Fall 2014 Anime – Final Review

Fall has proven to be the biggest season of the year for anime, and this year has definitely kept up that prestige and ridiculous amount of quality. Several anime returned to do bigger and better things while new anime defied expectations across the board. Who would have known that an anime based on a card game would be so entertaining with Shingeki no Bahamut? How many doubters of Sword Art Online were forced to eat their own words as we were treated to the most emotional story in the series so far? Just HOW GOOD can Ufotable’s animations get with their remake of Fate/Stay Night?! Finally, this season proved that it doesn’t matter how old and obscure a source material is when it comes to anime. Mushishi and Parasyte have proven that it can turn old into new and hang with the flashiest of anime out there.

Now that this season is at an end, it’s time to reflect on what anime truly offered something this time around. I watched more anime this season than any before, and though I dropped a few of them, I came away completely impressed. Fortunately several of the better anime are continuing their run into next season as well! I won’t be mentioning the anime I dropped in this post because, frankly, I have a lot of better anime to talk about, and more blogs to write to celebrate the end of the year. So let’s start with what barely scraped by and end with the cream of the crop of Fall 2014!

 

Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter – 6/10

The scenery is so stunning, but the story is a downright bore.

This was Studio Ghibli’s first anime in TV format. This could have been a new peak of the master animation studio’s repertoire…but it wasn’t. At first, I thought the anime was going to be terrific. The controversial art style that combined computer graphics and traditional animation (seen before in the video game Ni No Kuni) didn’t phase me at all. I actually really liked it, and the fairy tale storytelling format was rich and effective. I was ready to see what was going to happen next. I was ready to see the Robber’s Daughter’s epic adventure or uplifting journey.

Behold…the biggest conflict in the anime…a bunch of geezers yelling at each other.

Then…three months had passed and this anime still hadn’t done anything, and it dawned on me that this anime, with it’s perfectly suitable setting, was telling a story that was almost barely worth hearing. Stretching the anime out across this many episodes was definitely a mistake, and this anime isn’t even done yet. I enjoyed it enough for the ghibli art but in the end, that was the only reason I was enjoying it. The characters weren’t bad, but they is literally no development for any of them. There’s hardly any development at all. There are anime that can handle that as long as each individual episode can tell their own story, but that’s not really the case here either.

I really think the CG was used to great effect. It didn’t seem unsuitable at all.

This is a great anime for children because it has everything great that doesn’t require much intellect or attention to detail, but for those looking for the same level of prestige as the great and mighty Ghibli movies, it isn’t here. If you’re looking for something to just throw on to look pretty on your TV while kids are in the room, then this is perfect. I won’t be continuing this anime into the next season, unfortunately.

 

Lord Marksman and Vanadis – 7/10

The battles got fairly epic…but it all still felt underwhelming.

This anime started with a bit of promise. It got straight into the war-based fantasy action and showed off the main characters slick archery skills. I was pretty into it for a while, but then it started doing more things I didn’t like while the initial charm started giving way to fan service. I lost my interest to continue once the wars that were being waged in this anime seemed to be nothing but cannon fodder for a bunch of slightly immature war maidens battling over their stubborn ideals. The wars started having no impact, which definitely dulled the sharp edge this anime started with.

The war maidens were fun characters, but it always ended up with perverted dialogue.

It didn’t help that the wars had a lot of scenes that involved rudimentary sketches of chess-like pieces on maps to illustrate how the battles were progressing, but the anime still had some things that made it enjoyable. The main character Tigre was a breath of fresh air, and usually commanded a bit of attention whenever he was on the screen. His archery was the highlight of the show, but it wasn’t anything that stood out spectacularly.

Now isn’t that a sexy schmo. His harem pierces as much as his arrows.

The other big thing about this anime is the main character’s harem that seemed to involve all of the war maidens. These maidens ranged from great to absolutely annoying characters, so in the end, their character development didn’t really win me over. It’s all just a cut above mediocre, including the music, writing, and animation. If you find the main character sexy, and you have a penchant for war, then this anime should appeal to you enough to enjoy it.

 

Yona of the Dawn – 7/10

This anime can laugh at itself, and that has saved it countless times.

