Fall 2015 Anime: First Impressions (Part 1)

I was gearing up for next weekend to be the big rush of shows, but uh…yeah, apparently it’s already happening. And I’ve been watching, as it were—so here’s my rundown of what caught my attention, what disappointed me, and what left me in the aggravating middle between keeping and dropping. Why can’t everything just be very good or very bad! All this middle-of-the-road stuff is hard to deal with!

Heavy Object

Sequel City: Miss Monochrome S3Haikyuu!! S2, Noragami Aragoto, K: Return of Kings

Miss Monochrome S3: We didn’t even miss a week of Miss Monochrome, which is, in my opinion, probably the best way this transition between seasons could have gone. There’s no difference at all between this season and the one immediately prior other than the new key visual (the excellent OP/ED have blessedly remained the same, as well), as Miss Monochrome maintains its sense of offbeat humor and continues to maybe move Miss Monochrome closer to her dream of being a top idol. Status: Good chrome-ing, kept.

Haikyuu!! S2: While the early parts of the premiere waffled around in the apparently obligatory cursory cast reintroductions, the episode as a whole was peppered with fantastic animation set pieces and a surprising amount of more subtle character acting animation (like when Kageyama gets up from the window at the Shiratoriwaza gym). But when we hit the final few minutes of the episode and Hinata/Kageyama’s staredown with Ushijima, my adrenaline started pumping and the genial excitement/hot-blooded hype that Haikyuu!! is so stunningly good at generating came roaring in at full force. This is going to be an awesome season of a show that’s consistently been one of the best-produced, best-executed sports shounen I’ve ever seen. It may be a little bit light on significant themes, but where you’re producing entertainment this engaging it really doesn’t matter. In other important news, it seems the Karasuno team will be joined by a new manager this season. A manager with blonde hair in a sidetail. I don’t even know her name yet, but it was pointed out to me that she looks like a cross between Nisekoi‘s Chitoge and Oregairu‘s Yui—and yeah, okay, I’m on board with that. Status: Kept, but now I have to wait another week. 😦

Haikyuu!! 2

Noragami Aragoto: Like Haikyuu!!Noragami Aragoto‘s premiere felt a little unnecessarily laden with “reintroduction to the world and characters” stuff, but thankfully moved on to what I assume will become the focus of this season: Yato and Bishamon’s tense relationship. From the flashback we say in Bishamon’s dream and the information we learned about her Regalia (useful or not) collected ways, it seems kind of obvious where we’re going. Yato, perhaps, did not actually kill Bishamon’s Regalia (single or plural) in the past out of malice—but to save her from them. We, of course, know full-well that the current Yato is not the same as the Yato Bishamon once knew, so it should be interesting to see how this all plays out. Hopefully we don’t see Hiyori and Yukine sidelined too much by Yato’s divine past, as the main trio was and is the true heart of this story. Status: Hiyori a best, keeping.

Noragami Aragoto

K: Return of Kings: So, the first five minutes or so of this episode…wow. It was basically straight fanservice, and I don’t mean lots of half-naked girls (although unfortunately there was one of those around)—an all-out fight between Specter 4 and Homura, but not in their current iteration. Rather, it was a unnecessary, generally meaningless flashback. But man, was it fun, and man! was it pretty. Constructed with Gohands’ jerky camera movements, colored filters galore, a neat soundtrack, and a whole crapton of animation, it was basically a huge Gohands-style love letter to the world of K that we never even saw in the first season (because it was destroyed by Totsuka’s death). The rest of the episode actually moved quite well (certainly better than a lot of the other sequel premieres), setting us up for yet another season of slightly incoherent plotting and super shiny production values. K is such a fantastically distinct experience, and I’m honestly thrilled that the first anime I ever watched simulcasted got a sequel. Status: Keeping, no thanks to Hulu.

Bubble Shows: Hackadoll, Young Black JackUtawarerumono

Hackadoll: Another short running in the same Ultra Super Pictures slot as Miss Monochrome, Hackadoll is clearly the inferior of the two shorts, but it’s kind of fun nonetheless. Basically: a trio of  anthropomorphized computer programs descend to earth to “upgrade” (aka torment) a lonely fujoshi girl. It’s kind of wacky, kind of dumb, and has a little bit more fanservice than I care for, but I liked it well enough to give it another 8 minutes next week. Also, good faces. Status: next week?

