

      There’s been a lot of pushback that I’ve heard vis-a-vis Shirayuki-hime, most damning of which is the complaint that the characters are really vanilla. It wasn’t a huge issue for me, but it’s not a criticism I feel is unfounded.

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  3. Let’s see…

    Akagami no Shirayuki-hime; Excellent animation and sound, a crisp plot, decent characters, groundwork laid without a lot of dilly dallying about… this is what a premiere episode should be like. And the series shows great promise.

    But.

    Shirayuki’s voice just kept grating on me. Not only does it feel ‘wrong’ for the character, it was entirely too familiar. I said to my lovely bride, “Hey, I know that voice” – which provoked giggles because I say that quite often and am almost always wrong. This time I wasn’t… Hayami Saori has been in a ton of anime that I’ve watched (and enjoyed) over the last couple of years, and normally she’s a heck of a VA. After all, she’s the one who gave us this;

    But she’s phoning this one in. And it’s grating.

    Status: Keeper, if I can get past the voice.

    Castle Town Dandelion; Love the premise, but it’s going to get a bit crowded with such a huge ensemble cast even if there is one central member. It’s also a bit annoying in spots, Akane is shy, we get it already. And how did she get to high school and not learn how to dress for flying? Is she terminally forgetful too? And why does the house have only one bathroom? And… lots of other questions. It’s not a bad show per se, there’s just a lot of silly holding it back from being a good one. Status: Keeper with reservations.

    Classroom Crisis: Not so different from Dandelion, interesting starting premise battered and bruised by shaky execution. Where did Iris get the money from? Why do they keep showing us pointless scenes of kids banging on keyboards to no good end? Etc… etc… It just kept jumping around and felt far more like the third or fourth ep than the first. Status: Keeper with reservations.

    Danchigai; I was the oldest too, one younger sister then two brothers. (A third brother came along when I was in my Junior year.) So it resonated with me for much the same reasons. I wish it was a little bit longer, maybe an eight minute short vice three, but other than that… Status: Keeper.

    Working!!!; Started on S2 this evening. Backing off and watching only 1-2 episodes a night was a very wise decision. The show’s frenetic pace was just wearing me out watching 3-4 at once, it’s much more enjoyable in small sips rather than big gulps. Status: still a keeper, and we’ll be caught up in a week or two.

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    • Working!!‘s definitely not a show to force yourself through. Pretty sure I remember doing it in small chunks and enjoying it a lot that way.

      As far as Saori Hayami in Shirayuki-hime goes…well, obviously I don’t agree that it sounds phoned in—but I don’t really think it’s her best work so far, either. I’m somewhat wondering if she’s being limited by the character (although there were definitely a few spots where I was like, “Okay, why did you say it like that?”).

      Like

  4. That ending of Gakkou Gurashi though. 😯 Very excited to see more! And Castle Town Dandelion! ❤ So much fun, I want to be a part of that family! XD

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  5. Gakkou Gurashi is Not My Kind Of Show but the visual execution was done well enough to give me a reason to watch a few more episodes.

    Akagami no Shirayuki-hime was one of my favourite premiers this season. I love Bones visuals and the score is great. More than eager to know where this one is going.

    Classroom Crisis. Huh, looks like I have to check that one out. Bob liked it, you like it. I’ll give it a shot.

    Like

    • Yeah, I feel like Classroom Crisis has the same sort of appeal that Shirobako did for Bobduh, and it’s got both that and the Gundam Build Fighters connection for me.

      And YES! Finally someone else who is on board with Shirayuki-hime‘s music being good!

      Like

  6. I am very happy with summer 45 shows 5 to go ?? maybe a couple of drops but if you add in new Funi Dubs it might be like 55 anime to watch!

    I will give my brief thoughts on each show!

    Danchigai I liked it and there is lot of family type this season ! The two liittle ones are insane!

    Gakkou Gurashi Personally I feel vividicated . There were some early negatives about the show beung “moe’ which it is but add horror to it!

    BTW I dont want to spoil but felt like a prequel to me and was so different from the manga but worked quite well! I have seen mostly good comments . The shock factor of seeing Yuki’s PTSD / delusion at the end was excellent! The final edge of insanity or maybe not When she closed the broken window!

