Anime Taste Testing: Spring 2014

46. picture1Well, it’s that time again. The cherry blossoms have been and gone and the bugs have begun their terrifying invasion, which must mean that spring has officially arrived in my part of the world – and with it, a bunch of promising (as well as not-so-promising) new anime. Of the twelve titles I’ve given a try, exactly half of them managed to impress me enough to watch further. As usual though, let’s start from the bottom of the heap and work our way up.

Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou
Score: 3/10 (Dropped)

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In most regards this seems to be a fairly cliché harem story – main ‘everyman’ character gets beaten up a lot, repeatedly falls face-first into ample amounts of cleavage, etc. etc. I’m going to assume that this is billed as a comedy series, but since I personally don’t find physical abuse, boob jokes, alcoholism, or creepy bachelors especially funny, I won’t be watching any further.

Akuma no Riddle/Devil’s Riddle
Score: 4/10 (Dropped)

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This feels a bit like a more cheaply-produced version of Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom, only with the addition of a pseudo-lesbian cast and a healthy dose of fanservice. It’s far from the worst or most offensive anime I’ve set my eyes on, but I think I’ll pass nonetheless. It’s not hammy enough for me to take as far as raw entertainment value goes, and yet I’m just unable to take a series that uses pocky as a weapon with any kind of seriousness.

Hitsugi no Chaika
Score: 4/10 (Dropped)

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‘Tis the season for light novel adaptations, and while I don’t like it when I see something immediately written off as ‘LN trash’ before it’s even seen the light of day, Hitsugi no Chaika really is a poor series; stilted writing, worn-out stereotypes (Lolita-Maid-Princess, anyone?), and no finesse to speak of in any area. The plot actually seems perfectly serviceable and could in itself be a lot of fun, but no amount of exploding man-eating unicorns can save this one from its almost painfully hackneyed demise.

Kiniro no Chord: Blue Sky
Score: 5/10 (Dropped)

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The lesser of the two reverse-harem titles of the season. Not that the other, Kamigami no Asobi, is a particularly stellar title, but Kiniro no Chord: Blue Sky is by far the more tired show. You could certainly do worse if this is the genre you’re into, but the series brings absolutely nothing new or exciting to the table. Even as far as comedic value goes, the sheer ridiculousness of what goes on is for the most part played completely straight, making this yet another melodramatic bishounen-fest to add to the pile – nothing more, nothing less.

Mekakucity Actors
Score: 5/10 (Probably Dropped)

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Shaft doesn’t exactly have a good track record with me. There have been one or two exceptions, but in general, neither the studio nor director Shinbou Akiyuki much impress me. Mekakucity Actors is unfortunately no exception, despite some of the rather lovely and interesting artwork. It’s not even the story or characters that puts me off – it’s the self-indulgent tone and repetitive visual tricks that I’ve gotten from Shaft plenty of times before and continue to get now. While Mekakucity Actors doesn’t do anything terribly wrong, I also don’t see any real originality or passion here – just another one-trick pony, and a title that’s trying too hard to be ‘artsy’. I’ll give it one more episode, but honestly my expectations are fairly low.

Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii/The World is Still Beautiful
Score: 6/10 (Dropped)

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To be clear, I don’t dislike what I’ve seen of this series. It’s frankly refreshing to see a shoujo princess that’s neither smitten at first sight nor a doormat, and it’s also a relatively bright, nice-looking show. The reason it gets put in the dropped pile has more to do strictly with personal taste than anything; I tend to prefer my fantasy titles on the darker side, or at least to present a more socially/politically realistic setting. However, I get a very cartoonish vibe with Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii (seriously, the villains may as well have started laughing manically while twirling evil mustaches as they explained their dastardly schemes to each other in that first episode), and much of what goes on seems quite comedic in tone. It’s no particular reflection on the quality of the series, but this one just doesn’t do it for me.

Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei/The Irregular at Magic High School
Score: 6/10

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If Pretty Points were what mattered most then Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei would undoubtedly be one of the best titles of the season, and I’d be lying if I said that the alternative universe didn’t appeal to me on some level. Heavy-handed or not, I quite like the magical system presented here and dig some of the styling choices. However, I can’t help but be put off by the transparently obvious (and by now incredibly clichéd) perfect older brother/moe younger sister thing, which I think everyone can safely assume is going to be a mainstay of the series. I also doubt we’ll be seeing any innovative characterisation here – so I get why this show isn’t looked upon favourably by the “Light Novels are the Spawn of Satan” crowd. That said, it’s certainly nice to look at, I haven’t been annoyed too much thus far, and for all the derision it’s getting, I don’t see that Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei has committed any grave sin so far.

Kamigami no Asobi
Score: 6.5/10

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Clearly it’s no Ouran High School Host Club, but this show is still entertaining as all hell. I’m instinctively attracted to fantasy settings when it comes to reverse-harems, since it means I’m bound to have a far higher tolerance for the general silliness that’s sure to ensue. And boy does Kamigami no Asobi deliver in that regard. This is a blatantly ridiculous series in pretty much every way, but the bishie action amuses rather than annoys me, and the visuals are both bright and clean. Intelligent? Not by a long shot. Fun? Absolutely.

Black Bullet
Score: 7/10

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At first glance, this one has a lot of the hallmarks of a potentially awful show – Obnoxious and Clingy Loli, fanservice of the Short Skirts and Obvious Breasts variety, and a story that feels like it’s aiming to be a bit more original or interesting than it actually is. There are a couple of things that the anime does very right, though. The first episode managed to nail that fine line between cluing the audience in where it matters most and not info-dumping everyone with awkward exposition, while the second episode did a much better job of making the characters more likable and emotionally realistic than how they first came across. Production values are none too shabby either – even if this turns out to be a fairly mindless action-orientated show, at least the action is pretty damn decent. Easily the best light novel adaptation of the season.

Captain Earth
Score: 7/10

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To put it bluntly, I’m not a mecha fan. I don’t mind one or two big damn robots if an anime is mostly character-driven, but I don’t really care for robotic transformation sequences, huge guns, or space explosions. I’m also side-eying the generous dosage of fanservice that this series is getting – I’m no prude, but I don’t think this story gains much from jiggling breast shots either. (And for fuck’s sake, the fixation with making female antagonists ultra-flirtatious or sexually overt while the female protagonists are contrasted as adorable and sexually innocent pisses me off more and more. This trend certainly isn’t an anime-only one, but I’ve grown to hate it.) On the positive side of things, Captain Earth is a great-looking show, the writing and direction seems competent enough, and our main character displays a lot of emotional self-awareness right from the get-go that’s surprising for this kind of title. This is no Renton or Shinji we’ve got here – Daichi has too much confidence for that, and it makes for a nice change. Despite my reservations, I’ll most likely be sticking with this one.

Isshuukan Friends/One Week Friends
Score: 8/10

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Colour me surprised. For whatever reason, I hadn’t actually been planning to watch Isshuukan Friends at all – probably because my first glimpse of the artwork reminded me unpleasantly of Saikano, a story which I had serious issues with. So I watched episode one on a whim, but am oh so happy that I did because second only to Mushishi, this is currently my spring season favourite. It’s adorable but not sickly-sweet, and though the plot sounds worthy of some eye-rolling, I think it’s being used in a very effective way. Whether Isshuukan Friends will consist mostly of delicious fluff or else have something a bit deeper to say about the nature of loneliness and day-to-day social isolation (I won’t hold the former against it but am definitely hoping for the latter), it’s already set to be a heart-warmingly beautiful title.

Mushishi Zoku Shou
Score: 10/10

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With the same staff behind the sequel of an anime that I’d happily put on my top 10 list, and the same stunningly gorgeous atmosphere that older fans of Mushishi all know and love, it’s absolutely no surprise that this is one of the most popular shows of the season. For viewers who might still need a little convincing or aren’t too sure what to expect before going in, I recommend a read of this excellent article. Unless there are any major surprises further on down the road with other shows, this is easily going to be the best series of spring – and most likely among the best of the entire year.

