I watched two anime series this week and had similar experiences with both of them. I first watched the much maligned Magical Warfare. It is not a good anime, but the premise had some potential. An additional cour could help it. I then watched a better received title: Sunday Without God. It has a decent start, and the premise also had potential. But in the end Sunday Without God lost its steam and ended up being a mediocre product.
1. Durarara!!x2, episodes 13-16 (Good) - The second part of season two of Durarara!! has had a strong start. I truly hope this means that the chaos and confusion from the first 12 episodes is over. Episodes 15 and 16 were particularly strong, as they well crafted and started to tie some loose ends that even go back to the first season. And the animation still sucks but is not too bad if everything else is clicking.
2. GATE, episodes 1-5 (Good) - This show has been a pleasant surprise for me. I am no longer a huge fan of action/adventure anime, but I have a sweet spot for fantasy shows with action/adventure elements if they are well done. So far GATE has been consistently solid. It first five episodes focused mostly in exposition with the narrative not moving much, but I can be patient in waiting for big excitement.
3. Classroom Crisis, episodes 1-5 (Good) - This is a weird anime. At first it looked like it was going to be a space/mecha show. Then it looked like it was going to be a clever, but perhaps dry, show about business management. After its first five episodes Classroom Crisis is indeed about business management, but it is also fun, engaging and driven by well built characters. I am liking this anime a lot.
4. Charlotte, episodes 1-4 (Decent) - Charlotte is definitely a close cousin of Angel Beats! The weird craziness, likable characters and emotive moments are present in both shows. For now I am liking how Charlotte is establishing its premise, but it might become stale if t does began to move its narrative soon. The reason for my rating after four episode is that even though this a fun show, the story is lacking.
5. The Heroic Legend of Arslan, episodes 14-16 (Good) - I am not sure how to feel about this series at this moment. On the one hand I still like the premise, characters and appreciate what the show is trying to do. But I want it do something that excites me again. Perhaps refocusing on Pars politics and inner workings could do the trick, but, fortunately, there are still enough episodes left for more exciting things to occur.
6. Snow White with the Red Hair, episodes 1-4 (Good) - I like this anime, but I am starting to think that it will slowly build up things and get really exciting (if it reaches that level) probably until its second cour. It is in sixth place at the moment, but I expect and want it to get better as it goes along.
7. Non Non Biyori Repeat, episodes 1-4 (Good) - I was about to get upset with this second season, but, thankfully, a strong episode four was able to balance things out in a positive direction. I feel that I can be comfortable with the "repeat" aspect as long as the episodes are solid and do not reek of cheap filler.
8. Prison School, episodes 1-4 (Decent) - I know that this is a figuratively and literal nasty show, but its approach, rudeness and mean comedy continues to work for me.
9. My LOVE Story!!, episodes 13-17 (Good) - I was very close to downgrading this show, but the last three episodes have been strong and given some fresh air to it.
10. Baby Steps 2, episodes 13-17 (Good) - Not much new things to report. This series continues to be solid and good enough for me to keep being interested in watching it.
Anime watched: I watched Ping Pong, and I liked an enjoyed its vibe and execution. I also watched Kyousougiga; it is a creative show, but it had a convoluted execution, and Toei's budget art and animation did not help either. Kyousougiga is a fine and fun show, but it is not a great anime. Finally, I watched Air, and it is a decent enough show that foreshadows some of the things that Kyoto Animation did with future Key titles.
Anime watched: I rewatched my Right Stuf DVD's of Revolutionary Girl Utena (the tv series). I continue to be amazed by the high quality of this anime. But I had some trouble following the subtitles. This is making me consider watching it the next time with the English dub. That will be even more temping if the BD's for Utena that Right Stuf in planning to release next year are a significant visual upgrade over the DVD's.
1. Durarara!!x2 - The first 12 episodes were not that good, but I love this anime franchise.
2. Gate - The first episode was exciting, and the show feels full of potential.
3. Snow White with the Red Hair - This new Bones title looks and feels good.
4. Charlotte - I thought I was going to hate this show, but I like how it started.
5. The Heroic Legend of Arslan - The first half ended in a bit of a slump, but it still has untapped potential.
6. Non Non Biyori Repeat - I expect to enjoy this season like the first one.
7. Classroom Crisis - It reminds me of Bodacious Space Pirates, and that is a good thing to me.
8. Prison School - It is entertaining, and the visuals are not as bad as I had concluded.
9. Baby Steps 2 - I like what it is doing and hope for good things to come.
10. My LOVE Story!! - It has bored me, but I plan to watch the rest of it.
Anime bought: Noragami and the first part of Sailor Moon R.
