Checking in on the Spring 2015 anime season most of the way through
Once again it's time for the traditional 'midway' update on my initial impressions. You probably saw this one coming; I was overly optimistic in a number of my initial impressions.
- Sound! Euphonium: This has become the smash hit of the season for
me and a strong contender for one of my shows of the year. It continues
to be great in many ways; its collection of characters, its excellent
directing, how willing it is to tell the story with small things and
small gestures, and more. I'm not sure what the show is 'about' as
such, which is one measure of (good) quality, but in part I've come to
see it as an observation on what 'going for Nationals' really means
for the people involved. In your typical sports show the narrative
is basically all positive; here, we are seeing the cost spelled out,
in strained relationships, crushed people, and so on.
(Or perhaps I'm reading too much into the show. Who knows.)
Have I mentioned yet that this show is plain beautiful to look at? Because it is. The animation and visual appearance is lovely and the directing is top notch.
- Blood Blockade Battlefront: In my initial impressions I called this 'pretty great for a big action show' and that's still a fair assessment. It's just that BBB is not anything more than that. It's fun to watch, it has a bunch of genuine flair due to Rie Matsumoto's directing, the characters and humour are okay, but it's never going to be great in the way that eg Kyousougiga was.
Things I'm still watching:
- Knights of Sidonia - The Ninth Planet Crusade: When the second
season is on, it's on. It's just that Sidonia has spent a bunch
of its recent run exploring what you could pretty literally call
Tanikaze's harem. This is not what Sidonia is good at and it's
been kind of painful to watch.
Hopefully we're now out of these boring doldrums and back into the stuff that Sidonia does so well. The omens are good, at least.
- Punchline: The quick summary of what happened here is that the
show has turned down the mania level and is starting to explain
things. I don't really expect this to end well; I'm
just hoping for a fun ride on the way there.
(To be fair, Punchline has a bunch of recent enjoyable twists too. They're just not as big as earlier ones. Possibly I'm too jumpy about how the end is going to go, but I do feel the show has slowed down overall.)
Why am I still watching this award:
- Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works: This has simply not been
particularly good or particularly enjoyable, because it tried to hold
forth on philosophy. Worse, it tried to be serious about it and then
it drew the whole thing out across multiple painful episodes of Shirou
and Archer talking vacuously at each other.
But hey, when it could be bothered to have fights they were generally okay and reasonably pretty, and Lancer wound up being cool, and a few other okay things happened. I'm overly invested in this franchise, okay? Don't ask me to do the sensible thing at this point.
Still cannot rate:
- Ghost in the Shell Arise - Alternative Architecture: This has only just finished rerunning the four OVAs, which I enjoyed plenty but didn't really anticipate as such because I'd seen it already. I'm hoping that the couple of episodes of new material are going to be great, ie up to the usual Arise standards.
My view is that Sound! Euphonium makes this a great season by itself. Without it this would still be a good season; Blood Blockade Battlefront is perfectly good for what it is (I just wanted it to be more), Sidonia has often been excellent, and even Punchline is perfectly good fun with a bunch of enjoyable twists.