As expected, this Winter season does not have many interesting and/or well made anime series. In fact 3 of my top 5 series are continuations from last Fall. Like last season's wrap up, I am ranking the series according to my personal enjoyment and using the ratings from Anime News Network. Also, I ended up dropping World Conquest Zvezda Plot after 3 episodes because I did not find it appealing enough.
1. Nagi no Asukara, episodes 14-19 (Very good) - This anime to me is head and shoulders the best show airing this season. The high quality of the visuals and poignant story-telling has continued from the first half. There was an interesting twist that, if executed well, could culminate the story in a very high note. I continue to look forward to watching Nagi no Asukara every week. Every episode is strong, but the truly spectacular are, sadly, not very often. I hope the conclusion to this series is worthy of its visuals and character development.
2. Noragami, episodes 1-6 (Good) - This anime has an interesting premise and likable characters to potentially do something special. In general Noragami has a relaxing/comedic vibe that is entertaining and amusing, but it also has dark undertones. I hope that the second half of the series focuses more on the dark undertones because it should make the story more interesting and potentially go from a good to a very good anime. Also, the main 3 characters seem shallow, but focusing on the dark stuff could give more depth.
3. Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren, episodes 1-6 (Decent) - When this second season was announced I was very pessimistic that it could add something worthwhile to the very well done first season. The first episode of this new season calmed my fears because there seemed to be potential to see something special. However, the next 4 episodes, as amusing as they were, did very little to advance the story and develop the characters more. I am not impressed with Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren so far, but I hope it improves.
4. Strike the Blood, episodes 13-18 (So-so) - One of my guilty pleasures of 2013 continues to please me in 2014. There is not much new I can say about this cliche, supernatural story about mythic beings and pretty and submissive girls bickering because of a "perfect guy." I just want to continue enjoying Strike the Blood, and a satisfactory conclusion will be welcomed.
5. Kill la Kill, episodes 13-18 (Very good) - Wow, this anime has really grown on me. At the start of this series the premise seemed too chaotic to make sense. But the creators have focused more on a more concrete story in its second half; the crazy visuals have, thankfully, remained. Things are definitely becoming more interesting in Kill la Kill, and I am very excited to see how it wraps up.
6. Golden Time, episodes 13-18 (Decent) - Much like Strike the Blood, not much has changed in the second part of Golden Time. I am still interested in what the characters do, but the story can get stale at times. I welcome the occasional emotive episode, but I doubt the overall product will end up being anything special.
7. Wake Up, Girls!, episodes 1-6 (Decent) - I have been curious for a while about how the life of "idols" is. Other recent anime series have deal with idols, but, as far as I know, they tend to glamorize this subject.
I was attracted to Wake Up, Girls! because it seems to take a more realistic approach to idols, showing the good and bad things in the life of female teenage entertainers. The story is not spectacular, but I enjoy watching the experiences of 7 charming teens.
8. Silver Spoon Second Season, episodes 1-6 (So-so) - This second season of Silver Spoon is, without a doubt, my biggest disappointment from this anime season. The first season introduced a neat premise and several characters with intriguing lives. I expected season 2 to focus more on character development, but the creators seem more interested in the audience learning more about agricultural studies and ranching. I have little faith that this season will turn in the direction that I want.
9. Samurai Flamenco, episodes 12-17 (So-so) - What can I say about Samurai Flamenco. By the end of the first half this anime had become the Power Rangers. Things continued to be chaotic and full of twists in its second half. One of the very few things that I continue to like is the development of the main characters. It is amusing to see this anime take wild turns, but the subtlety and magic of the very first episodes is pretty much gone.
10. Ace of Diamond, episodes 13-19 (Decent) - This sports anime has become boring and predicable. In the second half of this series story and character development have slowed down too much. I am assuming the source material has a more developed story with deeper characters, but we will most likely not see that in the remaining 5 episodes. Ace of Diamond has not been a bad watch, but this anime will not leave a lasting impression on me.
11. Magi: The Kingdom of Magic, episodes 13-19 (Decent) - Watching this anime continues to be a chore to me. For every good episode we have, we get 2 or 3 mediocre ones. I just want Magi: The Kingdom of Magic to end. It is a shame that the creators have not been able to tap more of the potential that this franchise seems to have. I doubt I will want to see another season if it is made.
I am taking it easy with the anime watching this week. I am going to only watch my simulcasts, but I am not re-watching any of the series I own or watching other animes for the first time online. I actually decided to order the Aniplex USA DVD edition of Gurren Lagann. I already have a DVD copy from Bandai Entertainment, but I do not trust the quality and durability of those discs. Hoping to be revitalized to watch lots of anime by next week, happy anime viewing.
I finished re-watching Hanasaku Iroha yesterday, and I enjoyed it way more than I anticipated. The first time I watched this anime I thought it was good, but I noticed some faults that did not compel me to buy a physical copy. The fact that I do not like NIS America limited edition, bulky boxes further distanced me from acquiring it. My biggest gripe with Hanasaku Iroha initially was that the story tended to lose focus with several episodes that seemed unnecessary.
But during my re-watch I did not see that many of those unnecessary episodes. In fact only episodes 6 and 7 fit this description. Like the first time, I think the ending of the series is very fulfilling and has more than enough closure. I am very glad that I decided to buy physical copies of it. I am also bumping Hanasaku Iroha in my ranking from 74 to 67. Finally, Aniplex USA is bringing over Japanese copies of Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie Part 3: Rebellion, but I am actually buying my copy from amazon.co.jp.
