Thoughts on Summer Anime 2015

Aaahh summer. Clear blue sky, warmth sunlight, relax atmosphere, all of the criteria for an ideal weather to shut yourself in a room so you can enjoy some japanese cartoon.

Although, Indonesia is a tropical country, so I have no idea what summer actually feels like. But it is nice to imagine summer to be that way. We have dry season in here for what its worth though.

Anyway, with new season comes along new line up of anime for us to enjoy! Its pretty interesting line up, with variety of genre and interesting premises in the bag. Whether it’s romcom, comedy or action, while only two or three might be noteworthy to some, there’s at least something for everyone to enjoy, and here I am once again trying to share my two cents of a thought on several shows that I’ve sampled that might worth a damn. 😉

Its a bit cheating since I didn’t wrote any for the spring 2015, but I was avoiding the season back then, due to various circumstances, which led me to not finishing any of the show I’ve planned to finish (and I probably won’t finish much shows this season either). So before I begin, here’s some short impression on the shows I’ve watched on spring:

The one I actually managed to finished

Oregairu Zoku: This youth romantic comedy continues to be great as expected. Slight confusing ending. Requires more reading between the line in-depth look compare to its predecessor than my brain could actually handle. >__<

Blood Blockade Battlefront (okay this one isn’t actually finished yet, but still): Nice direction and visual design. As for everything else, eh……its a pass.

The one I haven’t

Danmachi: Comfort fantasy show. Lazy, but slightly more competent writing than I thought.

Sidonia S2: Literally only watching this just so I can see my NagatexTsumugi ship. Pretty weird sci-fi-action-harem-romcom……thing.

Ore Monogatari!: Dawwwwww.

Punchline: Whaaaaaaaaaaa.

Hibike! Euphonium: Wasn’t for me. It looked nice for what its worth.

Also, special mention to JoJo Bizarre Adventure, for being the the one series where I actually didn’t keep up at all, but its existence infuriate me for irrational reason (please refer to my defining shonen part ii post)

Okay, lets move on to the those summer shows now, shall we?

Castle Town Dandelion

Dandelion’s premise smells like its going to be my pet show of the season. I mean, a slice-of-life comedy centering around the live of nine siblings of a royal family? Heck yeah, there’s not much like that in anime, sing me up for it!

In my heart, I want the show to succeed, but unfortunately the premier really leave a lot to be desired. Granted, the variables that I wanted are still in here, the cast have solid personality, albeit a little archetype-y, and they have their own dynamic with each other, all told through their interaction and dialogue with one another. But, many of the humor often fell flat because of poor timing, both the aesthetic and the direction are bland, and the superpower part feels pretty tacked on.

Episode 2 however, does fare a bit better. Granted, the complaints I had didn’t exactly go away (though the part where Satou got sprayed by milk had me rolling), but the episode at least gave us more insight on the personality of two of our siblings, Kanade and Shu. Personally, Shu’s part of the episode is the more interesting one, since he’s revealed to be actually responsible, caring and cares what others think of him, despite his laid back, nonchalant attitude depicted in the earlier episode (also, there’s a love confession in it). Hopefully, this will be a good sign for the future episodes.

Charlotte

I’ll confess now that Charlotte is the first Jun Maeda’s show that I’ve started properly watching. I said “proper” because I actually have watched some scattered episodes of Little Buster back when it aired on my TV, but decided it was not for me. Besides that, I’m well aware about his writing staples, based on several peoples whose opinion I respect.

So, what do I think about this show particular? Its…..kind of enjoyable.

The first episode grabs me with our main protagonist’s, Yu, villainous shenanigans executed with enough campiness (Yu literally laugh like maniac in one scene) which resulted in a hilarious premier. The intro of the new characters are quite solid, with many gag that subtly informed us about their character. While I had some complaint about the show’s attempt at humanizing Yu through the interaction with her sister, which come across like there’s two versions of him (Yu at school and Yu at home), but coupled with nice direction and a gorgeous artstyle, Charlotte seems to have a lot of potential going for it.