Yona of the Dawn was one of the anime I was looking forward to most this season. It had the authentic feudal Japan setting and a focus on adventure and drama according to the synopsis and trailer.  It only took the first episode to realize that this anime was going to be a bumpy ride. The main character, Princess Yona was an irritating character that was a glaring distraction to everything that the anime was doing right. Luckily, the whole point of this anime is to see Yona transform from the pampered princess she is, to the hardened warrior that she is foreshadowed to become. Unfortunately we just had to deal with multiple episodes of horrible cliches to get to the decent stuff.

Truly the side characters really have the most emotional impact of this anime.

So what does this anime do wrong? Quite clearly, it’s the romance. It’s the most comparable thing to a soap opera of the whole anime. It’s hard to have any romantic sympathy for the main character when her naive persona is just so unlikable. Right now the anime is closing in on the bad-ass princess we’ve been waiting for, but we’re being introduced to new characters along the way. Let’s talk a minute about these characters, because they have been this anime’s saving grace so far. So far we have been introduced to a few companions who journey with Yona through the wilderness of this world. These quirky friends all get their own episode or two to explain their motives and showcase their interesting back stories. So far, most of these flashbacks have been the best part of the anime giving us a very well-rounded and constantly increasing cast. Yona is supposed to seek four dragon warriors and so far we’ve come across two of them, the latest of which easily has the best dedicated episode of the series.

My personal favorite character, coming from a life of severe poverty.

While the action and fantasy aspect aren’t anything dazzling or groundbreaking, they don’t slow the anime down in any way. If I had to attribute this anime’s appeal to anything else besides the characters, it’s the comic relief. As more characters are introduced, the sarcastic insults and comedic bits start to happen more often, and they feel completely natural. I’m now excited to start each episode just because I’m growing more invested in this group of travelers.

 

When Supernatural Battle Became Commonplace – 7.5/10

The powers ranged from THIS, to control of the elements, and time manipulation, but that’s not what it’s about…

This anime was NOT about supernatural battles. This comedy definitely doesn’t go the way you’d initially think, but you know what? I still liked it. While the anime didn’t showcase cool face-offs between all the students who magically obtain superpowers, it does do a great job of telling perfectly natural stories as a result of this incident. The esper girl doesn’t fight a villain with her powers, instead she deals with trying to keep her old friends while she moves on to new things in life. One girl struggles with her own identity as a writer and comes to the main character for help. At the center of it all is Andou.

…It’s about this guy saying stuff like this as girls fall for him. It’s done quite well, actually.

This is harem done well. Andou is afflicted with chuunibyou which causes him to exaggerate every mannerism he has to seem like an epic superhero. He is a quirky character, and seems completely foolish, but there’s something that attracts all the other girls in his club that also gained powers. You see these reasons as the anime jumps from girl to girl and how Andou miraculously solves all their problems by just being him. Andou has a good heart, and he has a strong mindset. Underneath all the wackiness is a type of guy many girls would like.

The feels are never expected, but they are done magnificently.

This portrayal is the best thing about this anime. Out of nowhere, this anime will deliver scenes with poignancy and intelligence. Unfortunately, these moments are short lived and don’t seem to have much impact once the next episode rolls on. It definitely pulled off the harem aspect and has a cool range of powers to choose from. The comedic bits about Andou’s Dark and Dark were another highlight of this anime, but in the end, it didn’t do anything profound, and the climax actually fell short on an emotional level compared to the earlier episodes which made this anime feel more forgettable.

 

Chaika: Coffin Princess – Avenging Battle – 8/10

The villain, laying out his ideals on a silver platter.

Chaika was the perfect example of an anime that does everything well, but nothing terrific. A twisting fantasy story with action that was great without trying to show it off, this anime had a great first season so I was expecting the same with this season. Unsurprisingly, this anime chugged along at it’s own pace, slowly introducing a few more characters and jumping between multiple groups of heroes which kept my attention perfectly satiated.

Before we even knew that the people of this world believed in outer space, he activates all this crap.

