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.
Here is my simulcast list and first report for Winter 2015. As opposed to past winter seasons, this first season of the year has several interesting-looking series. Not to mention that some strong series from this past fall are continuing. This season I am following 10 shows: 7 are continuing from fall and 3 are new. My top 3 series are very strong, and the rest are a mix of good and somewhat mediocre shows.
1. Durarara!!x2, episodes 1-4 (Very good) - Season two began in a chaotic but thrilling way. It pretty much picked it up where the first season left off and quickly introduced some new characters. Durarara!! is one of my favorite franchises, and this new season has not disappointed me. I hope things continue to be of high quality.
2. Parasyte, episodes 13-16 (Very good) - The second half of Parasyte started in a slump as things seem to have stagnated somewhat. Fortunately, it seems that episode sixteen might have rectified the direction. Needless to say that I continue to like this anime. I will continue to trust that the rest of this anime can be as excellent as the first third was.
3. Your Lie in April, episodes 12-15 (Very good) - The second half of Your Lie in April continued where the first half left off, as a well directed series where the scenes smoothly flow with emotions. It is very clear by now where this series is going, and I agree with it. I expect he remaing seven episode to be filled with strong emotions and, hopefully, high quality.
4. Yuri Kuma Arashi, episodes 1-4 (Good) - Like other Ikuhara's animes, Yuri Kuma Arashi is a weird show. The first three episodes were amusing to watch, but they were too cryptic and surreal to discern a clear meaning. Fortunately, episode four did a great job showing a potentially interesting and creative premise.
I am now more excited about what might come next.
5. CROSS ANGE, episodes 13-17 (So-so) - How I wish this anime stopped messing around will silliness and finally become a decent product (it is apparently capable of doing that). These five episodes have been a mix of good and bad CROSS ANGE. I look forward to new episodes of this hot mess, but the writing can be very annoying.
6. Yona of the Dawn, episodes 13-16 (Good) - This continues to be a solid series with a clear premise and somewhat cliche but well conceived characters. I like watching this anime, but it is not that exciting anymore. These episodes continued to add more elements to the story, but I wonder if it is already time fo the producers to start moving toward a conclusion.
7. Saekano, episodes 0-3 (Decent) - I suppose this is the latest otaku uber-centric show. Other than some neat creative choices, I have not been impressed by this series. But for now it is entertaining enough, and I wish for it to quickly improve.
8. SHIROBAKO, episodes 13-16 (Good) - This show continues to tread along in a consistent, solid way. Anime making continues to be a somewhat chaotic process, but the characters have a positive attitude. I expect the series to remain this way.
9. Ace of Diamond, episodes 64-67 (Good) - After the loss in the regional final and the departure of the third years, the underclassmen are working hard to create another contending team. I am having a good time watching this transition.
10. Log Horizon 2, episodes 14-17 (Good) - For the first time in this second season, I am having fun watching it. I think that focusing on the younger members of Log Horizon is a good idea because things can get too heavy with the older characters.
Here is, finally, my final report for Fall 2014. After a mostly disappointing year for anime series, the great stuff finally arrived. Fall 2014 is one of the best autumn seasons I have seen. I had a good time watching the end of some fun shows and the start of 3 well produced series that could become favorites of mine.
1. Parasyte, episodes 10-12 (Excellent) - These episodes saw the end of an intense and highly dangerous arc for the main characters, and the start of a new arc that might make the story even more intriguing. Parasyte is to me the best anime series of 2014, and the first half ended in another heart breaking episode for the main character.
2. Chaika, AVENGING BATTLE, episodes 9-10 (Good) - These last two episodes of AVENGING BATTLE concluded the story and revealed the intentions of the main villain. The conclusion was not great, but it got the job done. Ultimately I enjoyed this anime that was not spectacular but most of the time had a great vibe and fun characters.
3. Your Lie in April, episodes 9-11 (Very good) - The positive momentum from the previous episodes continued. I have been thoroughly seduced by this anime, and I am ready for more intense emotions and what appears to be and eventual bittersweet ending.
