Brief 'early' impressions of the Summer 2015 anime season so far
As before, it's time for another set of early impressions for the shows of this season. So far I'd call this season decently good but not deep, in that I'm watching several enjoyable shows but then there's a sharp falloff in my enthusiasm for everything else.
- Gatchaman Crowds Insight: This didn't start as strong as the original
Crowds did but it's been steadily picking up steam as it goes along.
How you feel about this will really depend on how you felt about
Crowds; for better or worse, this is a continuation. For me this is
great (and I think some aspects of the show are deeper and creepier
than people are currently giving them credit for).
- Senki Zesshou Symphogear GX: I gave into the boosterism and
caught up on the first and second season
in order to be able to watch this, and it was totally worth it. So
far Symphogear GX is as much fun as Symphogear G, which makes
it a pretty large amount of fun. Everything that you'd expect to be
happening is happening; there's new opponents, new crazy weird things,
extreme stunts, wacky fun antics among the existing cast, and so on.
- Gangsta.: This isn't anything revolutionary but so far it's been
a good implementation of its 'modern era badass killers' action show
genre. Since such shows are relatively uncommon, I've been quite
enjoying it so far. It's no Black Lagoon, but it's stylish and well
done enough to do.
(Gangsta. is clearly trying to be edgy and adult but I don't find it deeply convincing at that. Its version of 'adult' is a little bit to straightforward and cliched; when your OP starts with a bondage sequence, you're trying too hard.)
I'm enthused by:
- Rokka no Yuusha: Again, this is a decently good implementation of the standard 'quest by the designated heroes to save the world' genre. It's popcorn fodder but enjoyable fodder so far, and the setting (modeled on the Mayans and Aztecs) makes it stand out. I particularly like that the show's willing to be subtle and do a lot with action direction, body language, and voice acting instead of telling us outright. Subtlety is unfortunately rare in anime so I treasure it when I find it.
Enjoying so far:
- GATE: I've read better versions of 'modern people with modern
weapons go to fantasy' than this, but for popcorn
entertainment it's reasonably well done so far (see also). Any number
are better off not examined closely and I suspect that I sympathize
a lot less with at least one character than the show feels I should,
but if you care about that stuff this is not the show for you. This is
unapologetically a show for people who want to see a modern military
rattle around a fantasy setting, get into trouble, and wind up shooting
things that deserve it.
(Well, mostly deserve it.)
Unlike some people, I don't feel that GATE is particularly well made or well produced; if anything, the first episode was slipshod and cheap. I'm enjoying the show despite this.
- GOD EATER: This isn't anything new or novel and it has that LN scent
to it (although it's based on a game), but it has one thing down for
me; it knows how to be a surprisingly large amount of fun to watch.
I think it's doing a decently good job at enjoyable action direction
(and interesting directing in general) and I don't mind the unusual
CGI-ish art style. At the same time I pretty much expect to get tired
of this sooner or later, probably when it settles into a tedious
midseason LN cliche based grind.
- Ushio to Tora: This is pretty much the distilled essence of 90s shonen with modern production values. I've been enjoying it so far but I don't know how long that will last, since I've already seen plenty of 90s shonen in its native habitat.
- Classroom Crisis: I want to like this show but its writing flaws
are too glaring and too slipshod for me. Among other issues,
the writing has a definite habit of just having things
happen because they're necessary for the plot, not because
they actually make sense (money appearing from nowhere,
for example, and see also this twitter thread).
For me this is a case of potentially interesting ideas and themes
that are trapped inside bad writing. I'm not willing to slog
through the bad writing to get to the good themes, not any more.
- Aquarion Logos: This simply lacks the gonzo craziness of EVOL or the interesting characters and plot of the original show (which also had its own collection of over the top stuff to help out). The result is a bland and unappealing monster of the week show.
Not for me:
- Akagami no Shirayukihime: I want to like this but I just found it
too bland. Shirayuki and Zen themselves simply don't come across as
compelling enough characters to make this interesting; I kept finding
myself tuning out as I tried to watch it.
- Ranpo Kitan - Game of Laplace: The two episodes I saw were a horror show with a viewpoint character who was clearly insane (I'm not sure I can rightly describe him as the protagonist). I'm not into horror (or uninteresting mysteries) and I doubt the show is interested in exploring his insanity.
Not even considered, sometimes to my surprise:
- Durarara!! X2: The lackluster first cour of this back at the start
of the year wound up completely souring me
on continuing onwards, never mind my usual completist nature (cf). It feels
liberating to do something like this and I should do it more often;
past watching and even past enjoyment is no obligation to continue.
- Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya 2wei Herz!: Not after my reaction
to the second season. Every so often I manage
to learn better.
- Prison School: Regardless of Mizushima directing it, the premise
alone makes this very much not my kind of thing.
- Monster Musume: Nope. No much people praise this as goofy fun,
you're not getting me to take a look.
- Gakkou Gurashi: Horror and cute girls doing cute things at school
are both genres that I'm essentially completely uninterested in.
Combining them does not improve this situation.
- Overlord: By all reports this is no Log Horizon.
- Charlotte: I might be sort of attracted by the premise but the protagonist is apparently an asshole and so nope.
(I don't have any particular comments on anything else I'm not watching.)
This makes four shows I'm almost certain to stick with, two of which I'm solidly confident of, and I'm likely to keep at least a fifth around. That seems about right. By my standards this isn't a particularly weak season, even if it feels like I may have trouble filling out a full APR ballot in some weeks.
Written on 01 August 2015.