I think it will be a good idea to write a longer post about the Madoka Magica third movie, and how it could impact the future and direction of the franchise. I am not promising anything, but I will keep it in mind. I think doing that in April, after I watch my BD copy of the movie, will be a good idea. That is all for now; happy anime viewing.
This week I decided to finally watch my Sentai BD copy of Humanity Has Declined. I do not love this anime, but it has several interesting concepts and well done episodes. I am not sure how much replay value Humanity Has Declined has for me, but I still think that acquiring this anime is a positive thing for me because I want to support Sentai's subbed-only BD releases. Speaking of sub-only BD releases, Sentai has finally announced a release date (May 27) for their release of Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai!; I am very excited about this.
I expect to have a busy time next week. My two NIS America volumes of Hanasaku Iroha arrived today.
I plan to watch the whole series next week. I will keep watching more Fairy Tail until Friday. That is all for now. Happy anime viewing.
It has been kind of a slow week. I watched the dubbed version of Black Butler II on Netflix. I wanted to see if watching it a second time changed my perception. I watched it, and my reaction was less adverse, but I still think it is not worth owning. I also started watching the second season of Fairy Tail dubbed at Funimation.com. Lastly, I ordered both of the NISA's sets of Hanasaku Iroha and the BD/DVD combo of the first season of Black Butler (a season I enjoyed way more than the second one). See you next time and happy anime viewing.
Okay, here is my lineup for the Winter season. The shows are ranked according to my relative level of enthusiasm/interest. I am actually continuing following 7 series that began last Fall. As expected the Winter season had very few shows that seemed worthwhile. I feel comfortable with the 5 new shows I added because they have been enjoyable so far, and I also do not want to burn myself up with following too many shows. I hope you found new shows to watch. Happy anime viewing.
1. Nagi no Asukara - It keeps having high quality.
2. Silver Spoon 2 - I hope I enjoy it as much as season 1.
3. Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! REN - I thought this sequel was unnecessary, but I am liking it so far.
4. Noragami - I am not sure how good it will turn out, but it has potential.
5. Strike the Blood - It continues to be cliched but is a guilty pleasure.
6. Golden Time - It continues to be decent, but I enjoy watching some of the characters.
7. Weak Up, Girls! - I am not a big fun of idol animes, but it seems sincere with likable characters.
8. World Conquest Zvezda Plot - I am hopeful that it can turn into an enjoyable watch.
9. Kill la Kill - Its craziness is really starting to grow on me.
10. Ace of Diamond - It is meh at times, but I generally enjoy watching it.
11. Magi: The Kingdom of Magic - I want to finish it and hope to take something positive from it.
12. Samurai Flamenco - It might have turn to shit, but I plan to finish it.
I did manage to finish watching all of K-On! last week. I enjoyed season 1 a lot because it felt very fresh and highly entertaining. I thought that I was going to find 3-4 episodes boring, but, except for the second training camp episode, the rest of the 11 episodes were very enjoyable. Interestingly, the extra and OVA episodes were not as interesting and cool as I remembered them. And then I watched season 2. And let me tell you, I got bored with it.
The last time I watched season 2 I remember the first part being kind of slow, but the second part being more enjoyable. But this time season 2 never seemed to click for me. The best thing from season 2 was the last concert and the song for Azusa. Finally, the movie was more enjoyable, but it felt underwhelming again. I am starting to convince myself that the best way to enjoy K-On! is to watch season 1 and the first OVA, skip season 2 but watch the second OVA and finally watch the movie to have some closure.
I am still delivering on what anime series from Winter to add to my watch list, but I promise to post a definitive list by the end of the week. Happy anime viewing.
My goal to watch all of K-On! within this week is moving along quite nicely. I already watched season 1 (including the extra and OVA that followed). Yesterday I watched the first 12 episodes of season 2. I have some comments on what I have watched so far, but I will write about them after I am done watching the movie. As far as the Winter season is concerned, I have already added three shows (Silver Spoon 2, Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren and Noragami) to follow. I have looked at the first episode of other new shows, and I might add 2 more series to my list of simulcasts. Happy anime viewing.
I watched a lot of anime this week. I watched the two OVA's adapted from the Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas manga. I am a fan of this franchise and was interested in seeing the anime adaptation of what I thought was a good manga. I was quite satisfied with these OVA's. The only thing that I sort of lament is that the OVA's only adapted about half of the manga material, if I recall correctly. I am hoping for more anime adaptations of The Lost Canvas and other Saint Seiya mangas; I doubt it will happen though.
The other anime I watched was tsuritama. And I was also surprised by how amusing it was; the animation style was also well done and interesting. Halfway through tsuritama, I was leaning toward buying the series on BD, but the conclusion was not very strong. Next week I am thinking in rewatching the two seasons and movie of K-On! Crunchyroll is also going to start airing new Winter shows tomorrow. Looking forward to the new anime season, see you later and happy anime viewing.
I actually was quite busy this past week watching anime. I decided to watch the three seasons of The World God Only Knows available in Crunchyroll. Overall, these three seasons left a positive impression on me. The first and third seasons were not very good, but the second was a bit better done. I like the premise of this franchise, and I wonder if we will see a fourth season. For now I am getting ready for the upcoming anime season. Hopefully, there will be some good new shows. Happy anime viewing.