Anime watched: I watched Noragami with the English dub, and I continued to enjoy it. I should post my lineup for Summer 2015 in a few days.
Anime bought: NIS America's A Lull in the Sea (Nagi no Asukara) Premium Edition BD set.
Anime watched: I watched a ton of stuff this week. Engaged to the Unidentified started promising, but it diluted through its run. Rage of Bahamut: Genesis was a nice experience. The second season of Knights of Sidonia was disappointing. And I had time to watch my Nagi no Asukara's BD's with the English dub, and I enjoyed it and liked it more than the first time around. I am very satisfied with my purchase of Nagi no Asukara.
Anime industry: Anime Expo is going on right know. Many exciting things are going to be announced, but I think that Sentai licensing Legend of the Galactic Heroes is the biggest highlight. I have not watched this anime, but it seems like a great thing; hopefully Sentai will stream it somewhere.
Due to the broadcast issues with Blood Blockade Battlefront, I will post this report without my final thoughts for that show. Fortunately, the final rankings should not be affected that much. I will post my final thoughts on BBB when I am able to. I am not happy with this situation, but I have to move on with the upcoming anime season.
1. Sound! Euphonium, episodes 9-13 (Very good) - My positive outlook for this series was maintained by these last five episodes. The characters and atmosphere were the best parts for me. The ending is more open ended than definitive, but I am content. In the final analysis I was pleasantly surprised because Sound! Euphonium seemed like a cute but shallow moe anime, but it instead had plenty of substance.
2. Blood Blockade Battlefront, episodes 9-12
3. My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO!, episodes 9-13 (Very good) - This last third concludes the second season in an open ended way. And ultimately that is the best way to end a story about characters who feel like real people because life is also open ended. This second season of SNAFU was a roller coaster of emotions that will be remembered with fondness and a little bit of sadness.
4. Heroic Legend of Arslan, episodes 9-13 (Good) - These episodes continued to advance the story and develop the characters nicely. Although, the introduction of magic/sorcery has me wondering if this is a smart move. The first half ended with a bang, and I continue to enjoy and be pleased by this show. I hope the second half does not disappoint me.
5. Seraph of the End, episodes 9-12 (Decent) - These episodes continued the show's positive momentum. The much anticipated humans versus vampires war has restarted, and things should only get more intense. But I appreciate that episode 12 is a well done, reflective piece that also serves as a set up for the second half. This anime is not a Good work yet, but it is getting closer.
6. Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works, episodes 21-25 (Decent) - At the end of day this second season of UBW managed to be satisfactory for me. It is without a doubt inferior to the first half, but this reworking of Fate/stay night more or less wraps up the story started in Fate/Zero.
7. Plastic Memories, episodes 9-13 (Decent) - This romantic drama, disguised as a sci-fi story, ended in a logical way. I will forget this anime quickly. I am not disappointed that this show was not great because I never bought the hype that this anime was going to do something special.
8. Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, episodes 9-13 (So-so) - In the end this is a fun fantasy series. It started with a positive momentum but was unable to keep it throughout its run.
9. Baby Steps 2, episodes 9-12 (Good) - At its midpoint I am still interested and engaged with this show. I hope the rest keeps going in his direction and that the story gets some closure.
10. My LOVE Story!!, episodes 9-12 (Good) - This sweet romance story continues to be well made. I plan to watch its second half, but I wish it was edgier.
Anime bought: Discotek's BD version of The Castle of Cagliostro
Anime watched: I planned to rewatch two shows this week, but in the end I only watched Flowers of Evil. And yes, I continue to appreciate and admire what this show does. It is a shame that more anime content will probably not be produced.
The new Summer anime season is around the corner, and these are the titles I am most excited about: Snow White with the Red Hair, Over Lord and more Durarara!!x2. There are a few other shows that look promising, but I need to check them out first. Summer is shaping up to potentially be a strong season.
Anime industry: This week the big news is the distribution partnership between Funimation and Universal. And by most indications this is a good deal that will allow more Funimation products to be in more stores. I am going to trust that all parties involved will benefit. I especially hope that this makes Funimation an even stronger anime distributor.
Anime watched: I watched a lot this week. I watched Lagrange: The Flower of Rin-ne. I had trouble getting into season one, but I ended up liking it. Unfortunately the second season was too convoluted to enjoy. Black Bullet was doing some nice things, but its ending pretty much betrayed the spirit of the show. Finally, I had a good time watching Soul Eater Not!