The biggest difference between the first season and this one was the finale, in which this anime became very unlike the typical Chaika routine, and that’s because this anime went just a bit NUTS. A grueling scene in which one Chaika performed what could be considered the weirdest birthing scene in anime. It didn’t take long for this tame anime’s villain to turn into a crazy tyrannical idealist activating satellites in space and starting a world war in the breadth of seconds.

So many Chaikas! I can’t get enough!

In the end, Chaika just fell short of being something incredible, but didn’t disappoint in any way really. It’s a constant rate of entertainment from beginning to end, and I would be very happy if more anime were at least up to this standard. I can’t really recommend it over plenty of other fantasy adventures out there though, so only if you’re really short on stuff to watch, should you give this one a go.

 

Log Horizon 2 – 8/10

The epitome of season 2 so far…the impossible raid.

The second season of Log Horizon was one of the most anticipated anime of this season thanks to it’s great first season that convinced me that there are more ways than one to create a great anime about being stuck in a virtual reality game. Unfortunately, this season didn’t seem to have the same “spark” that the first season had. Granted we’re only halfway through, so I have faith that there’s still some solid stuff in store.

This arc was all about learning, and grasping the economic factors of this virtual world. That’s all gold flowing downward, by the way.

Log Horizon’s art has always been a bit of a weakness, and despite the new studio, it still seems to have rather weird character designs in general. Especially when it’s competition, Sword Art Online, is pulling out all the stops this season. What the strength of this anime has always been is it’s writing and world building. In season one, the scope and history of the entire world were put into perspective with incredible revelations, but there wasn’t a huge moment like that in this season so far. There was also a lot more episodes that felt almost as pointless as “filler” episodes, and those are getting old fast, but this season did have something cool that the first season didn’t.

He hath spoken…so listen up.

I’m talking about the raid. This raid was an epic adventure arc full of character moments, epic speeches, (one of which lasted pretty much an entire episode) and satisfyingly intelligent tactics. Log Horizon is smart, and at times, self-indulgent, but it’s moments like the raid battle where you’re just incredibly thankful that they actually think these fights through instead of worrying about how to make them “look” cool. As long as the second half of this season gives us a world-changing revelation on par with first season’s then this anime has nothing to worry about, but as of now, it’s definitely dropped a little bit in my rankings.

 

Nanatsu no Taizai – 8/10

The main character in his extremely rare to see “wrath” form. Does every sin have a form like this?

This anime was easily one of the most refreshing premieres back when this season kicked off, but since then, this anime hasn’t quite lived up to my expectations. The simple notion of traveling the world to meet these legendary “seven sins” has me hooked like a sucker, but that means that a lot is riding on how these Sins are actually developed as characters. Granted, the art is incredibly vivid and refreshing, yet not quite up to the industry leaders. The music and writing are both average for me, but they definitely don’t hinder the story in anyway.

The Sins’ back stories have been hit or miss, but Ban’s has been the best by far.

So out of the four sins we met so far, I like two of them, and find annoyances with the other two. However, the biggest offender of this anime is the main character, who is not a deadly sin, nor is she even a competent adventurer. She’s the “audience” similar to Lucy in Fairy Tail, except much worse, in my opinion. She simply becomes a target of a constant barrage of fan service. Her character has been the most one-dimensional so far, and having her be the eyes that I view this world from definitely limits my enjoyment a bit.

King has been my favorite to watch fight so far. Diane can just go away. >.>

This is a shounen as well, so we have to talk about the action and powers, of course. If you compare this anime to the entire history of Shounen, then there’s not much this anime does to stand out in this respect, but if you just compare quality, it’s there. It’s got what most shounen need, which is a clever hook, the ability to deliver on fan’s thirst for adventure and a guaranteed interest in the characters introduces, but it doesn’t have what makes it a shounen that stands amongst the greatest. It also has the pig mascot which started off cute, and now I’m wondering what the heck it’s doing there now.

 

Amagi Brilliant Park – 8/10

Meet…every single character. And you will see all of them in this anime.

This anime started off fantastic. I was easily one of my favorites of the season off of the premise alone, and it delivered two back to back episodes that had me completely enraptured with this emotional and funny tale of saving a theme park. By the end, it didn’t quite hold. It became apparent that this was a comedy first, and an emotional journey second because the emotional scenes were only in the premiere and finale.

