Anime watched: I finally watched Maria the Virgin Witch, and I liked it. I also have been checking out some of the new simulcasts. I have forgotten how fun of a time it is when a new season arrives: checking out shows and waiting for license announcements.
1. Your Lie in April, episodes 20-22 (Very good) - This series continued to captivate me. The ending was how I expected it, but my emotions continued to surprise me. I absolutely love it when animes that start slow and/or mediocre turn the corner and end in a very high note. I do not have much else to say about Your Lie in April. It gave me what I needed.
2. Parasyte, episodes 21-24 (Very good) - Ultimately Parasyte had a solid resolution. Things did not go exactly as I expected, but it managed to solve the major issues and give the main character a positive resolution. I had some doubts, but taking into account its qualities and flaws, I still consider Parasyte the best anime series of 2014.
3. CROSS ANGE, episodes 22-25 (Decent) - In the end the story and characters in CROSS ANGE more or less made sense. The ending was predictable, but it was needed to give the series more stability. This anime was fun and had nice eye candy, but it also was uncomfortable to watch at times. It had potential to do more with the premise, but the end result is okay.
4. Durarara!!x2, episodes 9-12 (Good) - I have not been happy with what this season has been doing lately, but its universe and eccentric characters kept me coming back for more in a weekly basis. Ultimately this first third serves as a set up for more craziness and potentially deep changes for a certain character. I am cool with these 12 episodes, and the break is most welcome.
5. SHIROBAKO, episodes 21-24 (Very good) - Shirobako delivered a strong conclusion and continued to exploit its best qualities. I am pleased that I came to appreciate this anime with every episode. I am also happy that a show like this was created and that the creators got it right. And I would like to see more Shirobako anime in the future.
6. Yuri Kuma Arashi, episodes 9-12 (Very good) - Despite adding unnecessary padding to the conclusion, which became apparent in episodes 8 and 9, the last episode and execution cemented the quality of this anime. Compared to 80% of all the anime Yuri Kuma Arashi is a stand out. But it pales in quality compared to the amazing Utena and Penguindrum.
7. Saekano, episodes 8-11 (Decent) - This anime kept up with its quality, and surprisingly the characters introduced in episode 7 had little to do with it. It took a while, but Saekano finally cemented its premise, and I bought it. It is too bad that we might not see other anime season that could potentially realize the creators' vision.
8. Yona of the Dawn, episodes 17-24 (Good) - This anime continued to be solid and had a noteworthy moment that made me consider putting it back in the top 7. Unfortunate for the big fans of this series, this season did not conclude the story, but I imagine a second anime season will be made.
9. Log Horizon 2, episodes 18-25 (Good) - At the end of the day this was another strong season of Log Horizon. The narrative significantly advance despite going about it in a sort of roundabout way. The ending sets the table for the next adventure, but there might not be more anime made.
10. Ace of Diamond, episodes 68-75 (Good) - After several enjoyable episodes, following the loss at the regional tournament, things began to get tedious for me. I like this anime and can enjoy it, but I am thankful that this long season is ending. I will take a break before watching season 2.
Anime watched: Some more Fairy Tail and My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU, mostly in preparation for season 2.
Anime industry: I suppose Sentai is again making news with their announcement of a collector's edition for No Game, No Life. The title is not particularly noteworthy to me, but the idea that Sentai might continue releasing at least one CE per month for titles they deem worthy. I hope I am right about this. I would like a CE for Parasyte and one (or two) for Chaika would be welcomed as well.
Anime watched: Besides my simulcasts, I did not watch any other series this week. But I will take this opportunity to talk about what anime from Spring I plan to watch. First, there are 5 sequels that I plan to watch: The second part of Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works, and the second seasons of My Teenage Romantic Comedy SNAFU, Knights of Sidonia, Kinmoza! and Baby Steps. The new shows I am most excited about are Seraph of the End and Sound! Euphonium. The final 3 slots could be filled by Heroic Legend of Arslan, Blood Blockade Battlefront and Kyoukai no Rinne. Plastic Memories and Ninja Slayer are also possibilities.
Anime watched: Death Note. I still find this anime appealing, but it does not blow me away.
Anime industry: I think NIS America's announcement of their release of Nagi no Asukara (A Lull in the Sea) is news worthy. The inclusion of an English dub is obviously the big novelty; I am looking forward to it. But something else that caught my attention is the price: 134.99 at the Right Stuf ($179.99 MSRP).
Companies like Funimation and Sentai charge around $80 for 24-26 episodes dubbed and on BD. Looking at the Nagi no Asukara set, if you combine $80 for the BD's (and plastic cases) with the episodes, $20 for the soundtrack and $15 for the book, you end up with $115. It makes me happy to think that the remaining $19.99 are extra charges to cover the expense of the dub. Good, because typically North American anime publishers charge too little for dubs, which are usually the most expensive element of a release.
