The weekly roundup or rundown or highlights (or whatever you want to call them) are back! As it happens, I’m going back to the normal Wednesday release schedule for this season…and you’ll also notice that I’ve navigated away from the clunky “Highlights of the Week” to something a bit snappier (and maybe a bit more SEO friendly): “Anime Weekly.” In the end, nothing’s really changing—this is still going to be the catch-all post for the week that compiles my thoughts on everything I’ve been watching. It’s just easier to type out the title now.
And a good thing, too, because despite my best efforts to cull my watchlist for this season, I’m still carrying 15 shows—5 more than the target set for myself at the beginning of the season.
Gate, Episode 2: I was expecting a lot worse than we got, and somehow the surgically efficient quality of A-1 Picture’s storytelling made Gate pretty darn entertaining this week. I’m still holding out for the girls with pretty hair colors to show up (and we were blessed with the redhead’s brief entrance this week), but while we bide our time with the members of the JDSF we’ve at least got Private(?) Kuribayashi to tide us over. Elsewhere, there’s a kind of ridiculous likability that’s starting to manifest on occasion—like with the JDSF’s hilariously uptight warning sign—even as the “serious” story is definitely a bit too serious for its own good. Thankfully, Gate seems to be staying mostly in lighthearted territory for now (the bit where Yoji and his otaku buddy start singing a mahou shoujo theme song really cracked me up). I’m still not sold on the show as a keeper for a full 24 episodes, but I’m at least engaged enough to stick around until the cute anime girls show up for real.
Classroom Crisis, Episode 2: If you don’t already, you should know about my love for Gundam Build Fighters, a show with a intense love for all things bright and beautiful—and Classroom Crisis, which is made by the same people, is very much cut from the same cloth as Build Fighters, with one critical difference: Classroom Crisis is actually articulating director Kenji Nagasaki & co.’s ideas in its themes and story. It’s the conceptual thesis to Build Fighter‘s lived example. And I love it for that. There’s an undeniable love and affection for the medium, the story, and the characters that underlies every moment of this production. That’d be enough to charm me on its own, but Classroom Crisis offers more. Like Shirobako, the titular crisis that is CC’s main conflict—the managerial transfer student’s orders to disassemble the preternaturally talented and creatively inspired A-TEC class—stands on a line of bitter reality without ever tipping into despair. Combined with the thematic thesis that’s already forming, this blend of fantastically-realistic story and hopeless infatuation with inspiration, creativity, and joy is well on its way to being a critical statement on why we need joy in our lives. Keep coming, CC. I’m with you all the way.
Charlotte, Episode 2: Jury’s still out on this one, but I’m leaning more towards keeping it than I am towards dropping it. At this point, Charlotte‘s greatest asset isn’t in its story, but in its ability to use strong voice acting and character animation to make its characters, if not likable, at least fun to watch. I’m honestly not quite sure how I feel about the trip to see Nao’s insane brother or about the impending external threat of evil scientists looking to experiment on teens, but at this point it’s much more wait and see than “oh, no—please not this.” We all know who’s writing this show and we all know that Charlotte will eventually turn on the tearjerkers, but if Maeda can continue to build up my affection for the characters through comedy (the sandwich teleportation scene was gold) and effectively build up the world in which they live, we might have ourselves a real gem. In the interim, Charlotte‘s one of those shows that I’m genuinely immersed in while watching—always a good sign and a good reason to keep on watching.
Gatchaman Crowds Insight, Episode 2: As always, Gatchaman Crowds keeps on rolling with the Big Ideas—introducing the season’s main villain as an ideologically (although not methodically, you’ll noticed) reversed version of Rui. Although I adore Hajime and everything she stands for, Rui’s probably my favorite character among the cast of Crowds. Hajime may be the show’s thesis-giver, but it’s Rui who’s more rooted in the reality of hope and, thus, the disappointment of reality. It always hurts to see Rui have to go back on his ideals because they are so good in concept, but so very difficult to manifest positively due to the nature of the world and human beings. And, of course, there’s also Tsubasa, the Gatchaman who can’t transform—the hero who isn’t really a hero yet, except to those who already love her. The OP seems to peg Tsubasa as, eventually, Hajime’s equal and counterpart, but those days seem to be far off and, more importantly, Tsubasa’s thematic place within the Crowds conversation is unknown as now. In the end, though, this is Gatchaman Crowds and I trust it to give us both a wild ride and a whole lot to think about.
