Checking in on the Spring 2014 anime season midway through

May 26, 2014

It's time for the usual midway check in on my early impressions of this season and as usual, it's a bit delayed. The headline news is that I've wound up feeling that this season is a pretty strong one, although I've also wound up dropping a number of shows.

Things I'm still watching:

  • Mushishi second season: Either I have rosy memories of the first season or this season is tilting much more towards horror than the first season did. Whichever it is, the show still has Mushishi's deft and understated touch. And it's made me genuinely laugh.

  • Ping Pong: What makes me so enthused about Ping Pong is that it's mostly doing a sort of story and exploring a collection of characters that I haven't really seen before in sports shows. Pretty much everyone both feels human and is interesting. I find the stylistic animation mostly just interesting, although I do think it helps the story and helps things stand out.

  • Knights of Sidonia: If I had to describe this in one word I'd call it relentless; in animated form the show has acquired a visceral punch that the manga lacked for me. The battles are not soaring action affirmations but claustrophobic, tense exercises in people being all too human, things that you dread instead of looking forward to.

    (This is not as uncomfortable as, say, RideBack, but it is not exactly pleasant and cheerful.)

  • Hitsugi no Chaika: This has slowed down some from the early episodes but it's staying solid and interesting, and it keeps pushing the plot forward at a decent pace. I'm glad that it's getting a second season. And as they say, 'Chaika a cute'.

    (Plus, casting all your magic with giant sniper rifles is always amusing. Wands, pah.)

  • Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin: This was trucking along as an ordinary show and then episode 4 happened and made pretty much everyone much more interesting. The show hasn't always delivered since then but it has come through pretty regularly, so I'm happy.

  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure - Stardust Crusaders: It took a while for the show to really grow on me, but it has. JoJo's is plain flat out absurd, crazy, and over the top and I just roll with it on those terms and enjoy the spectacle. I suppose what I'm saying here is that it's really a comedy.


  • Haikyuu!!: This is a perfectly good sports show with perfectly good animation, characters, and so on. It's just not exceptional enough to overcome the fact that I generally don't get really enthused about straightforward sports shows, so I took the end of a recent storyline as a good point to stop watching.

  • Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii: Despite everything nice I said about it in my initial impressions it turned out that I wasn't all that taken with the show after all. When it hit my least favorite manga storyline at episode 4 I found myself with no motivation to keep watching.

Now declared as misses:

  • Captain Earth: I patiently gave this seven episodes to do anything sufficiently interesting and coherent and it didn't. It doesn't help that the show is periodically wince-inducingly clumsy and stupid (cf).

  • Mekakucity Actors: This is basically the same as with Captain Earth. There is probably more here in the show than with CE (and certainly less stupidity), but the slow pace and the obscurity irritated me. I likely gave the show too many chances given my previous standard of 'stop promising, start delivering'.

  • Black Bullet: After three episodes I concluded that this was just a typical light novel adaptation that had managed some flashes of being good. This was not enough to continue watching it.

    (It does have one of the better opening songs of the season, though.)

  • Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei: I came to my senses immediately after writing my initial impressions and never watched any more. From all reports I made the right decision.

Six shows, with three of them being solidly good, is enough to make me happy about this season.

Sidebar: My favorite OP songs of the season

For my tastes, Knights of Sidonia first, Black Bullet a relatively distant second, and then Ping Pong. Nothing else really ranks, sadly including Mushishi (the first season's OP is great although somewhat creepy if you listen to the lyrics, but I don't like this season's OP at all and always skip it). After some qualms the full version of the Sidonia OP has been growing on me.

As far as EDs go, you can't really top JoJo's.

Written on 26 May 2014.
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Last modified: Mon May 26 11:41:31 2014
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