More new series premieres, including the one everyone has been waiting for, Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai Ren, the magnificent tale of how KyoAni can do no wrong in anime. But if that does not strike your fancy, we also got Noragami, Onee-chan ga Kita, Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta, and Nobunagun. Truth be told? Not a particularly strong start to this season, but there are a few diamonds in the rough worth polishing, if they bother.
“I often think this show would be more fun if it actually had magical bullshit and action fights.” –@tldranimu
So way back in December of 2012 I made a somewhat moderate final observation of Chu2Koi:
Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! had all the strong elements of a KyoAni show, GITAH face, flimsy story, slice-of-life, whatever else they felt like, and even a little more, after all, don’t you remember when you ran around your backyard pretending to be a space ranger? No? Well fuck you, it was fun when I was 13.
Truth be told, Chu2Koi wasn’t a completely bad experience, but you get what you pay for with KyoAni shows, and that is pomp and circumstance. The words, not the song.
True, I did say the show had a strong plot. Because plot-wise, it did give us slightly more than KnK gave us last season. Also, unlike KnK, it gave us better characters. But the real problem I have with the opening of the second season, is that they’ve almost completely reverted everyone back to their original forms, as if most of the first season didn’t exist. I know the premise of the show is supposed to be about childish delusions, so making a second season about SUPER SERIOUS RIKKA wouldn’t sell, but it wouldn’t kill for her to grow up a little, like Dekomori’s master disguise.
I could be wrong though, and I hope I am. Maybe this season will be super fucking magical. But like any KyoAni show, don’t hold your breath. It’s just made to make you feel good. It’s still not going to save anime. I know, that line again. Going to keep using it until morale improves.
First Rating: 7
Sub Group: Commie
“I think I found FMP’s Kazama Shinji a girlfriend.”
I’ll be honest, this is so far my top pick of the season, and it’s for the most simple basic reasons possible. Fairly plain girl interested in military weapons and vehicles, introverted personality, weapons with the souls of dead historical figures, and a monster-of-the-week premise that hopefully promises to deliver the action. Bonus is, it’s not an LN adaptation, so that gives me something to read hopefully. The animation has a lot of crazy flash and colors though, which put it in the Kill la Kill camp at times. Ogura’s VA, Mutou Shiori, looks to be another fresh face to the field as well, so that certainly makes things interesting.
But you know, I actually was disappointed for the episode to end. I actually felt a little excited to watch. So I figure this one might actually strike my fancy. I always go with my gut feelings on this shit. Never steered me wrong before. Well, except for Duke Nukem Forever.
First Rating: 8
Sub Group: Horrible
“It’s always a journey to the end of the world, isn’t it?”
Last season we had Arpeggio on the sea, this year we get Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta in the air. Not the same show, characters, or premise, but from the first episode, it looks like it might actually be enjoyable, and that is saying a lot for Bandai Visual. Certainly they’ve already given us a little character intrigue with Claire’s awkward introduction. But it seems this story is shaping up to be Grease and West Side Story mixed together with a few anime tropes with plenty of school hijinks, while the standard token doom looms in the background.
It looks to be an interesting ride. So we’ll ride.
First Rating: 7
Sub Group: Horrible
“The boundaries between life and death are connected by tails, not heads.”
I read a few chapters of the manga a month or so ago, and while it wasn’t bad, I wasn’t really feeling it too well. Fortunately, they skipped most of the first couple chapters with the silly school girl and the departure of his current weapon and went straight to the main act, the Misadventures of Iki Hiyori.
I’ve been watching a lot of Doctor Who, so when I started watching this, it sort of dawned on me that the whole wacky main character with a level-headed sidekick is very overused in everything in any country. If you look at DW in terms of “strange alien who travels through time with various companions” it’s a story where you can mix and match the parts and still come out with that basic premise. Noragami features the newbie God, Yato, and Hiyori, who becomes trapped between worlds after getting hit by a bus. The Doctor is portrayed as a humble, yet wise and worldly being, Yato is portrayed quite the opposite, selfish, poor, and desperate for attention. This show will have succeeded if its basic premise, the strange and incomprehensible world that Hiyori is discovering, remains intact throughout each episode.