Question of the post: What shows have left the biggest impressions on you this anime season, either for better or for worse? Is there anything you feel that I’m definitely missing out on?

Note: Happy 1-year anniversary for Otaku Lounge! I haven’t got anything especially deep or profound to say on this occasion, but I’d like to give a heartfelt thank-you to everyone for reading. I hope I can continue to write posts that will keep you interested/informed/entertained in the future.

44 thoughts on “Anime Taste Testing: Spring 2014

  1. I’m watching just about nothing from the Spring season at the moment so no comment there, but congrats on Otaku Lounge’s first anniversary! Your posts are always interesting and enjoyable.


      1. I’m trying to work on the backlog a bit! I’m watching Bebop, Nana, Natsume and Yamato 2199, and hopefully I’ll be able to knock off a couple more older series. But I’ve heard lots of good things about this season, so I’ll probably try and get into it in a month or so.


        1. I think that’s great. I try to keep up with new season titles, because for me, that’s one of my main connections to the anime fandom at large – I like feeling that I’m a part of a community. But I almost always have something older that I watch on the side, completely at my own pace, to help balance things out. I recently finished Aoi Bungaku, and now I’m trying out the Patlabor TV series.


          1. I try to keep up with new season titles, because for me, that’s one of my main connections to the anime fandom at large – I like feeling that I’m a part of a community.

            Yeah, that’s what I miss the most at the moment – not being able to chat about current stuff with other anime lovers (and I’m probably missing out on a heap good analytical blog posts by people too).


            1. and I’m probably missing out on a heap good analytical blog posts by people too

              Well, it’s not like they’re getting deleted. They’d still be there when you watch the shows later on 🙂


              1. Ohshit you quoted my horrible grammar. You’re totally right of course haha, I’m a bit lazy and don’t seek out older posts that often though.


  2. Happy first year anniversary! Yeah, April is my first year anniversary since reviving the blog, and I’ve let it pass as well. It’s so hard to get something going. Well, we get the thing that truly matters going, the blog and blog posts, so congrats on making it thus far! (Insert everyone clapping at the end of Neon Genesis Evangelion here).

    About Chaika, I’m surprised you didn’t mention the very, very good fighting sequence in the second episode. It was superbly done. And yes, the characters are not just flat, but designed to be flat, currently, but the post-war world and characters interest me, and remind me of Pumpkin Scissors, which I recommend, even though the anime ends just as the going gets good…

    It’s interesting how the 2nd episode of Captain Earth gave me the exact opposite impression about Daichi, how he seems completely out of touch with reality, how he completely ignored all the adults in the room with him. It was… bizarre.

    Surprise of the season for me was Akuma no Riddle. I liked it much more than you did, and I actually didn’t plan to pick it up at all. Of course I can’t take a series where they throw pocky as weapons seriously, but to me that’s exactly proof of what makes it hammy enough for me. Then again, I’m a big lover of “battle royale death game” setups, which are almost always contrived.

    I figured I’d probably like Isshuukan Friends, but not as much as I did, wow. Really hoping Mekakucity Actors pulls it through in the 2nd episode, but I’m not holding much faith.

    Shows you’re missing out on? Ping Pong. You’re definitely missing out on Ping Pong. Plot is standard, characters are standard but well executed, but the direction and flow are both superlative.


    1. Cheers. 🙂

      Honestly, even that fight sequence wasn’t enough to really lift Chaika off the ground for me. The fact that there was a single decent scene out of a whole two episodes doesn’t speak particularly well of a series.

      I don’t know yet if Daichi is out of touch with reality or just really, really chill. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see – although frankly, I’d probably be ignoring most of the adults in the room too if they were anything like the ones we’ve seen so far in Captain Earth.

      I dig the whole battle royale idea, but for me to like a title of that type, it has to be done exactly right – and one of the only titles that does for me is the actual live-action film, Battle Royale. Nearly everything else I’ve seen has been vastly inferior or just plain stupid, and Akuma no Riddle just doesn’t take it to either hammy/intense extreme far enough for me.