4. Fate/stay night, episodes 9-12 (Very good) - This very well produced show continues to be a great watch. I am familiar with the story and characters, but I continue being surprised by some developments. I look forward to the second part of this series that hopefully will be a great companion and conclusion for Fate/Zero.
5. Argevollen, episodes 21-24 (Good) - The series remained being good and appealing enough for me to enjoy. The show had some inconsistencies, but the main characters (especially the main duo) were usually my biggest draw. Lastly, the ending was a bit underwhelming but had enough closure (even with some loose ends that could justify and unlikely sequel).
6. CROSS ANGE: Rondo of Angel and Dragon, episodes 1-12 (So-so) - After an explosive but highly provocative and sensationalist first episode, this series struggled to find an identity. The last few episodes, though, have stabilized the premise and given a clear purpose to the story and main (and some secondary) characters.
7. Celestial Method, episodes 9-13 (Good) - Slowly but surely this show continued to improve and move to a resolution. In the end Celestial Method is a come of age story with mostly likable characters, but it has little ambition beyond the pleasant visuals.
8. Yona of the Dawn, episodes 5-12 (Good) - After the initial highly dramatic episodes, this series has settled more into an action/adventure show. The premise is still strong, but I am not as enamored with it as before.
9. Psycho-Pass 2, episodes 8-11 (Decent) - Just when it appeared that this uneven second season had turned the corner, episode 9 murks things. The final two episodes rectified some inconsistencies, but Psycho-Pass 2 ends up being a mostly pointless sequel.
10. SHIROBAKO, episodes 1-12 (Good) - An entertaining and sometimes funny series about people working in the anime industry, centered around 5 cute and charismatic young women. There is not much of an story, but I get a good vibe watching it.
11. Ace of Diamond, episodes 51-63 (Good) - The regional tournament finally ended in an emotional loss for the protagonists. In this cour the series continued to improve to become a solid anime.
12. Sword Art Online II, episodes 14-24 (So-so) - The second part focused on small arcs; the last one being kind of nice. However, this second second continues to suffer from the same narrative issues and absurd characterization from the first season.
13. Log Horizon 2, episodes 1-13 (Decent) - A largely boring season that has something probably important on mind but has not expressed it clearly yet. The only real highlight has been Akatsuki.
I will not be able to watch anime from this Friday to all the way through mid January. This means that I will not watch the endings of some of my simulcasted titles from the current season. And I will also miss the start of the Winter 2015 anime season.
My plan is to catch up on my simulcasts after mid January and publish my final rankings for Fall 2014 by the 21st. After that I will keep watching my simulcasts that continue through March and explore new titles. I plan to post a special report ranking my continuing and new simulcasts by the end of January or beginning of February. Like this season, I will give more detailed reports on my top 7 series.
I hope things work out for me. Happy anime watching.
This Fall 2014 anime season continues to be very strong. I have not had many updates because I would only have repeated how pleased I am with most of the shows I am watching. It is also great that looking forward to next season, several of my most strongest shows are continuing until March. For now, I look forward to keep being excited about watching this amazing anime season. I will explain at a later post why I will have to delay my final report for Fall until January.
1. Parasyte, episodes 5-9 (Very good) - These episodes have been very intense and well done, as usual. The main character and the people around him are going through changes, and this has made them and the story more appealing. I look forward for Parasyte to continue being consistently of very high quality.
2. Chaika: AVENGING BATTLE, episodes 5-8 (Good) - These episodes have given some important answers and introduced, what seems like, the last arc in the story. I have had fun watching this anime franchise, and I hope that it ends in a good manner with a satisfying conclusion.
3. Argevollen, episodes 17-20 (Good) - Most of the big secrets have already been revealed, and the conclusion is all that is left. The story in Argevollen has gotten better, but my main draw to it continues to be the characters. Some character relations have advanced to a satisfying point, but I am still waiting to learn how the relationship between the leads will ultimately end up. I hope the final 4 episodes resolve that particular relationship and the series in a satisfying way.
