Roving Thoughts archives


Brief not really early impressions of the Winter 2015 anime season

It's time for my usual early impressions post for this season (as before), which has been delayed mostly because I foolishly decided I'd write my best N in 2014 entry first and then didn't do that very fast. But hey, I've also been distracted by how strong this season is and how many shows I'm still watching.

Clear winners:

  • Durarara!! X2: The first episode was bland, with too much reintroduction of characters and too little plot happening, but since then things have woken up and we're back to the good old Durarara that I have fond memories of.

  • The Rolling Girls: Let's go for 'colourful' as the concise description of the show. The setting is colourful, the action is colourful, the actual look is colourful, and so on. It's got a real verve to it and I've been really enjoying watching. The third episode slowed down from the breakneck pace and verve of the first two episodes but I still enjoyed it. Also, the show's got a good sense of how to be funny, and better yet it lets funny things just be there and speak for themselves instead of hammering on you to get the point home.

    (I hope we get more Best fights because the first two episodes were really entertaining there. But I'm willing to believe that the show will do interesting things from now onwards, partly because the show's dropped plenty of hints about a real, serious plot going on underneath all of the shenanigans.)

  • Yatterman Night: I don't know how to concisely describe this. It has a weird dystopian future setting, a bunch of heart and sentimentality, a good sense of humour, a periodic injection of black comedy and bleak reality, and a bunch of things going on. I'm enjoying it quite a bit even if I have no real idea where it's going to wind up. This is the show that I can most easily believe might become a really powerful and affecting show by the time it ends.

Things I'm enthused by:

  • Yurikuma Arashi: This is Ikuhara so I'm predisposed to like it, but most of the episodes so far have been so stylized, dense with symbolism and mythology, and so devoid of actual characters for me to relate to that I'm mostly watching it passively and intellectually instead of getting emotionally involved. Episode four changed the pattern and was pretty good.

    In short, it's fun to watch this and speculate about what everything means but I can't say I actually care about anyone in it (yet).

Entertaining, at least so far:

  • Aldnoah.Zero: What is going on makes me roll my eyes and laugh a bunch, but so far the show is actually delivering episodes that I like watching. As I put it, the show knows how to throw a fun time. Slaine is the best character because he does interesting things. I may be shaking my head at AZ, but I'm smiling while I do it. Oh, and this show has good production values, which helps for good action sequences.

    It really surprises me to say this, but I can see myself putting an AZ episode on my APR votes some time this season.

    (The charm may well wear off at some point.)

  • Maria the Virgin Witch: This is a pretty decent show with a real grasp of action (the fight sequence in the second episode was genuinely well staged) and a good sense of humour that is only occasionally mean spirited and cringe inducing. In many ways it has the most interesting plot and conflicts of this season (and they're very thoroughly grounded ones; Maria may be a witch with magic, but what she cares about is very human). I say this as real praise: this show is plain well made.

    People who care about historical and theological accuracy in their anime may want to give this one a miss. I'm pretty sure that the author is using the medieval Catholic church (and medieval times in general) mostly as a convenient punching bag, with relatively little care for deep accuracy and sympathy.

  • Dog Days'' aka S3: The first three episodes of this third season have been much more like the action oriented first season than the slice of life amblings of the second season. Since I liked the first season but found there to be nothing there for me in the second season, I like this and I expect to continue watching until this changes.

On the edge:

  • Soukyuu no Fafner Dead Aggressor - Exodus: The first two episodes were pretty interesting (and the beginning of the first episode was very Fafner). The third and fourth episodes got rid of that in favour of a lot of not particularly interesting drama. The drama might be more involving if I remembered who all the original Fafner characters were and what happened in the original show. The whole decision to throw us in at the deep end in this continuation really puzzles me, seeing as the first season was ten years ago and even the movie (which I haven't seen) came out in 2010.

    (I'm probably dropping this.)


  • Kantai Collection: The characters are cardboard cutouts and the first episode gave me no reason to care about seeing any more of it.

  • Military!: As comedy this was short but flat.

Not for me:

  • Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love!: This is a comedy show and like almost all of them, it doesn't work for me; I smiled a bit during the first episode but not enough to be interested in watching any more.

  • Death Parade: Everything I've read has made me believe that this show falls under my Hell Girl clause. I love the OP but I think I would throw the actual show through the nearest window if I watched it.

This season I made the smart decision to skip all of the LN action harem shows entirely, instead of letting myself be tempted to watch the first episodes of the most promising sounding ones. By all accounts this was the right decision and this season features an unusually dire crop of them. I've also consciously skipped Assassination Classroom because the reactions I've read have been too lukewarm to leave me enthused in a very busy season.

In continuing shows, Shirobako is still excellent, Log Horizon is going on as it is or has actually improved a bit, and I'm growing increasingly disenchanted with Garo. I'm disappointed by this disenchantment, but more and more Garo makes me wince, sigh at the lack of animation, and not want to watch the latest episode.

(Having written this and made my feelings clearer, I may actually drop Garo entirely.)

I'm currently following eleven shows (or nine if I drop Fafner and Garo right now), which I think means that something is going to start giving soon. Or maybe this just be one of my busiest seasons for a while. I'd honestly like it if everything stayed awesome and interesting, even if it means I spent an awful lot of time watching anime.

anime/Winter2015Brief written at 22:15:46; Add Comment

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