If you’re dialed in to the anime fandom, particularly the simulcast-watching, blogging segment of the fandom that I inhabit, you’ve probably heard at least some hints of the controversy that’s been surrounding noitaminA’s new show, Your Lie in April, a 2-cour anime produced by A-1 Pictures and based on the Kodansha Manga Award winning manga by Naoshi Arakawa.
Near as I can tell as someone standing apart from those who are decrying the show, the bulk of the outcry surrounding KimiUso is derived from the show’s treatment of protagonist Kousei’s traumatic-abusive childhood at the hands of his now-deceased mother.
Now, I’ve always tried to form my own opinions of a show divorced from the complaints and praises of other, but KimiUso has been something of a special case for me. This is, partially, because I’m hearing these complaints from other bloggers whom I personally like and respect, but also because the criticism seems not to be directed towards KimiUso‘s technical aspects so much as it targets ethical concerns, excepting cases where the two merge together.
I suppose I have to be honest going into this review: I don’t like Aldnoah.Zero [A-1 Pictures + TROYCA, 2014] very much and, aside from a few episodes in the middle of the show, I never did. So, although the finale had me spitting venom and wanting to blackball the show, that’s merely an enhanced version of my overall opinion of the show. So, for annoyance, misery, good graphics and soundtrack, Inko’s cool name, and everything else, I’m giving Aldnoah.Zero a 4/10 (Ranking).
Nope. Not really.
At the beginning of the season, World Conquest: Zvezda Plot was one of my time casualties, a show that I dropped after the first episode because I simply didn’t have time for it. I ended up picking it up a little more than halfway through the season for my time guesting on the CrunchyReport, and I couldn’t be happier that I did.
World Conquest is a whimsical, imaginative and bright little show that holds a lot more weight than it seems on the surface. It’s wonderfully creative and quirky, with a distinct sense of humor and a few bones to pick (sorry, smokers). And underneath all that are valuable themes on family, childhood and ideals. World Conquest is a high 7/10 from me (ranked over at the Ongoing Rankings Page) and, significantly, earned an instant entry into my re-watch queue.
And so passes the best show (by far, I should add) of the Winter 2014 season, Silver Spoon, as Hiromu Arakawa adds to the legacy of her writing. This was a show that transcended both the genre and the medium as the sheer, unbridled (that was intentional) authenticity of Arakawa’s personal experience shines through at every moment. It wasn’t the flashiest; it was the funniest; it wasn’t even necessarily the most fun to watch. But it was honest and true to the human experience, and there is no replacement for that.
To be totally honest, I was pretty torn as to how I wanted to rate this show. My gut instinct was that Silver Spoon is a 9/10, the first one I’d seen in a quite a bit. But my current rankings didn’t really allow for that, which lead me to believe that my rankings, once again, needed something of an overhaul. So, that’s what I did. Silver Spoon gets a 9/10 from me, setting it at the very top of tier II. This is a show I would want to show to my kids when they are Hachiken’s age, because it hold that much meaning and that many valuable lessons.
It would be far too painful to force myself to write individual reviews for Galilei Donna and Beyond the Boundary, so I have decided to combine these two disappointing series together due to a common element: bad endings. Bad endings KILL shows, and although I usually try to look on the positive side, the endings to these shows so throughly wreck anything the shows had going for them that I can’t recommend either as watches beyond simple entertainment. And you can find many more entertaining shows out there without having to put up with the weakness of these two anime. Both shows are low tier III shows, see their rankings here. Continue reading
It can be tough sometimes to sum up the overall impression of a show in a single sentence. So, instead, I’m just going to throw out a few words that represent Working!! (also known as Wagnaria!!): Smiles, laughs, kindness and, ultimately, joy. I’d be hard pressed to find another show that is simultaneously bursting with such energy without crossing into the realm of the absurd. Working!! straddles this line, and the fusion of comedy, romance and true-to-life workplace relationships blends into an energetic, heartfelt experience that is truly deserving of the descriptor “joy.” To see where Working!! ended up in my list of ongoing rankings, click here. It’s cracked my top ten, with potential to be moved up.
There are a few important things that Working!! is not. It’s not a romantic comedy. It’s not a harem. It’s not an ecchi. It’s a workplace comedy, although it might be more appropriate to call it a relational comedy set in a workplace (with the typcial shades of romance). Despite the fact that Working!! spends most of its time set in the family restaurant Wagnaria (adapted to be the working English title for the series), the food service setting provides relatively few gags. Most of the jokes come from the cast of characters themselves, each of whom have one dominant characteristic. Continue reading
The fall season is beginning to draw to a close, and the first show to finish up is the excellent Silver Spoon, or Gin no Saji. Chronicling the high school adventures of Hachiken Yuugo at Ezono Agricultural High School, this anime with a seemingly strange premise is from the writer of Fullmetal Alchemist and lived up to EVERY expectation I had.
Silver Spoon is a show all about farming, which means it has three main themes. Food, animals, and food. How do you make a compelling story out of that? With excellent writing. The show is written masterfully, and all season long I would finish an episode and go, “Wow. That was perfectly written.” The coming of age story has been done over and over again, but Hiromu Arakawa puts a spin on it that I have never seen before. Hachiken, who was a perfect student in middle school, is initially way out of his element at Ezono. He’s never really been around animals before; all he knows how to do is study. But he is immediately faced with the challenge of realizing the pigs (specifically a runt, whom he names Pork Bowl) he is raising will soon be slaughtered for food. Taking the life of anything is serious, and even at the end of the initial 11 episodes, Hachiken still hasn’t completely come to terms with the matter. Continue reading