Young Black Jack: Probably the oddest show I watched out of the bunch, as it follows a talented bishounen doctor with a bunch of scars who does surgeries he probably shouldn’t be able to perform. Based on a manga based on a manga by the legendary Osamu Tezuka, Young Black Jack definitely feels…different than a lot of the other stuff airing this season. It’s pretty obvious to me that comes from something inspired by something from another era of anime/manga culture, which helps it feel a bit more fresh than it perhaps should. Hazama himself (aka the Young Black Jack) is kind of an offbeat character with the tendency to border on uninteresting in his competency, but he’s thankfully redeemed by his obvious anxiety post-surgery. I’m frankly not sold on this one, despite the glorious OP song. But we will see where Young Black Jack goes. And, you know, he is really hot…Status: Oh my gosh, he is a hot dude. Is it enough?

Utawarerumono: Apparently this is a sequel to a show based on a visual novel. I picked it up solely because I thought the plot synopsis sounded a bit different than the usual fantasy anime fare—and I was right, although now I’m not sure how much I like it. As a premiere episode, Utawarerumono kind of settled into two distinct modes. The first, shown during the opening sequence, was one of fairly strong direction (although the visuals were a little weaker) successfully creating a sufficiently spooky and then sense atmosphere. The second was the more laid back, and less directorially-inspired, mood of the village. This particular mode lent itself well to the sort of sleepy feel of a small community going about its normal tasks, but Utawarerumono is definitely not a pastoral—and even if it was, the character work is unsteady enough to be a bit of a damper. Kuon is adorable, though, even if she doesn’t have a lick of chemistry with Haku. Again, I generally liked this premiere..but Saturdays are bad days to air. Status: Wait and see, I suppose.

Utawarerumono 2

I Was Not Supposed to Watch This: Owarimonogatari

I have never watched a Monogatari weekly. I never intend to. But I watched Owarimonogatari because it was up and because, dangit, it still is Monogatari. This particular story—about math—was more of a curiosity to me than anything. It’s just Monogatari being very competent and good about Monogatari things, but in terms of the larger plot I’m not quite sure of its significance other than the fact that this incident was apparently the tipping point for Araragi to fall into the loner status he was in at the time of Shinobu’s attack validates my current dominant character analysis of the show as of Monogatari Series: Second Season. I’ll definitely continue to watch Owarimonogatari, although I may end up just watching each arc as it finishes, rather than each episode weekly. Status: Keeping on its own schedule.

Owarimonogatari

NO CABLES HERE: Heavy Object

As it happens, I reviewed Heavy Object on Twitter last night.

If you want to read the full review, I’ve compiled my tweets in a Storify for your convenience. Also, I was going to drop this, but then I jokingly made a funding goal on my Patreon that if I hit $20, I’d livetweet the whole season. Someone took me up on it. So now I guess I’m officially being paid to watch and tweet about Heavy Object. Moving up in the world…

Heavy Object


Still to Come: Concrete Revolutio, One Punch Man, Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans, Comet Lucifer, Star-Mu, Beautiful Bones, The Perfect Insider, Garo, and Gochiusa S2.

25 thoughts on “Fall 2015 Anime: First Impressions (Part 1)

  1. Things were going smooth until Crunchyroll has the new error Glitch page ! I was up real late last night watching anime becuase things were acting up ! The other site went smooth ! So I had a bunch of updates for my liitle fifedom Greenlight and have not wayched anything today as I fell asleep. The stress of why a website is a mess on the new season debuts ! Seems like a regular ritual ! So No Ranks just watched ! I am glad they have a sci-fi In Heavy Object . I just wish they would stay on course with Sci-Fi and not blemd fanservice and attempts at comedy > I like the concept / the animation is just breathtaking ! I gotta take my sci-fi even if it’s uneven . So I wiil be up late again tonite !

    Oh you have to make a new post the LOST Final Episodes ! What’s the use of having a season if you are going to finish it ! There is at least 6 that I lnow of ! Usually an extra episode was to show a happy aftermath when the anime now they are extending the season ( back to my gripe about the 12 EP rush job) Give me Back My Anime ( A take on the song Gimee Back My Bullets)

    WEEK 1 DEBUTS In ORDER WATCHED

    MILPOM* / CR Daisuki SHORT

    FRIDAY

    Lance N’ Masques CR
    MISS Monochrome 3 CR SHORT ‘Ultra Super Anime Time’ Block
    Hacka Doll the Animation CR Daisuki SHORT ‘Ultra Super Anime Time’ Block
    Noragami Supernatural 2 / Noragami Aragato Funimation
    Heavy Object FUNI
    Lovely Movie: Itoshi no Muco Season 3 CR SHORT
    Kagewani series CR SHORT ‘Ultra Super Anime Time’ Block
    Soukyuu no Fafner: Dead Aggressor – Exodus