      Yeah, you’re not the only one who’s given Ping Pong glowing reviews. The only reason I haven’t given it a go is because… well, it’s a show about ping pong. I don’t usually love sports anime at the best of times, so the idea of a whole anime about table tennis just doesn’t thrill me.


      1. I’m not a big fan of sports shows either. Just remember it’s not about the plot, or the exciting narrative stuff, and about the execution.

        Well, I hate when people try to force things on me, but you did ask what you’re missing out on, and that’s the clear answer 🙂 I thought first episode made a very strong case for itself. Episode 2 was even better.

        Great stuff.

        About Battle Royale, I think Akuma no Riddle is exactly where my soft-spot tolerance is, where it’s just hammy enough. Danganronpa was too ridiculous for me.


        1. And I appreciate your honest answer. I may well give it a try at some point.

          I never did get around to watching Danganronpa. Maybe I’ll give that a shot someday as well, although it may be some time. The to-watch list just keeps getting longer the more I try to chip away at it.


  3. Happy one-year anniversary for your blog! May it continue for many long and fruitful years to come 😀

    Out of your list, the only shows I’m watching are Mahouka and Mushishi. There were just way too many shows to sift through this season, so I ended up just not even bothering with many of them. But I agree with you: Mushishi is definitely the best anime of the season and is pretty much dead ringer for best anime of the year at this rate. The latest episode made me tear up a little. Too good!

    As a side note, I really enjoy the OP to Mahouka. Well, particularly the last five seconds of it, which gave me extreme Code Geass vibes. Up until that point, I had thought of the anime as decent but nothing memorable, but as soon as I saw that Suzaku lookalike character my attention shot up. I’m not dropping the show until I see what he’s like, damn it!

    (If it wasn’t obvious already, Code Geass is my favourite anime lol)


    1. Thank you! I absolutely intend to be blogging for a long time to come.

      There did indeed seem to be an awful lot of potentially interesting shows this season, at least going by synopsis. I’m sort of glad a lot of them didn’t work out for me, because my time would probably be really tight otherwise. I love anime, but I also want to be able to keep up with things without feeling like I have to rush.

      No shame in liking Code Geass. While it’s not one of my favourite anime, I did really enjoy the ride – and I think that’s a pretty good endorsement coming from someone who doesn’t like that many mecha titles.


  4. Happy…uh…anniversary? BlogBirthday? Whatever, it’s HAPIIIIII!

    My crack for the season may be Akuma no Riddle, but the show that came out of nowhere swinging like a champ was Knights of Sidonia. I say this as a sci-fi fan. It’s a very well realized universe even if the characters are starting out kind of flat. But it’s such a confident space opera type that I’m finding it great, and I’m usually not one for mech series.

    I was also surprised by how much I’ve been drawn to Black Bullet. Another I was caught off guard by was Brynhildr….then I found out it was the same creator as Elfen Lied and that solved all my curiosity xD Putting it that way, it’s way, way too nice and sweet…now I’m suspicious…hmm….Still it’s been very good at dragging the “strange boy and his magical female companion” series into territory I can tolerate, even love at moments.


    1. I wish I was more of a sci-fi fan, because I’d probably be over the moon with this spring season if that was the case. I’m still thinking of checking out Knights of Sidonia at some point, but purely because I’m not a huge sci-fi girl, I’m not holding my breath. I just tend to gravitate towards straight fantasy stuff a lot more, I guess.


  5. Someone left a lengthy comment on my blog on how the Mahouka LN improves after some world-building and creates a complex dystopian world, and how the brother/sister relationship is not entirely what it seems. Enough to convince me to give it a chance.

    I’m not sure about Sidonia, but it has a unique look. And it already has a complex backstory at work that they’re doing a good job of feeding us little by little.

    As for Mekaku City Actors, I’ll watch just about anything Shaft, so safe to say I’ll keep that.


