As is our custom around here, it’s time to take a look back at the shows of last season before the new one hits (actually, it’s already here but oh well).
It’s spring, the season of rebirth and new life and new anime! Due to the whole Easter weekend thing (HAPPY EASTER BY THE WAY!!! AND TO YOU HEATHENS YOU DON’T DO EASTER, I LOVE YOU ANYWAYS :D) this has been kind of a scattershot first impressions—I didn’t go in order and, in places, picked up either the show I was most excited for or the show I thought would fill out the post the best. In any case, I’ve generally been delighted by the season so far, primarily because my chosen shows—Danmachi, Show by Rock!, and Blood Blockade Battlefront—all had great premieres! You won’t find BBB in this post, though, because it is totally episodic post material, so look for that post soon!
Still to Watch: Re-Kan!, Owari no Seraph, Plastic Memories, The Heroic Legend of Arslan, Hello!! Kinmoza, Mikagura Gakuen, Euphonium, Pleiades, Ore Monogatari!!, Punchline, Urawa no Usagi-chan, Ninja Slayer, The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan, Kyoukai no Rinne, Yamada-kun, Nisekoi
Winter 2015 is here. It’s so here. So far, really, so good. There hasn’t been anything that’s compelled me to drop it outright (although a few shows have come close), and most of the shows I was truly excited for showed up well. Add a crop of decent premieres to five solid to excellent ongoing shows and you’ve got a pretty darn good start to the season. Either that or, after a fall season that failed to conclude with a show above 7/10, I’m just really happy to see some new anime.
Still to Watch: Kofuku Graffiti, Durarara!! x2, Isuca, The Rolling Girls, Aldnoah.Zero 2, Fafner of the Blue Sky, World Break, Death Parade
Ongoing: Shirobako, Garo, Your Lie in April, Akatsuki no Yona, Log Horizon
There are always a few shows each season that, for whatever reason, don’t get licensed for streaming. One of the more egregious omissions in recent memory, at least as far as I’m concerned, is Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta [Tatsunoko Production, 2013], an adaptation of Suzuhito Yasuda’s popular manga. A beautifully crafted production, YZQ is charming and tons of fun, fitting it nicely into my ratings at a 6/10 (Rankings).
Subtitle: On the Importance of Workplace Communication
Shirobako‘s a pretty sneaky show—it gives us an episode titled “Those Who Blame Others Should Just Quit!” and then proceeds to give us an entire episode of one guy who probably really does deserve to be blamed (although not entirely). It’s pretty eye-opening to watch Tarou’s exhibition of his absolutely abysmal communication skills (and lack of common sense), and as fun as it is to just blast him over sucking at his job, I think there’s a pretty impressive opportunity for self-reflection here. Even if you don’t have a job right now, Shirobako‘s highlighting a pretty important message here: communication is key.
And, along with all that, Shirobako managed to squeeze in a whole bunch of jokes, commentary on the 2D-3D debate, parallel that debate with Aoi’s struggles with her future, and lead us into the “one person’s problem is everyone’s problem” episode.
So, I’ve been watching Akame ga Kill for a while now and I’m starting to wonder if there’s actually more to this show than just extreme violence, no censorship, and an infatuation with grisly deaths. Is it, perhaps, a reflection on the futility of violence as a solution or as a method for change disguising itself as a cheap shounen thrill fest?
I’m well aware that on the surface, this seems an absurd suggestion—I myself, after the first episode, felt that Akame ga Kill did nothing less than glorify bloodshed by “justifying” it through the immorality of those who were being killed. 17 episodes and a few heartbreaks later, I’ve realized that, for all the characters who have died and who have been introduced and died, Akame ga Kill, Night Raid, and the Jaegers are no closer to any sort of resolution to their conflict than they were at the beginning of the story.
Gundam Build Fighters [Sunrise, 2013], as a glorified toy commercial, stands at the fascinating intersection between art and commercialism. As most involved in the anime fandom know, these foreign cartoons are almost always little more than an advertisement for their source material, and Gundam Build Fighters has the slightly more unique distinction among them by being an ad for model robots rather than an narrative product.
This in mind, it is all the more marvelous that Gundam Build Fighters is simultaneously a triumph of creative narrative entertainment and intelligent advertising—but more than that, it’s a beautiful affirmation of the importance of fun, play, and sheer joy. How incredibly ironic that such a blatantly commercial enterprise should leave us with the final message that to sacrifice the love of something in the pursuit of material success is the worst kind of destruction that can be inflicted on our souls.