Rokka, Episode 2: Whoo boy, this show looks pretty. Frankly, compared to the other pretty fantasy show of the season (Shirayuki-hime), I prefer Rokka‘s visual aesthetic (although I like Shirayuki-hime‘s OST better—both are by Michiru Oshima, who also did the Blast of Tempest OST). Adlet and Nashetania have both proven to be fun characters, although Nashetania’s playful teasing has made her stand out a little bit more than Adlet. The story itself is moving along as decent pace, as we’ve encountered 3 of the 6 Braves already—although Fremy Speeddraw seems to have a bit more to her story than simply being named one of the heroes of the world. I’m looking forward to her and Adlet’s seemingly inevitable battle next week, as well as to hearing why exactly she’s been killing potential Braves (if that’s actually true). In any case, my wories that Rokka wouldn’t really be a good show to watch weekly seem to have been mostly negated. I’ll be keeping this one until I tire of it, if that ever happens.
Castle Town Dandelion, Episode 2: This show is already one of my favorites of the season. There’s a lovely, charming realism to the Sakurada siblings’ sometimes loving, sometimes contentious relationships, a sort of refreshing vibe that extends to the show as a whole. It’s just a nice show and a nice show to watch. There’s no guile here and although we’ve run into a few animeisms (the panty jokes in episode 1), there’s more than a generous supply of emotionally genuine moments. Satou’s confession, Akane’s pure (no gross incest undertones here!) worry about what a relationship for Shu might do to their relationship, and even Kanade’s impatience with her younger siblings camera shy ways all resonate with the truth of a basis in reality I think is immediately apparent to anyone who’s ever had siblings. In short, I love this show—it’s cute in more ways than just the character designs and it makes me happy watching it. Oh, and it’s funny~
- Miss Monochrome S2, Episode 2: Kana Asumi appears as a psycho drag racing loli to accompany Yui Horie’s Vocaloid idol character. Also, this week was The Adolescence of Miss Monochrome, which was cool.
- Ushio to Tora, Episode 2: Still solidly entertaining and the chemistry between our titular jerkfaces continues to improve. This is a shounen anime through and through, built on solid shounen fundamentals. There’s not really ever going to be much to talk about with it, but MAPPA and Studio VOLN are doing an excellent job keeping the production sharp and the execution engaging.
- Durarara!! x2-2, Episode 2: Better than the premiere, definitely, although Namie has never been one of my favorites in the show. Mika, however, I do like quite a lot—and I was quite excited to find out that she’s actually got the agency to do things like gather information for herself. Information is power in this world and although knowing what she does puts Mika at risk, it also gives her leverage that she can use. And who knows when Narita will decide to have her use it…
- Working!!!, Episode 2: Inami is adorable, I’m still thrilled to have Kana Asumi in a full lead role again (Popura), Yamada is as precocious as ever—and everything else at Wagnaria is as it ought to be. Romantic developments, though…I’m as eager to see those as Souma is.
- Akagami no Shirayuki-hime, Episode 2: Still pretty, still very well directed—also still featuring kind of run-of-the-mill characters. Zen and Shirayuki are pretty and nice and stuff, but they don’t really feel like people yet. But once that element of the show falls into place…
Phew, that was long—and that’s not even everything I’m watching this season! I’m behind on Overlord thanks to my internet at home being broken and the Thursday shows haven’t had their second episodes yet. Next week, though, everything show be in order.
11 thoughts on “Anime Weekly: Summer 2015, Week 2”
I will do quick comments post My TOP 30 and give a couple of shows that might be movers ! BTW 48 Shows not counting dubs which wiil be at least 6 from Funi Dubble Talk last night! I wiil you give my TOP 4 OPS and ED’s which are all tied up ! I love suspense XD !
Gate / #5 Wont hit it;s stride until the trio is in place
Classroom Crisis / #26 I want to like this show better but needs something more?