Kanie (Kanye West) is such a great atypical hero. Now I’mma let you finish.

That being said, it’s not like the anime became BAD, by any means. It just took an unstructured path where each episode was more like a comedic misadventure instead of a progressive valiant struggle to save the park. The stakes got lower instead of higher, and that works as entertainment, but it’s not exactly what I wanted after expecting something a bit more meaningful. Luckily, this anime IS very funny. If this was atrocious comedy, I’d be frustrated, but I’m not. I still think this was a great anime, and there’s nothing quite like it. It’s portrayal of the theme park was amazing. And the fake-out final episode with the incredibly bizarre video. I felt like I was trolled, and I really liked it.

Need I mention that Kyoto Animation are pretty damn good at what they do?

A lot of this comes from the lavish and colorful animation from the big boys at Kyoto. This was easily one of the best looking anime of the season. The characters were all very entertaining and gave us a huge variety in comedy. Kanie, the main character was a great example of an ego-centric asshole with a good heart. He plays the villain to get results, and that was nice to see compared to the hesitant heroes we usually get in anime. Thinking back, whatever became the use of his mind-reading power? He never really used it until the finale. Sento the tsundere was also a great character for me, though I did want a bit more from her out of the finale. The romance that was teased remained as a tease, which always bothers me.

 

Psycho Pass 2 – 8/10

Tsunemori gazing off in the distance, trying to comprehend all the plot twists.

Psycho Pass’ original season was a near perfect anime to me. It introduced a beautifully depicted sci-fi future with a great deal of thought put behind it, and was told with such poignancy and philosophy that I never wanted it to end. It did, however, and maybe that was for the best, because this season is NOT psycho pass. The change in writer’s became abundantly clear as the episodes progressed. Gone was the elegant prose spoken between the idealistic characters, and it was all replaced with plot twists. So many plot twists that I might as well have gotten car sick.

I do really like how there are multiple villains, and each of them aren’t REALLY that bad.

Psycho Pass season 2 puts the story before everything, and they tell it as extravagantly as they could. As long as it was unpredictable, it was greenlit for production. This was a mistake, in my opinion, because while the hints were all there, and the twists definitely made sense, despite how crazy they were, none of it led to anything. There was no revelation that served a purpose except to be clever and more dense. And then, they just piled on more plot twists on top of that.

Again, we end with the Sibyll system changing things in the world. This time, it just didn’t have as much impact.

From a writing standpoint, this still takes some skill, and I liked that this was still thought out and pieced together bit by bit, but if season 1 was poetry, then season 2 was an elaborate essay. They are both forms of writing, but now that both were presented to me in the same medium, with the same characters and setting, it’s obvious which one I prefer.

 

Your Lie in April – 8.5/10

The execution of every concert scene is incredible.

It’s rare for music anime to be this good. Your Lie In April seems like your typical melodramatic affair with music being over-exaggerated but it takes very little time to realize that this is truly evocative stuff. The visuals on display, paired with the superb soundtrack makes this an utter sensory delight. The main character’s tragic position is portrayed so effectively that it stand on par with some of the greatest anime out there.

The main character’s nightmarish past is definitely getting it’s point across.

But there’s still melodrama, and man does it stand out. There’s not much. This is a very raw and real story, but it’s pretty much guaranteed that in every episode, you’ll get some emotional consonance that just seems unwarranted. A character will cry for a reason just a little too cliche or pointless. It’s easy to forgive because it’s delivered so well, but if you examine it underneath the coat of paint, you realize the story is buckling under the pressure just a bit.

The melodrama can be tolerated because it’s so gorgeous and pretty music is always playing.

Since this is a music anime, we can’t ignore the quality of the music this anime gives us, and it’s views on music in general. Many anime try to be trendy with it’s music and say that just because it’s edgy, it’s instantly better, but Your Lie in April gives us both views on music. The classical dictators who think their preferred era of music is flawless clash with the youthful dreamers who want to see music warp and transform in interesting ways. This anime does a brilliant job of having a character’s personality weave in and out of their musical performance through dramatic narration and symbolic imagery, While sometimes it dawdles a bit too long, becoming heavy handed, overall, it’s all done quite perfectly.

