Roving Thoughts archives


Brief sort of early impressions of the Fall 2014 anime season

It's time for another early impressions post, as before. I have to admit that these early impressions are actually rather late in the 'early' stage of things, for no particularly good reason (although Mushishi did only start airing last week). My overall view is that this is a really strong season with a major good surprise and I'm very happy with how things have come out. Any season where I worry that I'm watching too many shows to be sustainable is a good season.

Clear winners:

  • Mushishi second season continued: There really isn't anything to say about Mushishi that I haven't already said, but the first two episodes of this resumption have been especially strong.

  • Shingeki no Bahamut - Genesis: This is the surprise hit of the season for me and it came basically out of nowhere. The show is simply excellently done, with lovely directing, good animation, interesting characters, and an interesting series of change-up storylines.

    (This is the bit where I wave my hands because it's really hard to describe why Bahamut impresses me as much as it does. It has so many little touches.)

  • Psycho-Pass 2: Before this continuation started I really wondered if the show would have anything more interesting to say after the first season, but after a weak first episode the show's picked itself up and staked out some interesting themes (well, as far as I'm guessing).

Things I'm enthused by:

  • Hitsugi no Chaika - Avenging Battle: It's more Chaika and there's really nothing more to say than my description of its virtues at the end of the first half. I'm probably enjoying this more than Psycho-Pass 2, but it's more lightweight.

  • Fate/Stay-Night - Unlimited Blade Works: The Fate-verse may be dead people all the way down but damn, this production has money and talent and it mostly shows (sometimes they fail). I'd much rather the show followed Rin and Archer rather than Shirou and Saber (cf), but the production (and the core story) is at least making the latter two tolerable right now, even if I sometimes feel like I'm watching in spite of myself.

    One of the interesting things about watching this iteration of F/SN is that I already know so many spoilers for it (including from the earlier UBW movie). On the one hand this drains a bunch of tension; on the other hand this means I can spot little details that might otherwise have passed me by and understand what they're signalling.

  • Garo - The Animation: This is very nicely done and from the same studio as Bahamut, but it misses being an out of the park hit because it feels much more conventional than Bahamut. But it has set up a quite complex background and set of story lines, so I think it has potential to be quite powerful and really good. It's still good right now, it's just not great the way that Bahamut is.

    Garo has by far the best OP of the season of what I've seen. There isn't any contest.

    (See also 1, 2. I may be down on Garo right now because the third and fourth episodes were kind of conventional.)

  • Log Horizon second season: The show feels slower and less exciting than before, but it's still Log Horizon. I'm on board for more evil Shiroe and so on, although I could do with less angst. I don't really have anything to say otherwise; at this point either you know you like Log Horizon or you know that it's not of interest.


  • Shirobako: This is a show that I think is interesting without necessarily being good as such. I quite like the look inside an animation studio but at the same time it's chaotic and hard to follow and I have relatively little engagement with the characters. It badly needs a guide to what's going on and what all of the various people do, because if you aren't reasonably well informed about who does what and why various bits are important it's really hard to understand the problems the studio is facing. Even I'm getting confused and I've picked up a reasonable amount of the terminology and the anime production process.

    (For instance, in the first episode if you don't understand the crucial role of the sakkan it's not clear why the sakkan can take over animation for one sequence or why it's such a bad thing to lose the sakkan for a while.)

Entertaining but sitting on the edge:

  • Madan no Ou to Vanadis: What I like about this is that almost all of the characters involved are functional and mature adults with heads on their shoulders (and the one character who isn't is the one that irritates me). Adults who act it are a decided novelty in anime and it's refreshing to have a whole cast of them. With that said, the charm may well wear off this at some point and it definitely has its awkward bits.

Marginal, where I'll be amazed if I watch them all season:

  • Seven Deadly Sins (aka Nanatsu no Taizai): This is a kid's shonen fighting story and it makes no bones about it. What's kept my interest so far is how over the top the power levels are; for example, the climactic big fight in the first episode had them blow up the entire top of a hill. In other words, I'm watching for grand fights and I expect to keep watching only as long as it delivers that.

  • Ore, Twintail ni Narimasu: People have very divergent reactions to this depending on whether its non-stop more or less single note jokes work for them. So far the jokes have been making me laugh; since that's pretty rare, I'm willing to keep watching. However I won't be surprised if the laughter wears off abruptly and because painful instead, at which point I'll drop this like a hot potato.

Probably not for me:

  • Amagi Brilliant Park: This is well made but after watching two episodes it hasn't really grabbed me. I may watch more to see if clicks (especially since various people praise it and it keeps ranking high on APR) and in a slower season I'm pretty sure I'd be watching it, but this season is already really busy for me.

  • Parasyte - the maxim: This is probably the best show of the season that I'm not watching (I saw the first episode and that was it). I think a large part of it is that a good part of Parasyte is some degree of horror and I'm just not a horror person. I can see how good the show is, my gut just signals the rest of me with 'nope nope nope not interested try again'. I think I might enjoy it better in manga form.

Definitely not for me:

  • Gundam Build Fighters Try: There's nothing wrong with this show. It just has the misfortune of being a sports show about mecha, which are two things that almost never work for me. I gave the first episode a try and while I could see the quality and the appeal, it just didn't make me want to watch more.

    (Even my favorite Gundam works are my favorites for reasons other than the mecha, although it turns out the mecha are surprisingly integral to their stories.)


  • Inou Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de: Congratulations, show, you made the irritating chuuni guy so irritating that I can't stand him. Whatever else it is (and it may or may not be decent), this show is not for me at all.

  • World Trigger: The first episode was a potentially interesting concept wrapped up in what was in retrospect a rather boring and lazy execution.

Have not looked at due to bad initial reports or other reasons:

  • Akatsuki no Yona: On the one hand I theoretically like this genre in general. On the other hand I seem to only really like shows in this genre when they're unusually well done and early reports are that Yona's execution is kind of pedestrian and ordinary. In a less busy season I might have looked at this anyways; in this season I have triaged it pending effusive praise (which so far has not been forthcoming).

  • Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru: This had the misfortune of airing late in a very busy season and not generating massive praise, so I've triaged it just like I have Yona.

  • Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso: On the one hand I really liked Nodame Cantabile. On the other hand this involves characters in high school instead of university (which I consider a general warning sign) and may have excessive amounts of melodrama and hammering the audience. So far what praise it's gotten has not been effusive enough to get me to take a look.

  • Cross Ange: Nope. I actually find this a pity because I kind of would like to watch a Sunrise mecha action show, partly because we haven't had one of those for a while. I just have no interest in watching one with this one's reported sort of content.

  • Trinity Seven: Apparently your generic fighting harem LN adaptation in a very busy season.

  • Terra Formars: From all reports this falls into the 'over-censored carnography' bucket without very much interesting in its execution.

  • Gundam Reconquista in G: Gundam? Tomino incoherence? In a busy season? Nope.

(There are others that I haven't looked at due to their genre not being my kind of thing. And there may be some that I've just plain overlooked.)

Since I'm currently following eleven shows (with at least Amagi whispering to me to watch more), something is clearly going to give in what I'm watching. Sadly one of the losers may well be Shirobako, despite its appeal.

anime/Fall2014Brief written at 21:18:36; Add Comment

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