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    • If I remember right, I think I saw on Twitter that CR had some maintenance they had to do a few days ago, so yeah…

      And yeah, Heavy Object‘s attempts at humor where quite bad. But I didn’t really expect anything better from the Raildex writer…

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  2. The only show that I’ve watched (or will watch) out of this first group is Hackadoll, and I only picked that up because CR had it and I really wanted something to break the ice on this season. It wasn’t half bad, though. Not great either, but it did make me laugh and was just bonkers enough to pique my curiosity. I don’t know if I’ll last a full season with it, but for now it’s worth coming back to. Otherwise, the rest of these are either sequels to shows I never watched, they didn’t get picked up by CR (Heavy Object), or they don’t interest me (everything else).

    My fall season really starts in earnest tomorrow with Comet Lucifer, Gundam, and (if CR picks it up) Hakone-chan. For all the years I’ve been watching anime, I’ve never watched a Gundam series in its entirety before, not even Wing back when that was super-popular in the 90s, so I’m really hoping this will turn out to be one of the “good” installments.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hackadoll is Trigger, so I know there will be plenty more craziness to come. Supposedly there’s one staff guy doing a heckuva a lot of work on it (probably possible only because it’s a short). Definitely could be fun, though.

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  3. @Utawarerumono: Is this a sequel? Looks more like an independent show set in the same world to me. Were there any references you didn’t get? I haven’t watched it yet. Probably will have next time I log on. The original anime was pretty good, though I don’t remember too much about it off hand. Art style looks quite different to me, to.

    The inconsequential question: Why are we watching season 3 of Miss Monochrome instead of the second cour of the second season? What’s the difference? So we can have one more premiere? Hm…

    Also, you’ve missed out on my favourite premiere so far: Lance’n’Masques. Pretty colours, great musical support, nice pacing, enough open questions to make me curious, and above all enough tongue-in-cheek stupidity to keep me going. My main gripe is that the childish character designs make it hard to gauge the age-difference between various characters (and we seem to have an above-avarage age range here).

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    • Utawarerumono is weird. I haven’t played the VN, but I’ve been told this season of the anime assumes you’ve seen the first season/played the VN ahead of time. There weren’t any references I didn’t get, but I just felt a little disoriented in the world (and not in an in media res kind of way).

      And yeah, idk why this is season 3 of Miss Monochrome, but her scarf in the new key visual is super cute, so I’m not complaining.

      I’ve been told Lances’n’Masques was somewhat fun, but I’m just not feeling the magic high school LN adaptations this season, even though I’ve often done at least one in the past. Need a break I guess…

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      • I’ve now watched the first episode of Utawarerumono. This episode reminds me a lot of the first episode of the original. It’s like they were consciouly re-creating that episode with a different cast and variations in the set-up, but I don’t remember too much about the original so I can’t be sure. So far, I’d say all you’re missing from not knowing the original is the meta-level of comparison. But again my memory of the original is a bit sketchy at this point.

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  4. Between not being ready for things to be out NOW rather than next week and Anitwitter/CR not giving me any real incentive or pressure into watching anything I have actually yet to watch any of the shows.

    So far though it seems everything is a resoundingly mediocre or awful with very little being considered good.

    I might start watching sometime next week but so far at least very little is pushing me to keep up with anything.

    It also doesn’t help it seems the stuff everyone was looking forward to (at least with people I talk to) was caught by neither FUNi or CR leaving them to Daisuki or still orphaned and I just hate taking the time or effort to even half ass watch stuff on the darkside (and I will never torrent/download).

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    • Dude, yeah, I was also not ready for this season to start! Totally snuck up on me. Before today’s rush of Good Stuff, Miss Monochrome and Haiykuu!! were really the only things that impressed a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve only watched a few new shows so far. I desperately want to what K, but my husband insists on watching it on a legal site. So I also haven’t watched Noragami yet. Sigh.

    Attack on Titan Junior High: OMG this was the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen. Just… so freaking adorable and Armin hasn’t even shown up yet in his security blanket. Loved every minute, but then I’m a mega AoT fan.

    Utawarerumono- Itsuwari no Kamen: I had no clear idea what this was about, just that it was fantasy, which is enough to get me to try it. But I was surprised by how enjoyable it was. I liked both characters. Yeah, Haku is a bit lazy, but then so am I. Kuon was cute and charming. I really liked the character designs and there was some truly gorgeous scenery. I’ll definitely be following this one.