Still, where the manga got boring, the anime might bring it back for me. We’ll see.
First Rating: 7
Sub Group: FFF
Yesterday, I went on a sort of mini-rant on Twitter about name localization with new anime titles, because it’s something that has been creeping into Crunchyroll programming, which is in turn trickling down to Horriblesubs releases because they are lazy fucks:
I staff one convention a year. When I go, I see most fans cosplaying as characters from shows five to ten years old or longer. I see merchandise from shows of the same time frame. Video rooms show programming from the same time frame. I don’t attend conventions anymore like I used to five plus years ago because it’s the same damn shit. Sure, you have a small percentage that cosplay new shows, vendors that carry some newer show merchandise, and a few showings of something a little more recent, but the anime fandom is so blended with video games, fantasy, and other genres, that I stopped taking pictures of cosplayers doing something I liked years ago because there are just so few of them.
It perplexes me a lot, because here we are probably twelve or thirteen years later after digital fansubbing hit the scene, and we still operate like kids buying music CDs of their favorite artists. Ultra Hipsters will sit and bitch about having to buy second or third generation VHS tapes of anime back in the 80s and 90s, or import Laserdiscs, and then talk about how anime is dead and they refuse to watch anything past 1999 because that would make them feel unclean. For me, I got into watching new straight-from-Japan programming in 2000-2001. I spent weeks downloading Anime-Empire’s sub of Angelic Layer from DCC bots. AVIs, encoded in Divx. Soldats’ sub of Noir. NewLifeAnime’s sub of Mahoromatic. I might not be an Ultra Hipster, but I damn well qualify for Regular Hipster. But technology advanced. Encoding got better. Distribution got easier. AnimeJunkies fucking died off. Crunchyroll exists because a lot of fucking good people probably my age, just like the people before them, put time and effort into subtitling the anime US companies wouldn’t touch back then due to their ridiculous license-bundle deals. US companies over-saturated the market with complete and utter shit, and when they collapsed, dared to bitch at fansubbing and pirating for ruining anime? OH HAY IT HAS BIG EYES AND GOES KAWAI SLAP OUR SHIT ON IT AND SELL IT LIKE HOTCAKES.
Today, we have access to almost every show Japan airs hours after it airs, over BitTorrent, Usenet, XDCC, direct-download, whatever you want. Even this goddamn blog exists because I spend a couple hours every season looking over Neregate, MAL, and Twitter for the shows I will be watching next season, and then I review them so that people who don’t really go through the lengths I do can read my shit and say “Hm, that sounds interesting, I’ll give it a watch!”. I’m not in this for money, or e-fame, or anything else. It’s fun, I enjoy bullshitting about anime with folks online and on Twitter, because I don’t have friends in real life who follow anime like I do. I have plenty of friends who are into anime, but they’re casual, they do other things, they don’t do what I do, either because they don’t want to, don’t care, or don’t know how. That’s fine. I wish I did have people I could hang out with on my couch and watch shit with on my media PC, but I don’t. I bullshit with people on Twitter about anime, because they do this shit. Football fans get together and shout at sweaty men running a pigskin, why is it weird I want to watch cartoons with other people who like cartoons? Oh right, social stigmas. Guess that isn’t covered by Tumblr’s Social Justice Warrior League.
So really, we don’t need English titles. They’re Japanese cartoons. Stop spending so much time trying to put a fresh coat of paint on something that doesn’t need it. Some day, we’ll get our anime straight from Japan, no dubs, no frills, just foreign media. I don’t need things dumbed down for me, I can handle it straight. Some day I won’t even need the subtitles.
Don’t cry too much. Most things I do, I do out of Unwarranted Self-Importance.