Thoughts on the Current Winter Anime Season 2015

Doing a weekly impression regarding the current airing anime’s aren’t exactly something that I wanted to do when I started this blog. I’m not really the type person who tend to analyze something as I watched. Its not something I’m quite used to do. Aside from that, I found it difficult at times to articulate what’s working for me and what’s not beyond the surface level (writing, direction, aesthetic etc.) or spotting themes a series are going for, given there are one. Which is why I mostly write about specific topic that I found interesting. Plus I often fell behind on the latest episodes.

Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to try every now and then. Keep in mind that I won’t be doing this weekly, but I’ll go over some general thoughts about what interest me about the anime, what doesn’t and what’s my expectation on it. Do forgive me for my lack of taste due to the fact there’s little current airing anime I’m watching this season.

Anyway, here are my thoughts 🙂

Absolute Duo

Having not learned my lesson with Bladedance, I decided to take on Absolute Duo, another Action Harem Ecchi LN adaptation entry set in magical highschool (one of three this season might I add). Being aware about the genre and what the content will be, I adjusted my expectation accordingly (i.e. low).

Annnnd those expectation was quite met and I do to some degree enjoy it.

Well the writing itself aren’t exactly good. Thor and Imari’s only bonding moment, before he beat her in a duel, being just spouting exposition to one and another (an exposition about things they should have known already). The characters are pretty tropey and not much beyond that so far. There’s the gothic student president, the bunny teacher, the stoic clueless girl and so on. The action are also not particularly engaging. And finally, there’s also the troubling white-knight subtext with Thor promising Julie, the silver haired stoic girl that I mentioned, to always protect her and taking care of her. (And Julie think Thor like a father to her for a bonus)

But there are some actual character work with the cast, especially with Thor and Julie, several of the humor is actually works well with me, the ecchi fanservice aren’t too intrusive (though the cameramen really likes Miyabi’s bust) and there are some potential there’s going to be a nice fight animation that was presented in the OP. So I’m keeping this until I lost interest with it.

Also, I have no idea what are they going to do with the bunny professor.

Aldnoah.Zero Second Season

While A.Z. in the end not becoming show I hoped it to be (a meaningful ambitious war drama), after adjusting my expectation, surprisingly I quite enjoy watching it now. Not because of “so bad its good” kind of way, but I just genuinely entertain by the event unfold.

Yeah the characters are not well written, the writer apparently likes to abuse Slaine, and several of the unfolded moment (twist, plot development etc.) are pretty contrived and just there to hook/engage the audience, though despite that I’m still entertain by the series. The mecha fight, while not as clever as in the earlier part, are still quite fun to watch. And I actually quite curious on where are they going with the story now with Slaine officially becomes a cunt (because he’s adopted by Saazbaum apparently).

So yeah, bring me more A.Z. 😀

Death Parade

I started watching Death Parade right after finishing Death Billiard, which does lead to some odd result. I hit deja vu when Decim started reiterating the rules of Quindecim once more during the first few minutes. Comparison to the original short was also quite inevitable.

Nevertheless, the premier offer nothing less than a great execution. From the great production, direction and atmosphere, the start of the episode grab me from start to finish. From the way the couple distrust to one and another grew further as their not so perfect life unfolded as they’re playing the game, we explore some of the bad aspect of humanity. Our tendency to be suspicious and wary for one and another.

As I hit episode three however, Death Parade offer yet another new thing on the table. As we watch a love story about a girl and a boy she likes throughout childhood and decided to go to harsh measure in order to catch his attention. Instead of the same cynical, dark of the first episode, this one is actually quite sweet and light in terms of atmosphere. It’s clear that Death Parade have something more up its sleeve and I’m curious where are they going with this 🙂

Also that OP.

Parasyte The Maxim

In the earlier episodes of Parasyte on fall season, the series really grab my attention. Not only it worked as an action thriller, there’s definitely some interesting theme to be had in the series about human and animal. And the way Migi invade Shinichi’s right arm, makes it a good horror centered around the fear of growing up/becoming an adolescence. The fear of change and you don’t know what.

However, the series do falter ever since the winter season. The plot move slowly, the theme was repetitive restated again and again, and Shinichi and Migi hasn’t develop much after that with the former never goes beyond “Shinichi stopped being human”. Nonetheless, the series are still entertaining to watch. I’m just going to hope it doesn’t end too badly.

Log Horizon Second Season

Log Horizon started off the season with a pretty sweet fun adventure side story centered around Kanami, the leader of the now disbanded Debauchery Tea Party, traveling with her companion to Japan from the Chinese server. Aside of Erius Hackblade (sweet name), Kanami and her group are also well establish and articulated character-wise.There’s Leonardo, an assassin from America who is not in any way related to that one turtle from TMNT, Coppelia, a maid cleric who’s turned out to be a Chinese gold-farming-bot, and finally Kanami herself, who’s personality are somewhat a cross between Naotsugu and Marielle. The episode is quite fun with some nice animation and fight choreography.

After that, the series went back on to check in with Minori gang again, now handled with a quest to get an ingredient to create magic bag. Character work has never been the most engaging aspect of the series, but I still enjoy seeing the kids again nonetheless. Hopefully we also get to see nice group fight and dynamic like from the previous season.

Shirobako

Drama Slice of Life are usually outside my usual genre preferences, but since I’ve been hearing some praise about the series, I decided to watch Shirobako in the end. And boy I’m glad I’ve done that, because despite the series initially appears to be a somewhat cute girls doing cute things set in anime industry, it turned out to be a quite engaging real life drama not only about working in an anime industry, but also the struggle of real life work and job in general. The most compelling aspect of the series for me is from the way it engage the audience by showing the conflict of everyday work in anime studio (scheduling, retake/redo, co-worker cahoots etc.). Aside from that, the characters are actually quite loveable (Ema is my favorite). The conflict centered around the main girls themselves however, aren’t very engaging to me. Aside from Aoi and Ema, the struggle of the other girls aren’t too interesting and not reflective of the character themselves (Shizuka’s struggle of getting a job, Misa’s difficulty on choosing between safe work and artistically more fulfilling work).

Now with the second cour begin, new co-workers begin to join in and everyone’s getting a new role as Musani started another project of adapting popular manga Third Aerial Girls Squad.

Lets see what happens next.

Yatterman Night

Watching Yatterman Night somewhat reminded me of World Conquest Zvezda Plot and GatchaCrowds. The latter being a reboot of a series done by Tatsunoko Production and spin the premise of their own original series, and the former being series centered around Team Rocket style “bad guy”. And I have to say I quite like it. The heartwarming yet melancholic premiere hit quite close to my heart. Aside from the good character work, there’s also a potential theme on how the burden and sin of the previous generation passed on to the next with Leopard and her family being punished for the crime of their ancestor, the Doronbo gang from the original Yatterman series. I also liked the morality twist with Leopard and her gang view the Yatterman as the bad guy because of their refusal to save Leopard’s mother which makes an interesting exploration on heroism. So with that, I’m quite hopeful the series will be a somewhat more dramatic Zvezda.

Leopard is also really cute.

Author Note:

– I know its somewhat hypocritical for me to be, for the lack of better word, “weirded out” by the white knightism subtext prevalent between Thor and Julie in Absolute Duo considering Date a Live, that one harem series I actually like, have that subtext too somewhat. But the thing about Date a Live is that the spirits/girls are being hunted down and are target for kill by the AST, so in a way they do need help.

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