Buuutt, as we hit the following episodes, the series does run into some snag. Granted, the comedy still works for me (though the slapstick is starting to wear off) and the episodic cases themselves are entertaining and well handled, but the emotional beats centering around our characters are really fell flat. Every time we run into one, the series doesn’t do much in establishing their personality and making us care for them first before dropping us with tragic backstory. Yu also got reduced to a sidekick role in these cases with Nao taking the lead (though she does done good job on it with her own charisma), which is a shame since what grabs me in the first episode is also Yu’s charm and arrogance. But nonetheless, I’ll…..try to keep watching, if only for the fact I wanted to know who’s Charlotte.

Also, while don’t consider Yu’s sister to be as annoying it is to some, she’s certainly loud…..

Charlotte 1

Classroom Crisis

Amongst all of the show on this season that I’ve sampled, Classroom Crisis is probably the most difficult for me to write about. And that’s because its one show that I had hard time figuring out why I’m not enjoying it much.

The art and direction are fine. The characters are quite solid  (though they haven’t been fleshed out much), the world-building aren’t heavy and many of them are laid out naturally. Well, the politics behind the Kirishima Corp. are still confusing and vague, but apart from that, it all seems fine. And yet the first two episodes all feels….so un-engaging and soulless (granted, there’s one or two moment does come to live, the space rescue and the finale in episode 2). The writings are fine, but each line from each character just felt like a brief exposition.

Fortunately, episode 3 ramps up my interest. With the budget being cut and the facility taken by our newly arrived accountant, there’s growing tension and stakes among our heroes on whether or not they can still reach their dream in their condition. Plus, it does pose interesting thematic thread about the value of creativity in a corporate-driven work environment. I’ll probably won’t be finishing this, but yeah, good sign!

Gatchaman Crowds Insight

I’ve watched the first season of Crowds just a few months ago and I do see what’s the praise is all about. Its a cool modern superhero story in the context of social-media-driven world with many relevant ideas and themes regarding gamification, the nature of leadership, and heroism itself. Unfortunately, like several thematically dense show that  I’ve watched in recent memory, it fails me in terms of actually being engaging and enjoyable to watch (even to this day, I’m still a casual viewer >__<), so watching this is more of obligatory.

Well, the good news and bad news is Crowds are pretty much the same as its predecessor in terms of world-view. This time around however, more abundant idea! Vape’s existence and goal, Tsubasa’s red ranger-esque personality, Gel’s power of thought materialization, lots of stuff. I do surprise to find myself enjoying the show this around, so…hopefully it’ll keep up? 

God Eater

Among my online acquaintances, I’m probably in the minority who actually interested in the series, and solely due to the fact I’ve played God Eater before. I’ve said a bit of my overall impression before, but I’ll touched on some additional things here. The artstyle, while it takes a while to get used to, does work for the overall atmosphere of the show. The direction are fine, though the freeze frame is kind of annoyance, and I’m pretty surprised of the portrayal of Lenka. He’s not much of a character now, but his tendency to put others before him does intrigue me, so at least its a bit better than bland. There’s also a potential thematic thread about how the evolution of aragami itself (that is, by devouring every life form on the planet) mirrors our utilitarian mindset (kill one, save many and all that).

Unfortunately, the writing ranges from boilerplate to downright torturous, it often fail on conveying danger and tension on each set-pieces (though the action on episode 3 are quite cool), and…..I don’t quite know how to phrase it, but the overall pacing of each episode seems…awkward and slow. I don’t mean it in terms of plot progression, but the momentum of both the plot beats and action beats felt kinda off. I don’t have much expectation out of this series now, but I hope at least it’ll end well (which is weird since I don’t like the game all that much).

God Eater 3

Prison School

There’s still some lingering inner guilt inside of me for ever sampling this show. I’m well aware of the source material rather infamous reputation, but if it wasn’t for the fact that it had the name Tsutomu Mizushima slap on it (who directed the excellent Shirobako by the way, go watched it if you haven’t), I wouldn’t even so much touched this show with a ten foot pole. And after watching the first episode, the guilt becomes even more larger since the show had me laughing quite a bit during the entire runtime with its rapid fire gag, snappy comedic timing, wild direction and hilarious exaggerated face (courtesy of Mizushima).

However, the sex humor ended up leaving me uncomfortable and cringing, the bathroom scene is especially the worse. Which confirm that how well executed it was, sex comedy is still won’t do for me, so I won’t follow this series further. My curiosity is now sated though, at the very least.

Rokka no Yusha

Fantasy light novel adaptation tend to fare better for me, but Studio Passione’s previous entry, Rail Wars, left bitter taste in my mouth. So, with that in mind, how did Yusha fare?