    1. I haven’t read any of the Mahouka LN and probably never will, but I do love me some decent world-building.

      I wish I enjoyed sci-fi more, because if I did then I have a feeling I’d be overjoyed for the spring season. I haven’t tried out Sidonia at all yet though – maybe I will sometime.


  6. One Week Friends is definitely one of the better shows this season. The visuals are vibrant and the story, despite being cliché, was very convincing and honest. On the flipside to your post, I enjoyed Hitsugi no Chaika. I found the character voice acting of Chaika pretty spot on.

    I’m surprised you put Black Bullet that high. That series really used some stereotypes to market its story. I don’t know the source material so I can’t tell if it’s true to the source or not.


    1. I don’t know the source material of Black Bullet or not, so I can’t say I particularly care how true the anime is to the light novels. I would have ranked the anime a bit lower, but the second episode impressed me a lot more than the first one did.


  7. “However, I can’t help but be put off by the transparently obvious (and by now incredibly clichéd) perfect older brother/moe younger sister thing, which I think everyone can safely assume is going to be a mainstay of the series. ”

    Well, Mahouka deconstructs the heck out of that dynamic, by explaining just how screwed up you, your sibling and your family has to be for that dynamic to be created. Miyuki and Tatsuya are products of a Posthuman drive for perfection, taking a grossly wrong turn down the wrong alleyway – I’d suggest that while the show doesn’t outright condemn the dynamic, the LNs do go someways to show how disturbing such a dynamic really is, and then one whole volume showing how such a dynamic came to be. And worst of all, it makes perfect sense in the world Mahouka is set in. Don’t let it’s High School trappings fool you, Mahouka is an unapologetic Post-human dystopia, even though it takes several volumes for that to be constructed.

    That’s not the only mainstay of Mahouka – it gradually branches out into more themes as the intensive world-building progresses.

    Parallels to Mahouka and the likes of Ore-imo only make sense if Ore-Imo is a post-human dystopia. At which point it’s a whole different story altogether.


    1. I haven’t read the Mahouka light novels, and I probably never will. So while I don’t doubt anything you say, given that it sounds as though you know the story and its characters a whole lot better than I do, I can’t say I really care what the light novels do or don’t do, as I’m purely interested in the anime. Whether or not it deconstructs some of the dynamics it’s presented thus far aren’t my concern until I actually see it happen for myself. (I also can’t comment at all on Ore-imo at all, as I’ve never seen it.)


  8. Happy one year anniversary! So far I haven’t been mind-blown by any of the new anime, but I really like the titles this season, and feel a lot of them have potential. Honestly, I wish I could watch everything, but due to lack of time, I’ve narrowed it down to 5-6 shows, haha.


    1. Thank you!

      Yeah, as you can see, I’ve likewise narrowed things down to just a handful of shows. I usually do, otherwise my time would be uncomfortably tight. I love keeping up with new anime seasons, but I don’t like feeling as though I have to rush.


  9. Congratulations on Otaku Lounge’s first anniversary! I’m only watching Black Bullet and Fairy Tail (2014) this season. Black Bullet is really good! 🙂 The impression of clingy lolis made me put off watching it at first, but the anime turned out great despite that, especially in episode 2. I read a bit of the manga for Isshuukan Friends and it’s nice, but due to a lack of time I don’t think I can watch it. 😦


    1. Thank you! 🙂

      I thought the first episode of Black Bullet was about average, but the second episode really impressed me a lot more. Hopefully it stays that way.


  10. Happy anniversary! I haven’t started watching anything for spring, I’m afraid (still catching up on Kill la Kill, and finally watching Psycho Pass and Higurashi) – for what’s meant to be one of the stronger seasons of the year it’s looking a little watery (summer looks like the stronger contender, because this is apparently opposite year).
    I’ll definitely be picking up Captain Earth once it has a few episodes stocked up (having a crew of No. 6 and Space Dandy types refuses to let me ignore it), and know myself too well to think I’ll avoid Akuma no Riddle (vaguely gothic-paranormal, stylish BL/GL shows are my eternal guilty pleasure, even if seven times in ten they’re not very good). One Week Friends looked promising too, but I’ll let it finish its run before I look in.