Anime watched: I watched a lot of crappy anime this week: Unbreakable Machine Doll, Saint Seiya: The Hades Chapter and Karneval. A few weeks back I took a look at what simulcasts I might watch for Spring. I had a hard time trying to come up with even 5 attractive titles. Thankfully, after more titles have been revealed, I should have no trouble finding 10 appealing simulcast shows. I hope that I can find a couple of new gems among them.
Anime industry: Sentai made again big news with their acquisition of Parasyte. This is another grate move by Sentai because Parasyte is arguably the best anime series from 2014. I am rooting for Sentai to get as many AAA titles as possible they need them to compete with Funimation. It would be great if Sentai could do a deluxe release for Parasyte, but the most important things are to release it on BD and create a great dub for it.
1. Durarara!!x2, episodes 5-8 (Good) - These four episodes have been more preoccupied with doing more set up rather than advancing the story in a meaningful way. This might sound like harsh criticism, but I am very much still enjoying this weird anime. I expect the next four episodes to pick up the pace and offer some kind of resolution.
2. Your Lie in April, episodes 16-19 (Very good) - I became more impressed with this series in these last four episodes. These episodes might have been the strongest stretch of this show. I was worried that the introduction of a certain character might derail the positive moment, but I was wrong about that. I look forward to the series' finale.
3. Parasyte, episodes 17-20 (Very good) - This series continues to be steadily strong but is not spectacular anymore. These four episodes saw the departure of an important character, and the start of the final arc. At this point I am questioning if Parasyte is really the best anime series of 2014. It has four episodes to dispel or confirm my doubts.
4. Yuri Kuma Arashi, episodes 5-8 (Very good) - The show has continued to get better, adding more intrigue and revelations with each episode. I have an idea of what is the point of the story and where it might be going, but I would not mind being surprised by Ikuhara. I hope the last four episodes offer a worthy finale of this and past Ikuhara works.
5. CROSS ANGE, episodes 18-21 (So-so) - I suppose this anime has somewhat bounced back in these last four episodes. I was a bit surprised that I keep rolling my eyes at the titillating fanservice that surfaces from time to time. The good news is that all the elements needed for an exciting and good conclusion are in place.
6. SHIROBAKO, episodes 17-20 (Very good) - There is no much that I need to say about this show. The producers have a clear grasp on this series' premise of focusing on the small dramas of characters working in the production of anime. I am bumping its grade up because the show's high quality is undeniable. I expect a strong conclusion.
7. Saekano, episodes 4-7 (Decent) - I was ready to downgrade this show, but the introduction of two new characters in the latest episode has convinced me that they could spice things up and potentially improve this struggling anime. Beyond that, I do not have that many expectations. Not getting bored and/or frustrated is a positive.
Anime watched: I watched my Sentai's BD copy of Gingitsune. I also decided to watch the first season of Chuunibyou with the English dub. And I am impressed by the great job that Sentai did. The flow of the script felt very natural, and the voice talent did a great job in general.
Anime bought: Koimonogatari and volume 4 (standard BD edition) of Kill la Kill.
Anime industry: Sentai is releasing Knights of Sidonia on DVD and BD. I think it is a great move by Sentai because a strong title can compensate for their lack of licenses of Winter titles. I also think it is brilliant to release standard BD and DVD sets in addition to a collector's edition BD/DVD combo.
Anime watched: I finally watched my Funimation's BD copy of Cowboy Bebop. And I have to say that this show looks great on HD, and the discs seem well made. I also watched Tsukimonogatari. It was creepy (in a sexually perverted way) and somewhat confusing, but it got the job done.
Anime bought: My Sentai's BD copy of Gingitsune arrived yesterday. I forgot to mention last week that I pre-ordered the Japanese BD box of Evangelion; I hope it has the English dub and/or at list English subtitles.
I am changing the way I write my weekly reports. I plan to report on what I watched and bought for that week. Also, I want to offer some commentary when something noteworthy with the anime industry occurs. Here is my report for this week. I plan to post them on Saturdays.
Anime watched: I was very busy this week watching Viz's release of the first season of Sailor Moon on BD. I watched all the 46 episodes, and I enjoyed them more than I anticipated. I am aware that those discs have video issues, but they do not bother me. After taking a brief breather, I continued watching more dubbed episodes of Fairy Tail in Funimation's PS3 app.
Anime bought: Disney's latest BD/DVD releases of Whisper of the Hearth and Nausica of the Valley of the Wind.
Anime industry: In addition to licensing a lot of simulcasts for the Winter 2015 season, Funimation is doing broadcast dubs for most of these. I am weary that Funimation might monopolize the R1 anime industry, but I wish them good luck. And when it comes to producing good quality English dubs, Funimation is the best to me.