Charlotte / #18 I agree with you may move into Tier ONE
Gatchaman Crowds / #12 Off to a slow start but has time to prove itself! Just a loaded Tier 1
Rokka / # 16 Was really good has a chance to move up
Castle Town Dandelion / #14 I agree this anime just works on so many levels!
Miss Monochrome / #28 I need another week to think about this Iy is very funny / the downfall shorts are up against a slew of full shows
Ushio to Tora / #40 I am not sure if the artwork is holding me back but had a better impression after EP 2
Durarara!! x2-2 / #10 Intersting but I am a big Celty fan but the head is back in the story
Working!!! / #3 Does its job ! BTW anytime you have the Takanashi sisters is just a riot! / The yet to be work romance is failing as always
Akagami no Shirayuki / #11 I kinda disagree about Shirayuki she is well in place !
SHOWS I need to speak for
NNB / I know you wiil watch!
Senki Zesshou Symphogear GX / this may be the Top show before long / Best ACTION / Great Villians / great OST / great 2nd cast / best Cliffhangars of almost any anime! / Oh there is a story in there but who has time for that really so much going on !
Gakkou Gurashi / If you liked Selector this a great study in Dystopia ! I think you would like this !
Arslan is really good / I think I underate it!
Gangsta / This is gettiing good as the there is a backstory!
God Eater / The animation looks like CG but is using shadow -cell drawing / I have yet to insert but has potential!
EPISODE(S) of the WEEK
School-Live! / “Beginning” EP 1
Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri / EP 2 “Two Military Forces”
Gangsta EP 2 / “Hundemarken” (German for Dog Tags )
Senki Zessho Symphogear GX / EP 2 “Shatter the World, But Before That…”
The Heroic Legend of Arslan / “The Foreign Prince”
God Eater / EP 1 “Lenka Utsugi”
TIER 1 Top Favorites
1 Non Non Biyori Repeat CR Mon
2 Senki Zesshou Symphogear GX / S3 Fri CR will air Later ????
3 Working!!! 3 / Wagnaria!! 3 CR / Sat
4 Gakkou Gurashi! CR Thur READING MANGA
5 Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri CR Fri READING MANGA
6 The Heroic Legend of Arslan Funi Sun ONGOING
7 Baby Steps 2 CR Sun ONGOINGREADING MANGA
8 Gangsta. / FUNI Sun
9 Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma CR FriONGOING READING MANGA
10 Durarara!!×2 Ten CR / Sat
11 Akagami no Shirayuki Hime / Snow White with the Red Hair FUNI Mon
12 Gatchaman Crowds Insight CR SAT
13 World Trigger CR Sat ONGOING
14 Jokamachi no Dandelion / Castle Town Dandelion FUNI Fri
15 Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace FUNI Thur A big Pyscho Pass Connection!
16 Rokka no Yuusha / (Heroes of the Six Flowers) CR Sat
TIER 2 Very Good Shows
17 My Love Story / Ore Monogatari. CR Wed ONGOING
18 Charlotte CR / SAT
19 Jitsu wa Watashi wa / Actually, I Am CR Mon
20 Ultimate Otaku Teacher FUNI Sat ONGOING
21 Aoharu x Kikanju (Aoharu x Machinegun) CR Fri
22 Sailor Moon: Crystal CR every 2nd Sat ONGOING
23 Sore ga Seiyuu! / Seiyu’s Life FUNI Tues
24 Himouto! Umaru-chan CR Wed
25 Aquarion Logos FUNI Thur 27 EPS Thur
26 Classroom Crisis CR / Fri
27 Teeyku 5 SHORT CR Mon
28 Miss Monochrome 2 Short CR Fri
29 Wakaba Girl Short CR Fri
30 Danchigai Short CR mon
TO BE ADDED WK 3
4 WAY TIE
1 Baby Steps 2 OP / “Believe in Yourself” by Mao Abe
2 Gatchaman Crowds Insight OP / “Insight” by WHITE ASH
3 Non Non Biyori Repeat OP / “Kodama Kotodama” by nano.RIPE
4 Prison School OP / “Ai no Prison”( Prison of Love) by Kangoku Danshi
4 WAY TIE
1 Baby Stepd 2 ED / Yume no Tsuzuki by Ganbare! Victory
2 Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace ED / “Mikazuki” by Sayuri
3 Gakkou Gurashi! ED / “Harmonize Clover” by by Maon Kurosaki
4 Non Non Biyori Repeat ED / “Okaeri” (Welcome Back) by Ayane Sakura, Kana Asumi, Kotori Koiwai, & Rie Murakawa
Thanks for posting up your favorite OPs/EDs! Those are usually things I don’t pay much attention to until later in the season, so it’s cool to see what people are liking while I’m still learning character names. ^_^”
Also, definitely agree on the Ranpo Kittan ED. That is one I actually remember and remember liking.