    1. Thank you!

      It’s good to do things in your own time. I loved Kill la Kill as well as Psycho-Pass myself, though my thoughts are a little more mixed when it comes to Higurashi. To be honest though, I have yet to find a straight horror anime that completely works for me.


      1. It is a rather frustrating search. I’m not sure I’ve found a horror anime that 100% works, period, which is strange – the freedom of animation seems absolutely perfect for a wide variety of nightmarish imagery (look how well Paranoia Agent and AKIRA carried it off). i find myself mixed on Higurashi thusfar as well – the quiet tension is good the first time but falls apart the second you try to see it again, and I wonder if it might not be a bit too over the top to really be scary.


  11. Mushishi is the best of the season by far. Black Bullet looks promising though, with the Shingeki no Kyoujin-like setting, and surprising amount of violence that doesn’t feel out of place. Isshukan Friends, Blade and Soul, Mahouka, and a few others are also on my watch list.


    1. Agreed – Mushishi is predictably excellent. I have a feeling that Isshukan Friends will be permanently in my number two position, and I’m hoping that Black Bullet (which I think had a fairly average first episode but then impressed me a lot more with its second one) continues to have a strong presence. If so, it might just end up in third place for the season, which I would never have guessed.


  12. On this season’s light novel adaptation material:

    I actually went in with high hopes for Black Bullet and had them crushed by the weak direction and scripting. Unlike you, I found its exposition extremely awkward, with characters explaining to each other what should already be common knowledge for them, and even an internal monologue while the protagonist bikes the the city limits with no particular reason but to show the audience the Cursed Children living there. Additionally, there were many moments that made characters look unintentionally idiotic or unaware of their surroundings. And for an “action-oriented show”, there wasn’t really much action in the 2nd episode (about 1 minute’s worth). I’ll continue watching, but it turns out that for me, the lolis and the wacky masked villain turned out to be the saving graces of this show.

    I really couldn’t care less about Magic High School’s world, magic system, and plot as long as it stays focused on, well, the Magic High School, which is a complete farce. Only the Saori Hayami-voiced imouto is keeping me watching, and even that is fairly weak compared to the other choices this season.

    I’ve only skimmed through Hitsugi no Chaika. The action scenes look strong but otherwise the setting and characters don’t capture my interest.

    Strangely, the two remaining LN adaptations are the best of them this season in my opinion, yet neither has been mentioned even once yet by anybody on this page. Maybe because their concepts don’t have any “serious” material to “balance out” the “silly light novel tropes”. But perhaps those actually turn out to be strengths. Instead of having those contradictory elements clash awkwardly, these two shows can full-heartedly embrace their fun side. Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin has students challenging Indiana Jones-like puzzles and mazes, while No Game No Life has a pair of shut-in siblings whisked away to a fantasy world ruled by games.


    1. I don’t think the scripting and direction of Black Bullet are the best I’ve ever seen – not by a long shot – but I do think they’re both competent. I found the first episode to be fairly average, but the second one really impressed me a lot more. In contrast, it’ll probably be the lolis and the masked villain that will end up being the weaker parts of the show for me.

      Yeah, I haven’t watched anything of either Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin or No Game No Life. The artwork and synopsis just didn’t motivate me enough to do so, I guess.


  13. I am slightly annoyed that there is really very little that interests me this season when I finally actually have time to watch stuff this season!. Maybe I should dive into the first Mushishi series and then make that my focus for the season!


    1. Mushishi could be good for you, especially if you’re still really busy, because it’s all episodic. For pure sweetness this season though, I just can’t get past the adorableness that is Isshuukan Friends.


      1. I’ve been wanting to watch it since we saw it at the anime con, I just haven’t gotten around to getting it and watching it. I’ve handed my Lit Review in now and so for the next 2 months while I have work to do, I am less busy


  14. In all this season has more titles I feel invested in than last season. Strongest impressions so far were from Knights of Sidonia, Ping Pong and Isshuukan Friends. I’m busy watching the first season of Mushishi now and it’s a masterpiece, so I’m sure Zoku Shou will be similar. Nothing particularly negative so far this season, the only slight disappointment was No Game, No Life which seemed interesting enough to start out with but gradually deteriorated.