    Castle Town Dandelion This is good too ! BTW a very nice family with parents quite invovled. The sight gags were great Oh Akane covering uo like a criminal when she was the hero! Brilliant

    Durarara!! x2-2 No problem here

    Classroom Crisis Since I am a big sci-fi space fan that is one plus! But felt rushed a bit! I’ll see if EP 2 gets me more hooked

    Akagami no Shirayuki-hime Very nice BTW this will be interesting with a humantarian effort!
    The animation is really good!

    Working! Like you said picked up where it left off! It’s already near the top of favorites!

    I really want your take on these shows! Plus the others !

    Gatchaman Crowds Insight
    Game of Laplace
    Sore ga Seiyu
    Himouto! Umaru-chan

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  7. I enjoyed reading your write up hehe, I’ve still not watched a lot of the anime’s that have come out so your not the only one. I just watched Akagami no Shirayuki-hime I’m just in love and blown away can’t wait to write my thoughts down about them 🙂

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  8. It would be better if you avoided watching Prison School. Reading the description at Baka Updates, and the tags, I get the impression that is a pornographic series.

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  9. Danchigai: Tsundere incest stuff? again? what’s with these authors and incest?. Reading some descriptions I thought that series looked interesting because the family setting. Oh well… one show less.

    Gakkou Gurashi: I guess I know what the thingsat the finale would be, (if is about one of the themes of the series). Is an unexpected combination, considering the art style and the fisrt part of the episode. And, a cute dog mascot instead of a cat, that isn’t very common.

    Castle Town Dandelion: Finally more series with big families!

    I was interesting, but I think they ruined it with the frequent “jokes” based around people seeing the red-haired girl panties. Thankfully, the scenes of her being exposed aren’t shown. I’ve read that the manga is tagged as “ecchi” in some sites, so the manga goes into the fanservice route. At least the anime staff did something better and avoided that.

    Durarara: I didn’ t watched that one last time because some incestuous (and incestuous and yuri) characters.

    Classroom Crisis: I keep reading good things about that one. Looking at the two screenshots you posted it the art looks well done.

    Akagami no Shirayuki-hime: That one looks very interesting too. Some screenshots I’ve seen display some beautiful scenery.

    Working!!! : I haven’t watched the other two seasons. Reading in tvtropes and database sites, it says it features shoujo-ai. One character, I think.

    Himouto! Umaru-chan: Some time ago, I was read some chapters of the manga, but I dropped it after it was more clear that one of the girls has a crush on the protagonist. It seems that her change into the small form at home isn’t merely aesthetic, because some people have seen her into said form, and didn’t recognized her, being led to believe she was a child.

    Venus Project: The promotional image doesn’t look very promising (because the immodest outfits), and I didn’t found much information besides it being based on a videogame.

    Game of Laplace: More series with androginous or effeminate characters. While some anime designs for male characters tend to be rather androginous, this one looks like a girl cross-dressing. What would be the purpose with a character design like that?

    Aquarion Logos: Is possible they would include the nudity and the questionable fanservice scenes of the pilots in the mechas again, (and the vulgar nun-like character) so not watching this either.

    Gatchaman Crowds Insight: I dropped the first season after a couple of episodes, I think. Because the cross-dresser and the effeminate characters.

    Sore ga Seiyu: I watched the first episode. A moé series about voice actors. The character designs are not well unified, for example, an older voice actor looks very different stylistically compared to the main girls. Mostly clean for the moment (except few camera shots), but the next episode scenes implies the characters would be working in a fanservice production (a character in underwear was shown in a screen).

    Charlotte: This one looks very interesting.

    Chaos Dragon: It looks like an interesting fantasy series, I guess the problem with that one would be violence and gore.

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    • I think I remember reading somewhere that the Castle Town Dandelion adaptation cut out a lot of fanservice from the premiere that was in the original manga. Hopefully we see that trend continue with the rest of the show.

      Like

      • I saw the first episode of Gakkou Gurashi… wow, that was really unexpected. I knew about the survival elements, but the part about the pink haired girl was very surprising.

        It seems it could be that way with Castle Town Dandelion, if other series do that, it could be a positive development.

        Like

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