Indeed, 15 shows makes for quite a bit o’ mental juggling to keep up with it all, and quite a bit of text to cover it all… So, without further ado;
Akagami no Shirayukihime ep2; Still settling in as they run though the obligatory ‘set the stage’ episodes. I’m hoping they move out of the generic zone soon too.
Aoharu x Kikanjuu; Actually, I haven’t watched ep 2 as I felt no compulsion to do so. I think I’m just going to formally call it and drop it.
Castle Town Dandelion ep2; It looks like instead of having a coherent plot, we’re going to get a bunch of mini-episodes based on the original 4-koma strip. Ick. Double ick because they keep repeating plot points and the beating them to death again – did we really need what should have been Kanade’s character development episode dominated by Akane? (And largely a repeat of the first half of ep1 to boot.)
Classroom Crisis ep2; Crisis fumbled out of the gate with it’s many plot holes, and this week’s mass infodumps in place of actual plot didn’t help much. It’s in real danger of having the three episode rule invoked.
Gangsta ep2; (It’s going to take a week or two to make sure we’re in sync, especially as Funi is playing games with the airdates.) The plot thickens – and even though no overarching plot is clear yet, we’re starting to get glimpses of the deeper, wider, darker world of the Handymen. Honestly, at this level of quality, I’m OK with a more episodic show (as opposed to the expected serial).
Gate ep2; Another slow moving show that really needs to get it’s game on soon. Even though it’s slated to be 2 cour, slow isn’t much fun.
Million Doll ep2; less than a minute of actual plot…
Miss Monochrome 2 ep2; 🙂 That’s all I need to say.
My Love Story ep 14; (Another show I need to see where our sync point is.) Meh, are we done with Ai yet? Please?
Non Non Byori Repeat ep2; A curious stylistic choice for the setting, but we got our nyanpasu!! this week so it’s all good. The first half of the ep was so good it almost hurt.
Overlord ep2; Waiting for your post.
Sore ga Seiyuu! ep2; Is rapidly settling into it’s groove… It’s moderately on the generic side, just missing CGDCT, but still enjoyable.
Wakaba*Girl ep2; Just hopelessly cute… Wakaba’s attempts to act like a ‘normal’ girl (when she actually has no real idea how normal people act) are so charming. But… the sugar levels are a bit high and could become cloying if they’re not careful.
In other news;
Finished the Usagi Drop manga, watched the series again, and am now going through the manga again. There’s a lot to be picked up on the second pass.
Watched the finale of Working’!! last night, so by next week we should be in sync. The second season was even funnier than the first…
Yuuup. I’m glad I remembered that I could do short takes to ease the writing burden on myself a bit.
Oh, and shoot. You bringing up Gangsta reminded me I forgot to note down the shows I dropped and why. Shoot~
I’m also not sure if I’ll blog Overlord weekly or not. The first episode, I felt, really called for a lot of attention, but we’ll have to see about the rest of the show.
Sometimes I think you might be better to try and do in depth posts as they’re called for… Ep1 of this, ep 3 of that, etc…
Maeda’s writing philosophy has always been to keep things light and engaging at first, which gives the audience time to get to know and like the characters, so that when the drama kicks in later you’re hopefully invested in what happens to them. I’m enjoying Charlotte so far – my only concern is with its length. Air and Angel Beats both suffered a bit (or a lot, in Air’s case) from trying to cram their entire stories into just one cour, and I hope that’s not going to happen with this one too. So far, so good, though.
OreMono continues to be OreMono, and that’s all good, while Yuki Nagato went to the beach, albeit with (slightly) better results than its last vacation outing.
Food Wars was off last week, just a recap episode, so nothing to comment on there.