Well, the setting are certainly unique, with its mayan-esque fantasy lanscape, and the characters are likeable (though I still didn’t get Flammie’s deal) and the actions are decent, though I didn’t like the one in the first episode. Sure, the direction is dynamic and the animation is fluid, but the camera lean so close to our characters, it wasn’t clear what exactly are their actions are. The premise does hold some intrigue and mystery, though I’m not sure about it when it comes to thematic. The dialogue are fine, but my eyes rolled every time the characters started unnaturally spouting details of the world.

Will it be enough for Passione to be redeemed? We’ll see….

Rokka 2

Ushio and Tora

I think Ushio and Tora appeals can be best summarized by its 90’s as heck opening. Its loud, energetic, and pretty unabashed on what it is, I.e. a hot blooded shonen battle.

But man, as someone who has biases for shonen in general, I’d be lying if I say that this not my kind of thing. Of course, it took more than just having the genre staples for me to actually like it, but so far the series has been finding its hook in the dynamic between Ushio and Tora, which is the two of them being a complete dick to one another. The slapstick between the two never fail to amuse me. Apart from that, Ushio himself seems more confident and smarter than his ilk, and the entire production seems solid (though the aesthetic and character design seems pretty….dated). Although, I really hope we can get to the main plot soon, since the episodic cases itself so far are rather lackluster, or at least, the series will shed some nuance in the duo dynamics, but I have quite hope for the series!

So, that’s my impression of the season. What do you guys think about this season yourselves? What would you recommend me watching?

Side Notes:

– I haven’t actually watched Monster Musume, but I did read some chapters of the source material. Double you tea ef is my best summarization. Just like Prison School, I didn’t continue further since the Ecchi are just painful. Though the fact that the MC never called by his name is a pretty interesting meta joke, since most harem MC are so bland, they might as well didn’t have any name.

– Charlotte episode 3 does bother me with the fact that Misa seems to be the only getting characterization, I mean I assume this episode was supposed to be centered around both Misa and Yusa, and their relationship.

– A quick search on Dandelion’s series composer, Reiko Yoshida, revealed that she actually have quite a resume behind her. Including shows such as K-ON, Girls und Panzer, School Rumble, Non Non Biyori, annnddddd Aria.

Advertisements

4 comments

  1. JekoJeko · August 2, 2015

    Yeah, Classroom Crisis’s third episode should have been its first – it feels like the plot’s actually begun now and everything else was just set-up.

    Charlotte’s lulling a little for me too, though I really liked Tomori’s backstory (still undecided on how I feel about Yusarin,, as you said nothing draws us to Yusa and Misa’s relationship much yet). I don’t think the show is supposed to be turning on any feels so far; it’s more just building up material for it to do so later, using emotional moments to help us understand what drives our characters and the struggles they face. That being said, some of the comedy and formulaic features (Ayumi’s super-sweet cooking) are starting to wear, even if they are supposed to create the effect of normality that will be shattered later. All I think Maeda needs to do is keep giving us more interesting stuff about our cast.

    Like

  2. Namhur · August 2, 2015

    I’m not sure I agree. I mean, yes, episode 1 and 2 are just a set up, but its an important one for us to get to know and to be familiar with both the characters and the world they live in, which allows for maximum effectiveness when the actual conflict happens.

    I’m fine with Charlotte currently building up now, but the problem I have is how the series go around in constructing these episodic cases. It seems that the series are too busy on laying out set-up and finishing it, that it forgot to characterize the subject of the cases themselves. Often resorting to cheap shortcut of suddenly dropping their emotional backstory in the end of the episode. Plus the fact that Yu’s pretty much took a backseat most of the time, with Tomori’s shining in the lead, which squanders his charisma portrayed in the first episode. And yeah, Maeda’s really need to shed some nuance on our main cast. When he does shatter the normality of our main characters, he kinda need to make us actually /care/ for said normality first.

    Also hey, I used “irrationally” instead of “unrationally” this time around. 😉

    Like

  3. librarian25 · August 6, 2015

    The majority of your pictures are characters that are shriveled up, was that intentional?

    Like

    • Namhur · August 6, 2015

      Yep!

      When I was still working on the post, halfway through I notice many of the pics are shriveled faces, and so I thought, why not go all the way? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s