4. Your Lie in April, episodes 5-8 (Good) - These last episodes have started to change my mind about whether this anime is going in the right direction or not. The series has toned down the schizophrenic pace and started to be more subtle and focused on the characters from a more constructive perspective, which has touched me emotionally. I hope the anime can keep constructing positive things.
5. Psycho-Pass 2, episodes 4-7 (Good) - Finally, after 7 episodes in, Psycho-Pass 2 is making clearer what is the point of this season. Unlike season 1, season 2 will focus in a single case/arc. The material remains strong, but at time I feel that this season is intended to only be a bridge between season 1 and the upcoming movie. This is fine, but I want season 2 to stand more in its own.
6. Fate/stay night, episodes 5-8 (Very good) - I continue to be impressed with how well crafted each episode is. The story has not blown me away, but the characterization is very strong. There is not much more that I can say right now, but I hope this new stay night keeps this high quality, and that it becomes a fitting conclusion to the story that began in Fate/Zero.
7. Celestial Method, episodes 5-8 (Decent) - This anime had a promising first episode, but it got kind of chaotic in the subsequent episodes. Thankfully for me, the last four episodes have improved the series with a clearer storyline and nice character development. I look forward with faith that the last episodes will continue to be strong, and the conclusion offer a neat resolution.
1. Chaika AVENGING BATTLE, episodes 1-4 (Good) - This second season/part of Chaika continues to be a simple but fun and entertaining anime. These first episodes of AVENGING BATTLE have more or less focused on solving some of the mysteries and set the table for the conclusion. I expect the remaining 6 episodes to be busy and eventful.
2. Parasyte, episodes 1-4 (Very good) - Parasyte has quickly become in my eyes the undisputed candidate for best anime series of 2014. I know that 4 episodes or a sixth of the series is too soon to judge how this anime will turn out in the end. But the first four episodes had an appealing premise, well paced narrative and well developed characters.
3. Psycho-Pass 2, episodes 1-3 (Good) - One of the few things that bothered me from the very well made first season of Psycho-Pass is that it took several episodes of build up before a really neat and thought provoking instance was reached. Psycho-Pass 2 is doing the same, and because of that, is kind of hard to judge it. I am still giving it a positive grade because the series' material has been strong.
4. Argevollen, episodes 13-16 (Good) - The series continues to be solid, but things are beginning to get more intense and dangerous. I had hopes that the new cast addition was going to have a bigger impact, but I can wait for it. I feel that Argevollen is at a crucial juncture where it could either turn into a very good series or remain at its current quality.
5. Yona of the Dawn, episodes 1-4 (Good) - Episode 4 felt so short. I guess this means I am enjoying the show. I know that the set up is very important for a good story, but I want to see brave Yona already. I continue to see Yona of the Dawn as my surprise of the season because they characters are compelling, and the story could be good despite feeling cliched.
6. Your Lie in April, episodes 1-4 (Decent) - I am honestly not sure how to feel about this show. On the one hand, the premise is something I can really dig, especially if it has romantic aspects. But the writing can be so naive and over simplistic. How can characters go from being depressed to excited and full of life from one instant to another. I want this series to prove this pessimism wrong and become great and truly special.
7. Fate/stay night, episodes 0-4 (Very good) - Having watched the original stay night, I am very familiar with the story. But I am still very impressed by the animation and pleased with the direction and general execution. My ranking is this low because the original stay night was kind of dull. But apparently this new version will have different things. Hopefully those changes are for the better.
I decided to do some changes to my anime seasons reports. In addition to the simulcast list posted, I am actually following 3 more shows. I might have trouble being on top of every one of those shows. And because of that I plan to do two monthly reports per season, focusing on chunks of 3 or 4 episodes. To make things more convenient for me, the monthly reports will only rank the 7 shows I am more excited about.
Of course, I will have a final ranking for all the shows I have watched at the end of the season. I should post the first monthly report in a few days. Happy anime watching.