    The Asterisk War: Well, that was pretty generic. I probably won’t watch this unless I’m really bored or unless there’s some indication that it gets more interesting later on.

    Lance N’ Masques: Well, I thought it was cute, but other than that I don’t know. I’ll probably give it the 3 episode trial.

    So I’ve still got Young Jack Black, One Punch Man, Noragami, K, Concrete Revoltio, Comet Lucifer, Star-Myu, Beautiful Bones, The Perfect Insider, Onsen Yousei Hakone-chan, and the Gundam one (which will be my first ever Gundam, very exciting) I want to watch. I’m way behind everyone else starting the new season, but I still haven’t finished a couple of shows from summer so I guess that’s alright.

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    • Oh also, I enjoyed your tweets about Heavy Object. You make fun of the cable thing, but if I could live my life without any cables, I’d want to tell everyone too. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hope you get to K soon! Like I said, it’s absurdly pretty and the opening fight sequence is simply stunning.

      Kuon was indeed charming, definitely my favorite part of the Utawarerumono premiere. Her tail got so much animation, too haha.

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  6. I’ve tried, on your suggestion, I’ve tried multiple times but I find the Monogatari series unwatchable. Add in pseudo-intellectual math twaddle to the mix and I am even more out than before. Too much yammering.

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    • It’s definitely not a show for everyone! I actually tried it once before and couldn’t do it, but came back to it much later and liked. Not saying it’d be the same for you, just that I definitely understand that it doesn’t work for everyone.

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  7. Of what’s on this list that I am watching…

    Miss Monochrome s3 ep1; Back to wacky comedy rather than the plot that rounded out season 2, I am pleased.

    Hackadoll ep1; Couldn’t find anything that really said what the show was about, but did find that had VA’s from my beloved WUG. After watching it, I’m still not clear what it’s about… but it’s a short and not entirely sucky, so we’ll see how it goes.

    Heavy Object ep1; My lady was sitting reading some manga on her tablet as I watched, and the following exchange occurred after it was over.

    Me: (sits there slack jawed)
    My lady: So, what did you think?
    Me: (ponders) it was bad.
    Ml: Hiw was it bad?
    Me: (ponders) There was nothing good about it other than the Princess was moderately maybe kinda cute.
    Ml: Oh.

    It’s not dropped (yet), but I have this sinking feeling that by the eyecatch of the 2nd ep, I’m going to be wondering why it wasn’t.

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  8. Maybe it’s just me, but this season feels a bit lackluster so far. Perhaps it’s because so many shows are sequels to shows I have not seen yet. For example, I’m on Neko in the Monogatari series.

    Noragami Aragoto – I liked Noragami, and this looks to be more of the same. Which is pretty great.

    Hackadoll – Didn’t really seem all that interesting or funny.

    Utawarerumono – This looked really good. So good that I decided to watch the 2006 show on the weekend. After that though, I now have reservations. The 2006 show is … really weird. It’s hard to describe, but it kind of takes an unexpected turn. A really unexpected turn.

    Heavy Object – Kind of interesting, but also kind of dumb. Random boob grab and worrying about touching the girl’s chest in an emergency situation was a real turn-off.

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    • It’s not just you. Except for Miss Monochrome, there’s not a single show I’ve watched so far that isn’t at significant risk under the three episode rule. There’s a couple teetering on the precipice of not even making it to the second ep.

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  9. Okay, so I tried to watch K: Return of Kings: Dropped it 8 minutes in. Horrible video-game like storyboarding, embarrasing trash talk, Characters (if you can call them that) Indistinguishable from one another. Fanservice that out prison schooled Prison School. just embarrassing. I will not be able to manage three episodes, eight minutes is enough. 😦

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    • You’re aware that it’s a sequel, right? I definitely wouldn’t have recommended starting off with Return of Kings if you hadn’t already seen the prequel series and the movie. More than any other sequel I’ve seen this season, K really strongly assumes you’re already familiar with its world and characters.

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  10. Unless the previous season and film are something profoundly, completely other, I won’t be interested. I don’t think I’ve seen such horrible FG/BG muddiness outside Jack Kirby. Really! crap flying around for the sake of crap flying around is something I expect from Michael Bay movies, not anime. And did no one else notice the BGs seemed to be whirling round madly at a distracting strobe-like 6 FPS or something like that? There may have been good character animation but who could see it past all the bad video-game environments, and FX animation? Obviously I have a searing, white-hot hate for what I saw. Maybe there is story context I am lacking, Maybe there will be characters later on, but I’ll never manage to get that far. it is a complete and utter visual fail.

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