So how has this season been stacking up so far? Well, it could be better, but compared to last? Better. I only managed to drop one show off the watch list, and even then, I have a feeling there are a bunch others I am missing, but with so little time to chug through what I have, I dare not take on more. There is just so much to soak in that it’s hard to get through everything.
But here is the first half of my Fall 2014 impressions ranked from best to worst. It was sort of hard to rank-and-file them, so rankings are a bit liberal.
#1 Denki-Gai no Honya-san
“Based Sensei is Glasses.”
What grabbed me were two things: The visual art style, and the fairly well-placed comedy. A lot of shows go for cheap laughs and awkward situational gimmicks, especially among those that parody the anime and manga nerd culture. But unlike The Big Bang Theory, which makes you feel bad about being a nerd by secret-shaming you through the eyes of the normal character, Denki-Gai plays off much like the original seasons of Genshiken. It has the olde-tyme feel to it like you belong with the group of nerds, know you’re a nerd, and give zero fucks. Adding the Working! angle also keeps it fairly fresh in that when all else fails, cut back to everyone stocking books. It’s like the star wipe of workplace comedy. #2 Trinity Seven
“The true successor to King Issei”
Trinity Seven had two choices. It could make some lame attempt to be Mahou Sensou and discuss magic over tea, or it can jump right into the fray High School DxD style with a main character who wants his cake with a side of cake. While Arata is not quite Our Man Issei in the cool-hand-harem department, what he lacks in quantity he makes up in quality magic, or apparently the ability to mimic magic, putting him more on par with that Mimic Materia from FF7 than Issei’s motherfucking red dragon. Still, with a pretty strong female cast, it’s got more potential than I probably gave it at the beginning. Being a manga adaptation, that inevitably means I will need to read it. #3 Log Horizon
“Watching makes me miss MMOs. A little.”
Eight episodes into the second season, I admit, it’s a little lackluster than I might’ve thought compared to the first season, but considering this is the season where we’re already aware of their trapped-game status, it tends to play out more as if they’re just going through the day-by-day routines. The full raid arc with Shiroe began as quickly as it was shelved to highlight more Akatsuki, which I do not have any objection over, and certainly watching six episodes of the raid being beaten would’ve been boring. Akatsuki coming back out of her slump was good to see, because if I had to watch her emo out all season to Linkin Park and razorblades I was going to have a bad time. Log Horizon continues to be a well-paced show in the subject matter of fantasy MMOs, and fuck if I kinda want to play one now, but never want to crawl back to Blizzard. Maybe I should resume Firefall. #4 Ai Tenchi Muyo
It should be noted that one of the main reasons I rank Ai Tenchi Muyo in the top is because of the original cast. The fact that we get new and updated Tenchi, Ayeka, Sasami, Ryoko, Mihoshi, and Washu is enough for me to be satisfied, but what bumps this down from the top is the fact that when you watch this, you come to the sad realization that if Tenchi Muyo were made in today’s moe garbage LN adaptation anime scene, it would probably look like most of these episodes. Thankfully, they’re short, and largely episodic, so it doesn’t overstay its welcome, but I really could only gel with a handful of episodes. The brilliant thing is though, consciously or unconsciously, the show seems to be meta-parodying itself in that respect, as the entire central plot is Tenchi crossing into another dimension to keep tabs on what I presume is another Jurai princess, though I guess Ayeka has no idea who it is. There are enough times where the show seems aware of the fact that they’ve placed a 1990’s cultural icon in a 2014 haphazardly-constructed harem schoolgirl anime. Either way, I am enjoying it well enough. Just needs more Washu. #5 Inou-Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de
“They aren’t Captain Planet. Which is okay.”
The success of school-club anime can only really be measured in its characters, because after all, when nothing else around really changes, or hardly matters, the alternative would be to watch paint dry, a task better suited for time-lapse video. Inou-Battle is a little quirky in that everyone finds they have powers, but it seems to be impractical to any real use, and rather than going Heroes and trying to find the cheerleader, they simply just continue to hang out and poke fun at each others’ abilities, like some sort of elementary school secret club, or Dungeons and Dragons night in your mother’s basement. The quirky humor and off-beat jokes are meta-borrowed from Chuunibyou, often with Tomoyo actually calling Jurai chuni just for good measure. Given Trigger’s recent foray in supernatural affairs, this seems fairly tame, and even dare I say a better attempt at delusional warfare than KyoAni could muster. #6 Hitsugi no Chaika: Avenging Battle
The positive here is that of the second season so far, it’s been pretty good to us with narrative versus action. Where the first season offered little into Gaz and his true intentions, the second season has at least established that he had a plan that wasn’t just a bunch of random girls running around calling themselves Chaika. The negative really is that it still doesn’t seem like a complete show, since its hobbled by irrelevant plots and characters who don’t matter. As I’ve often quipped with multi-season shows separated by one or more seasons, if you know you’re going to be continuing into another season, write your last few episodes of the first season and first few episodes of the second season to act as if you’re watching a complete show. Log Horizon, for example, did not end its first season with some kind of finality and then open the second like you have no fucking idea who any of these people are. It flows together. I mean, seriously, we’re still collecting remains? There was only what, eight heroes? You should have took care of all but King Warmonger in the first season and spent the second unraveling the Chaika Plan and him. You could have cut several episodes out of the first season and crammed the first few from the second season in there and we’d have enough room to party. Now, I feel like they’re just going to rush into some kind of endgame where Gaz returns and the show ends. #7 Cross Ange
“Kill dragons, make money, get
I somehow am left to assume that when he couldn’t make another Gundam SEED where Jesus Yamato becomes Space God and Ruler of Everything with Queen Lacus and their offspring, Fukuda Mitsuo decided that it was easier to just make a show about a fallen princess and a bunch of dragons. The end result is basically shoving every failed plot and shitty trope from SEED Destiny into a show featuring literal Valkyries. Still, there are gems of good fun in this show, from the first episode reminder you’re watching GRIMDARK ANIME, to the constant hazing of women by women, which I imagine happens in a lot of female-only institutions. Still, Ange remains resilient and resolute in a sea of extreme pessimism. Can’t complain with that. FUKUDA POWER HOUR GET.
Part two tomorrow or later in the week, as I’m still catching up on everything.