On the back catalog front over the last week, I’ve spent most of my extra anime watching time on Cardcaptor Sakura. I’m now up to episode 30 of that series, almost to the halfway point. I’m enjoying it – obviously, or I wouldn’t have gone this far – and I can see why it enjoys its reputation as a magical girl classic. At the same time, though, it took until around episode 25 to start showing the first signs of having a bigger overarching plot than just “Sakura’s adventure of the week,” which is an eternity for someone who’s gotten spoiled by the quick pacing of one and two-cour shows. Fortunately it’s such a strong cast of characters that it’s no drag spending 20 minutes with them every episode even when the main plot isn’t advancing much, and some of the individual episodes have been outstanding. Ep 22, where Sakura accidentally breaks her father’s laptop with all his work on it in the process of catching a card, was my absolute favorite of the series so far.
When I needed a break from CCS and OreMono fluffiness, I’ve been re-watching Gunslinger Girl. I bought the DVDs for that series several months ago but hadn’t had time to watch them. So hopefully they’re all in good shape, because it’s too late to return anything now! GG is one of those shows that inspires an interesting range of reactions, because some people just can’t get past the whole premise of a show about young girls converted into cyborg assassins to actually sit down with it. Far from being some campy or exploitative action series, though, it’s actually a very thoughtful character-driven drama (also directed, like OreMono and CCS, by Morio Asaka) that treats its premise with appropriate seriousness, but doesn’t lose itself to gloom and pessimism. It’s another of those shows I could write about extensively, but I’ll just say it hasn’t lost any of its impact in the re-watch so far.
It was also “witches at magic school week,” as I watched Little Witch Academia (wonderful!), and a short OVA called Quiz Magic Academy (not wonderful!).
Hey, maybe Maeda has learned some stuff about reigning in plots from his previous efforts. If nothing else, Charlotte does seem to have a much smaller focus cast than Angel Beats!, which should help.
And dang, you’re in the midst of a real Morio Asaka fest, aren’t you? CCS is one of those shows that I’d like to get to when I decide to dive into mahou shoujo series for real, and Gunslinger Girl is on the list as well (although not on the mahou shoujo list).
This is anime season is weird. There don’t seem to be any amazing shows, but a surprisingly large number are at least decent, and the selection is actually really varied. Although it’s kind of disappointing to me that the shows that seem to be getting the most love in the broader community so far (Gate and Prison School) are among the only shows I actively disliked.
I assume the frustration you expressed over the word “exposition” as a critical buzzword earlier in the week was relating to episode 2 of Classroom Crisis, and I would tend to agree with you on that. It seems like people clung to the exposition dispensed in this episode as an automatic negative, while ignoring the legitimate place it had in the narrative, both as a highlight of the conflicting messages and actions within the corporation and as a means of motivating Kaito to take action against A-TEC’s downsizing. It’s not like it pulled an SAO 2 and spent two thirds of the episode having an exposition conversation in a restaurant while nothing else is happening. Nothing about this has blown me away so far, but it’s been solid enough and I’m intrigued enough that I’m definitely going to keep going, and the thematic setup you mentioned could definitely be interesting.
Charlotte didn’t take long to go into Key mode with Nao’s tragic backstory, but I’m sticking with it for now, mainly for a lot of the reasons you mentioned, although Jun Maeda’s transparently emotionally manipulative and rigidly formulaic style of writing really rubs me the wrong way. I couldn’t get through 3 episodes of Clannad and have completely avoided his other shows. If I drop this it will probably be for that issue.
Honestly, though, the show this season I’ve enjoyed watching the most is still Shimoneta. It just has this infectious sense of energy that makes it really engaging to watch, and it’s anchored by writing that, while not top shelf quality, is good enough to sell me on the dumb and silly premise and to give me hope that it can maintain its entertainment value for all 12 episodes and maybe even draw a more interesting conclusion further down the road.
Even though I’m currently watching 15 airing shows I actually attacked more of my backlog this week than usual:
Almost a year after watching and enjoying the first three episodes and randomly putting it on hold, I finished season 1 of Chihayafuru. The pillar of any sports (or band, as of this past season) anime, at least in my opinion, is effectively showing the different reasons each member of the cast plays their sport, what it reveals about them as a person, and how it leads to their personal growth, and Chihayafuru does this masterfully. I look forward to eventually watching season 2 and then having my heart ripped out when I realize I probably won’t ever see the conclusion animated.