    What you’re watching are among the shows that I’m enjoying too, I’d suggest Knights of Sidonia and Ping Pong as well though I know the animation style in both has been a turn off for some viewers. Happy Anniversary! I thoroughly enjoy reading the articles on your blog and think you’re a great writer!


    1. I think there are more shows this season that I’m interested in, but that other than Mushishi and Isshuukan Friends, I’m not quite as emotionally invested now as I was during winter. For now, I feel as though I’m mostly being given quantity over quality – although of course, it’s still quite early on, so there’s time to become more emotionally drawn in.

      Thank you for the suggestions, and the lovely message! I’m really glad that you’re enjoying my posts, and hopefully I’ll be writing them for a long time to come.


  15. I’d say check out Selector Infected WIXOSS and Gokukoku no Brynhildr for sure. WIXOSS really surprised me actually, I’m enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. Brynhildr is also exciting to watch and I’m getting into that one a lot too. My top favorite this season is Love Live! Season 2 (I’m so in love with that anime). Oh also Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin is pretty decent too, really nice art in that one too. Lastly Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka? is pretty cute and very similar to Kiniro Mosaic, and it’s pretty chill to watch. But for sure you should check out Selector Infected WIXOSS and Gokukoku no Brynhildr, both are worth a watch.


    1. Cheers for the suggestions. 🙂 I probably won’t bother with Love Live 2 since I never watched the first season, and idol anime just isn’t my thing, but I’ll take a closer look at the other titles.


  16. Happy 1-year anniversary! Even if I don’t always comment, I always enjoy reading your posts… Here’s to another year of your wonderful pieces! 🙂

    As for the spring anime season:

    I am actually on the other side of the fence on Hitsugi no Chaika! I’m enjoying the action and comedy that blends well with the darker aspects of the show, and the plot seems to be gaining some depth with episode 3. While it’s a bit silly at times and that bread scene was a terrible idea, I’m still looking forward to see what happens next. My main reservation is that it’s only slated for 12 episodes, so I hope it will have time to fully develop the story.

    Your assessment of Mekakucity Actors is spot on. I only hope we don’t end up getting shafted by Shaft.

    I like the manga, but like you, the anime adaptation of Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii isn’t doing it for me. It’s not outright terrible, but I think your description of its cartoonish vibe really pinpoints one of my main reservations about the show, especially when compared to the source material. That, and I cringe so hard at the “tender rain” song.

    I chuckled a bit about the strong sibling incest vibes in Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei… what is with this preoccupation with extreme sibling love? I’m watching this one, but only half-heartedly. I was also similarly left shrugging at the “perfect” siblings. Characters seem generally bland, and I am really hoping that the series doesn’t concentrate too much on school/student council activities, and instead explores more of the world it is set in.

    Black Bullet is an anime that by all accounts I should like more than I actually do… It has some nice animation, there’s some action, and the story has some interesting themes, but I can’t help but feel put off by how heavy handed it is.

    I loved the first episode of Captain Earth… It looked great, set up the characters nicely, and set the stage for some epic space mecha battles with an extended transformation sequence. Unfortunately, the sheer amount of exposition and techno babble is making my eyes glaze over, and I find all the characters pretty flat. Though, I do agree with your assessment of Daichi… He’s been pretty proactive so far, which is a nice change from the “woe is me”-type protagonists.

    Cute (but not, as you said, sickly sweet) with a hint of sadness, I am also really enjoying Isshuukan Friends! The subject matter isn’t too heavy so far, and I’m loving the interaction between the main characters. I am hoping for a little more conflict to materialize to give the show a little more weight, but not so much that it drags it into the mires of straight up melodrama.

    Mushishi Zoku Shou is the real winner this season, bringing back all the feelings I had of the first series… it’s calming, contemplative, and with a little bit of creepiness that makes it so wonderful to watch. I’m really looking forward to seeing where Ginko’s travels take him next….

