Checking in on the Winter 2014 anime season midway through
It's time for the usual midway check in on my early impressions of this season. I don't think that this is a really strong season so far and it also feels kind of odd to me; despite watching a reasonable number of shows I've wound up somehow feeling that this season is a slow one (perhaps because many of the shows I'm watching are packed into the weekend with basically nothing coming out during the week). This is tempting me towards probably unwise ideas, like say trying to get into the frequently praised Hunter x Hunter.
(A less ambitious version would be giving Gundam Build Fighters a try.)
Things I'm still watching:
- Sekai Seifuku - Bouryaku no Zvezda: This is being generally fun
and funny with periodic additions of pointed commentary and weirdness.
As I hoped it's playing the absurdism straight but not seriously and
managing to be surprisingly charming in the process.
- Witch Craft Works: This was a surprise midseason pickup after I read
enough praise of it to push me over the edge. I have to tell you that
what people say about it being entertaining is true; it doesn't aspire
to being deep but it is both funny and clever. Part of the enjoyment
for someone like me is watching it thoroughly invert the usual gender
tropes of this genre in all sorts of ways.
So far the Tower Witches are never not funny.
(One of the reasons the show is genuinely funny is that it doesn't overplay its hand with jokes. There's no standing around extending the joke or repeating it to make sure you got it; the show brushes over the joke and moves on.)
- Noragami: The execution continues to be very well done and the
twists of the story are reasonably surprising and interesting
(Nora's story was not was I was expecting and is in some ways worse
and sadder). Hiyori is the clear best character of the show and is
really what makes it.
(One sign of quality execution is that Hiyori has more than one out of school outfit. Sometimes she has more than one in a single episode.)
- Seitokai Yakuindomo season 2: It continues to reliably hit my funny
bone and in fact makes me laugh on a regular basis.
(I admit that I'm watching this somewhat slowly, as there's no plot anticipation or 'what will they do next' to make watching it feel urgent.)
Perpetually on the edge:
- Space Dandy: This show is more or less the humour equivalent of a
decently well done action show. If it sounds like I'm making excuses
for Space Dandy it's because I am. Overall I feel that the show is
much better at the small stuff than assembling it into an interesting
and compelling framework.
(To be unkind, this is much more Kids on the Slope than Cowboy Bebop.)
- Robot Girls Z: It turns out they got a new joke or two for the second episode. It's probably amusing enough for me to finish it (so far I've seen one of the three sections of the second episode).
- Nobunagun: My gut is unenthused about this and I've learned the
hard way that I should trust it. I think the problem is that I'm just
not that interested in any of the characters or what's going on. That
the show keeps doing crazy things can only carry it so far.
(I'd say that the show's low animation budget is showing but to be honest it did right from the start. I was just willing to overlook its use of style to cover the lack of actual animation in the early days.)
In shows carried over from last season, both KILL la KILL and Log Horizon are still doing excellent work. Both have reached the point where stuff is really starting to happen and Log Horizon especially is coming through in all sorts of interesting ways. If I ranked them here they would both come before anything from this season, with KILL la KILL first.
Written on 22 February 2014.