I also watched Sora no Woto in one go today. It’s not a show that I hear many people talk about, but I love the way all of its conversations and characters are written, and I honestly think it belongs in the pantheon of great slice of life series with the likes of Aria and K-On!. The animation (or lack thereof, at times) isn’t the greatest, but the effect is helped by gorgeous backgrounds and an excellent fully orchestrated soundtrack. It’s a shame it seems to have been buried by the initial knee-jerk negative reaction by western fans to anything resembling moe that happened after K-On! aired.
You’re on point—my exposition rant was definitely induced by complaints about Classroom Crisis, as “exposition” seems to be the new cool lit term the fandom has collectively decided to eviscerate of all meaning. It’s really frustrating to see good shows like Classroom Crisis get rapped as “slow” and “exposition-heavy” as if they’re explicitly negative labels—when in fact they’re merely descriptive and it’s the execution of such traits that really matters.
As far as Maeda goes, I feel like he and I have a deal where I basically go, “Okay, at this point I’ve been beaten over the head with the reality of your manipulation by people who dislike it. And my bargain with you is that I’ll let you do just that if you help me care about the characters.” I definitely understand why some people are bothered by the way he writes, but it’s not something that’s of primary concern to me or something that is hugely inhibiting to my experience of watching his shows.
And damn, you nailed exactly why I think Chihayafuru is such a special show. It really leans into the flexibility of its cast and the game of karuta itself to achieve that multi-faceted character effect. I’ll also let you know that I do have a long (really long) series reflection on Chihayafuru for when you’re done with season two. 😉
I’m trying to follow 19 shows plus 2 shows I’ve had on hold that I want to get back into my schedule, so 21 in all. crosses fingers
Shirayuki: Eh, this one is kinda boring me. It hasn’t really given me any good reasons to be interested in the characters. They’re rather pleasant people, but not much else at this point. Other than red hair = OMGSUPERSPECIALAWESOME!!!!!
Actually, I Am: Episode 2 was really good. I was NOT expecting the girl with the screw on the back of her head to actually be a tiny alien piloting a person mecha. The comedy was gold.
MonMusu: While this is obviously most a fanservice harem show, I actually think they’re being quite creative with the mythical creatures. I liked Centorea of the Noble Centaur Race quite a bit.
Overlord: Ep 2 was mostly a character building episode, but I really enjoyed all the character interactions so I didn’t mind. These NPCs have a lot of personality.
Rinne: Continues to be very funny and a lot of fun. I love the stoic heroine more with each episode.
OreMono: Still wonderful. One of the shows I always look forward to the most.
GATE: This one is developing slowly. Not sure what I think of it yet.
Ushio and Tora: Lots of fun. Not much else to say yet, but still a keeper.
Working: Oh man, I can’t believe Satou fumbled that. He’s not as cool and collected as he looks, which makes it even more fun.
Charlotte: I couldn’t help thinking of Firefly during episode 2. Which is by no means a bad thing.
Aoharu x Machinegun: I think it’s the characters who are going to make this show. I really like the 3 principles and the voice acting is so good.
Rokka: This show is so gorgeous. I’m not really liking Nashetania atm though. Looking forward to more character introductions. I think Adlet is going to become a favorite of mine though.
Gangasta: If you end up dropping anything, you should really pick this up. I am so in love with the style of this show. The scenes feel so cool and lazy, but there’s a simmering undercurrent of tension to everything. There’s a strong feeling of layers upon layers that would probably be great to study in multiple viewings. It reminds me a little of Cowboy Bebop.
The rest I’m either behind on or haven’t gotten to their second ep (I’m about to watch today’s eps in a bit). I’m working on catching up though!
None of the OPs or EDs are standing out to me right now, not like BBB’s immediately favorited songs.
“Would you like to get a drink with me? …..sometime…..”
That’s not even a fumble, that’s just outright not having enough guts to go for it! The suffering it causes Souma, though, is delicious.
I’d like to get back to Gangsta, but I’m not sure I’ll have time to get back to it…