Anime watched: This week I finally watched my Sunrise/Right Stuf DVD's of Turn A Gundam. It took me about 10 episodes to start seeing a rhythm to the unnecessarily convoluted story. Some of the characters are interesting, but better writing would have helped. The premise continues to be the best part of this show to me. But I had an overall satisfying experience.
1. Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju, episodes 1-4 (Very good) - I continue to be enthralled by this, so far, great anime. I am a big fan of well developed characters, and this show is foremost concerned with that aspect. It also helps that the production values have been strong. I eagerly await for the next episodes, and I hope they lead to a continuing wonderful and satisfying experience.
2. Snow White with the Red Hair, episodes 13-15 (Good) - The show has kept up with the consistent and strong character writing, and the emotions continue to run high. But I have been kind of disappointed with these three episodes probably because the narrative has not progressed as I expected it. Still, I will have faith in hoping that the show improves.
3. ERASED, episodes 1-4 (Good) - This show is doing a lot of good things in terms of narration and direction, but there is too much tension. I am pleased with having a competent work, but perhaps mysteries with such an emotional weight are not my cup of tea. I will probably continue to be invested and hope for a rewarding experience where the characters earn some happiness.
4. Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash, episodes 1-4 (Good) - I was already liking the contemplative, leisurely pace of this show, accentuated by pleasing production values. But I wanted something dramatic to happen. And episode 4 delivered with the death of one of the main characters. I hope this event is the catalyst of better things to come for this promising show.
5. Gate, episodes 13-16 (Decent) - After a disappointing episode 15 I was ready to give up on this anime, but episode 16 managed to tie several loose ends. At this point Gate has reached a happy medium between behind the scenes machinations of the people from fantasy land, the issues of the JSDF/Japan and the adventures of Itami and his three girls. I hope for good things to come.
6. Dimension W, episodes 1-4 (Good) - After a decent first episode things did not look that great for this action/adventure, retro style show, but slowly but surely it is becoming better with each episode. The overarching narrative seems intriguing enough, and the main characters (especially the heroine) are likable and coming into their own.
7. Durarara!!x2, episodes 25-28 (Decent) - At this moment my relationship with this second season of Durarara!! is complicated. I have been pleased by some things but also disappointed by others. I am not sure what to expect from this show anymore, but it sure would be nice if the producers end the constant set up and moved towards a conclusion.
8. Dagashi Kashi, episodes 1-4 (Decent) - This show is supposed to be about obsessing over candy, but it is showing glimpses of a more ambitious premise. For the moment I am having a good time with its silliness and weird innocent playfulness.
9. Active Raid, episodes 1-4 (So-so) - I am kind of confused by this show. I expected it to be a silly show, but it seems to want to explore serious issues like national security. I suppose either formula is fine with me, but I need more clarity on its premise and execution.
10. Myriad Colors Phantom World, episodes 1-4 (Not really good) - This show has the bells and whistles typical in a Kyoto Animation production, but it has been very disappointing. The fanservice is attractive and sexy, but there is almost no story and meaningful characterization.
Anime watched: There is not much to report on this week because I finally took a break from watching full series.
Anime bought: Discotek's DVD rerelease of the first Lupin the 3rd series, Funimation's The Woman Called Fujiko Mine (standard edition), Sentai's BD releases of Shirobako, part 1 and Tamako Market, and the BD release of the first half of Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam from Sunrise/Right Stuf.
Anime watched: This week I watched all four seasons of Natsume's Book of Friends. It is a solid anime with an attractive premise and likable characters. I wished more had been animated because it looks like the story in the source material has a lot of strong content. I also had time to watch Terror in Resonance. My fandom of it was a bit down, but this rewatch reinvigorated my enthusiasm for it.
Anime watched: I rewatched Kill la Kill with the English dub. And like I expected, it is enjoyable and very well done. I also watched Witch Craft Works, which is decent and has some interesting things.
Anime bought: Sentai's 2 BD volumes of Captain Earth and Funimation's Terror in Resonance standard edition.
This is my list. I am actually watching more shows that I anticipated. Winter is shaping up to be a solid season for me. Also, I am planning to follow Lupin III, Part IV, but it will not be in my rankings because I did not stream it since its beginning, and its episodic nature will make it harder to analyze. I am not super excited, but I am pleased with this season's offerings.
1. Snow White with the Red Hair 2 - I liked the first half a lot and look froward to how the story wraps up.
2. Durarara!!x2 Ketsu - This second season has been a mixed bag, but I still want to watch its conclusion.
3. ERASED - Yep, it seems to be about what I expected it to be, and that pleases me.
4. Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju - I am impressed and intrigued by this odd, mature story.
5. Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash - Another trapped in a MMORPG anime, but I like it
6. Gate 2 - The first part was decent, but I want to see improvement and become a fan of it again.
7. Myriad Colors Phantom World - This Kyoto Animation show seems silly but fun.
8. Dagashi Kashi - It has an unoriginal premise, but it looks pretty and fun.
9. Dimension W - It looks like a solid sci-fi show, but I am not that excited by it.
10. Active Raid - This looks like a hot mess, but I think I can have fun with it.
Anime watched: I watched my BD's of Argevollen. It is not a good anime, but I still find enough things to be attracted to it. I also had time to watch Is the Order a Rabbit?? (season 2), and I think it is better made and liked it more than the first season. And of course Winter season began this week. I plan to post my watch list early next week.