    If you’re in the mood for something rather silly (and more overpowered siblings), No Game No Life might be something light to pick up. Another one might be Nanana’s Buried Treasure, which has also had a nice start so far, and is a fun blend of light mystery and comedy. For something cute, I am liking Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka? more than I want to admit…. :p

    Great post!


    1. Thank you so much! Likewise, I very much enjoy your posts as well, although I don’t always drop a comment. If I feel like I don’t have much to add or anything intelligent to say, I tend to just push the like button and move on – although that doesn’t mean I appreciate the post any less. 🙂

      Yeah, Hitsugi no Chaika seems like quite a divisive series. I know a few people have said they’re enjoying it a whole lot, while others have said they hated what they saw of it – there doesn’t seem to be much of a middle-ground reaction. Personally I just couldn’t stand the clichés and pandering of it all, and lolis have never been my thing, but I’m not about to criticise someone for their tastes. You like what you like, and that’s cool.

      It seems we have similar thought on Mekakucity Actors though. I’ve now dropped the series, as I found it painful just getting through that second episode. I won’t subject myself to more. Ditto with Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii, which unfortunately was ruined for me with that cartoonish feel. It’s a shame, because the plot itself is something I’d normally be all over, and I felt that the characters weren’t bad either. But yeah, I just tend to prefer my fantasy settings with a darker tone, or at the very least a bit more realism.

      I’m feeling pretty ‘meh’ about Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei. The ‘extreme sibling love’ doesn’t shock me because I feel like I’ve seen the same thing way too many times before, and nor does it titillate me. And like you, I’m hoping the series focuses more on the world-building than the blandly predictable school setting. I suppose the main reasons I’m still sticking around can be put down to a) the admittedly great visuals and b) the alternative universe setting, which I’ve always had a thing for.

      Black Bullet could easily start annoying the hell out of me further down the line, but the most recent episodes give me some faith that it’ll keep me interested. That first episode really did the series no justice.

      I agree, exposition and techno babble is hardly stirring stuff, and Captain Earth suffers from too much of both at the moment – but particularly the latter I think. I also have a couple of other annoyances, but I’ll leave those for now and address them in my follow-up spring anime impressions post in a couple of weeks, assuming they’re still an issue. Luckily however, there are still enough positive factors that are motivating me to continue watching this one.

      I’m fine with a bit more conflict in Isshuukan Friends I suppose, but I do fear that too much will tip the scales into melodrama territory, which is exactly what I feel happened with recent slice-of-life shows that I otherwise would have liked far more than I ended up doing. Some angst is fine, and a little conflict is necessary to keep the story moving, but I’d rather the plot end up going nowhere at all with this series than have it become stupidly dramatic. I credit Isshuukan Friends with more intelligence than that, but I’ve been wrong before.

      Thanks for the suggestions! I may well end up checking them out at some point.


  17. Yeah, I agree with a lot of the views you have here. As well as the comment about Mahouka getting some odd and undeserved derision. I’ve really liked what I’ve seen so far, and in terms of potential I have it highest on my list for the season (I haven’t read the novels either). And a few of the shows that I don’t see here really weren’t all that impressive, mainly Ping Pong and No game No life. Ping Pong does have a really good soundtrack though, but maybe I’ll give it another go when it’s finished airing.
    Mushishi is very good, I did like the first season better though, but it all depends on the source material so it’s hard to say it’s the weaker season. I simply don’t like episodic shows as much so It’s not something I look forward to watching every week as opposed to some other shows.


    1. That’s interesting – I think you must be the first person I’ve seen to say that Ping Pong doesn’t impress you overmuch, as everyone on my blogroll seems to be raving about it. No Game No Life, on the other hand, is apparently much more divisive.

      I’m not sure yet what season of Mushishi I’d say is strongest – that’s really not something I feel I can comment on until the second season has finished airing. Certainly the first season has the most nostalgic value though, and for that reason alone, I’d say most people would probably tend to agree with you that it’s the better of the two.



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