Anime watched: I was quite busy this week. I first watched my Sentai's BD copy of Natsuyuki Rendezvous. When I first watched this title in 2012 I was very disappointed because it meandered through most of its second half after having a terrific start. But I decided to give it a second chance, and my impression improved somewhat. I then rewatched Sentai's BD of Bodacious Space Pirates, and my view of it remained pretty much the same. I finally watched Sentai's BD of Glasslip, and I am pleased to report that my opinion of it improved as I found new details and meaning in this second watch.
Anime bought: I acquired a DVD copy of Viz's complete collection of Inuyasha: The Final Act because I did not like how the video in my BD versions look.
1. Death Parade - A very imaginative and emotional showcase of what only anime is capable of doing. This series is number one mainly because it is very creative and the execution of most of its elements was superb. The overarching story is the only element that is not as strong, but it is to a certain extent understandable for a show mainly constructed with several emotionally powerful vignettes.
2. Blood Blockade Battlefront - This is a creative and fun show with a simple but solidly constructed story; the characters are not that deep but are charming (even some of the villains); and to me it has the best production values of the shows that began airing in 2015. The conclusion had closure but left the door open for more awesomeness. And Rie Matsumoto might become the next legendary anime director.
3. Yuri Kuma Arashi - This is the newest Kunihiko Ikuhara anime. And like his previous works, it is filled with strange things. But unlike his other two masterpieces (Revolutionary Girl Utena and Mawaru Penguindrum), Yuri Kuma Arashi is not as ambitious or as well executed. This show is in the top three because it was one of the most interesting and creative animes that aired this year.
4. Sound! Euphonium - This is one of the best anime series Kyoto Animation has produced. The characters and visuals are fantastic, but I want to highlight that this show tries to transcend the slice of life/moe genre that KyoAni has pretty much perfected. This anime was able to get enough away from typical anime tropes to create characters and situatinos that feel like real life.
5. Noragami Aragoto - The first season of Noragami was a solid combination of action, fantasy and emotions, but Aragoto has pretty much elevated all the aspects of season one to new heights. The story is becoming more engaging and complex, the main characters keep growing up, and Bones' production continues to be strong. Hopefully there will be a season three down the road.
6. Maria the Virgin Witch - Another creative anime with an unusual anime premise. This show centers around an idealistic teen witch in the middle of conflicts during the Middle Ages. The story and character writing is solid, but this show really shines with how smart the premise and setting inform and make interesting the issues that the different characters are going through.
7. Snow White with the Red Hair - I am not a fan of shoujo anime because it quickly gets boring and repetitive, but Snow White has smartly added elements of class conflict, politics and gender equality to produce a winning formula. I am eager to see if the second part can keep up with the quality of this first part. And this is another great looking anime from the masters at Bones.
8. My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO! - Much like Noragami Aragoto, to me the second season of SNAFU blew the first season out of the water. Season one of SNAFU was more about cynicism and satire, but season two is more focused on complex emotions and heartache. Watching the heart wrenching SNAFU TOO! was somewhat masochistic, but it was well worth it.
9. School-Live! - Who knew that moe and zombies could work so well together. This anime started as a cute, boring title, but it quickly showed that it had more ambition than the typical moe show. It is a zombie show that meshes well cute girls antics with the cruel reality of living in an apocalypse. More story remains to be animated, but this first season showed a lot of good stuff.
10. My Love Story!! - This is another shoujo romance with some of the negative issues typical of this genre. But I am giving higher marks to this show because it has quality writing and some genuinely well executed moments. Another very positive thing about this anime is that it was able to offer a very complete experience and story during its two cours.
1. Noragami Aragoto, episodes 10-13 (Very good) - This very emotional second season of Noragami ends in a heartfelt but adequate way. There is also an apparent promise for a third season after the credits roll. In the final analysis I came into Aragoto expecting more of the same from a first season that I liked a lot. But I was pleasantry surprised with the great emotional character writing. I am happy with two seasons of Noragami, but a third one will be most welcome.
2. Owarimonogatari, episodes 10-12 (Good) - The Shinobu Mail arc ended in a solid but not very interesting fashion. This is probably due to the fact that most of the Monogatari source material has been animated, and there is not much left to cover and explain. In the final analysis Owarimonogatari is a solid but not very remarkable entry.
3. The Perfect Insider, episodes 9-11 (Good) - These last episodes in a way solved the mysteries that were not that much of a question mark since half way through the series. This was a weird but oddly refreshing show with eccentric characters from start to finish. It had some solid moments and some inconsistencies, but I am satisfied with what it offered me.
4. Beautiful Bones, episodes 9-12 (Decent) - These episodes included the most gruesome and chilling mystery of the whole series. The final episode solves some issues between the two leads, but the series, unfortunately, ends at the start of what looks like a larger story arc. This anime had some good ideas and did some neat things, but it is clear that more story remains to be adapted into anime.
5. Seraph of the End, episodes 21-24 (Decent) - The ending to Seraph of the End was explosive and full of action (and some emotions). I suspected that these episodes were not going to wrap up the whole story, but the conclusion was more open ended than I expected. If we get more anime seasons, great. But if this is it, I am left with a somewhat bad taste.
6. One-Punch Man, episodes 10-12 (Good) - This stretch had probably the two best episodes of the whole series, but the ending did not leave me fulfilled. I recognize that One-Punch Man has the necessary elements to be the hit it is, but I was unable to become a fan of it. A second season could change my views, but I do not know if there will be one.
7. Comet Lucifer, episodes 10-12 (Decent) - This series ends in a logical way using some anime cliches. The initial episode was intriguing and gave some flashes that perhaps it could lead to an interesting fantasy/adventure show. In the end Comet Lucifer ends up as a conventional story, but it is certainly an entertaining and fun title.