 

Akame Ga Kill – 8.5/10

Chances are, your favorite character will end up in the inevitable dying-by-your-side pose.

A shounen where main characters die. Simple enough, yet extremely rare to see. This is the most readily apparent thing when trucking through this frenetic action anime. Akame Ga Kill is quality shounen, no doubt, but there are still a few things keeping it short of greatness. Before we get to that, let’s discuss the fact that we lost almost all of our main characters throughout the length of this anime. This is a big change in direction, and it should be commended, but this is only if the deaths are handled well. So were they? For the most part, yes. Nearly every death was given an appropriate send off. A few were tough to predict, and some of them were emotionally painful to watch. (This is a good thing for me.)

The pre-finale was okay. Epic stuff, but not quite what I was looking for…

Some deaths, however, were done so poorly that it could easily anguish fans watching the series. Some characters die with a good chunk of possibly good storytelling with them. Other’s die in ways that don’t really fit what their character’s identity was for. Death’s should be symbolic of something and sometimes, that extra touch just wasn’t there. When character weren’t dying, however, they were fighting, and as this is an action anime, it’s fight scenes definitely could scrap with the best of them. Especially the final fight in the series. As far as choreography, sound design, and animation goes, this is pure gold. If the character development led to a more emotional core to the fight, maybe I would have liked it as much as some of my favorite fights from Hunter X Hunter and Fullmetal Brotherhood.

…but the ACTUAL finale was so awesome. It was on a higher caliber than the rest of the anime.

There were a couple other things that made this anime standout. The music, while lacking in variety, was definitely distinctive compared to the rest of this season. I’d like to see this composer on many more anime projects. The character design was easily another highlight with every assassin being visually unique, and bad-ass in their own way. Akame herself, with a simple black and red color scheme, was somehow very appealing. By the time the finale rolled through, I knew this was an anime that had plenty of potential left. It wasn’t quite as intelligent as my favorite action series, sometimes having several dumb action moments, but it already has it’s own thing going with the character deaths and bloody fight scenes. I’d love to see another group of characters all fall victim to fate in another season.

 

Rage of Bahamut – 9/10

Favaro, the coolest protagonist of the season.

Rage of Bahamut remains the best surprise this season. I’ve said it before, but an anime based on a card game just shouldn’t work. All I can think of that led to this success is that the team behind this series LOVES the card game and it’s lore, because you can tell that there is thought and care in making sure this isn’t portrayed in typical corny fantasy style. I also have to say that this director has skill. This doesn’t even feel like an anime. This feels like a well-directed hollywood movie. Granted, I say Hollywood, so this is all popcorn fare stuff, but it’s the BEST popcorn fare stuff.

Okay, so there’s a Satan, Beelzebub, Azazel, and Lucifer, but they’re all different characters, and they ALL look cool.

Even with the slick focus on production and character interplay, the action isn’t dumb either. The fights never feel like shouting matches or “whoever loves their friends the most wins” like a lot of anime do. It’s petty tricks, combative intuition, and quick thinking at it’s finest. The main character is a dastardly darling who reminds the entire anime community of Jack Sparrow, and this has been a good thing for most, myself included. Every character has been a great addition to the cast, whether it’s their role in the story, or the sheer bad-assery of how they look.

But Amira is the COOLEST.

The fantasy depiction in this anime is one of best I’ve seen in any anime ever. I always wanted an anime that could give me dragons, demons, and other mythical beings, and this anime does it effortlessly. Not only are they acceptable, but they look freaking cool. This anime has GOT to inspire some cosplays somewhere. Every episode has also been a delight to summarize because the craziest things just happen. In one episode a ship full of zombies all piloted by a necromancer crashes into another ship full of merfolk who are controlled by a demon. Then a giant crab attacks both ships, in which a woman transforms into a demon warrior and kills the crab. Immediately after that a giant tentacle monster descends from the sky and kidnaps two of the main characters. Almost every episode is like that, and it’s freaking awesome.

 

Sword Art Online II – 9.5/10

Kirito is back to being a bad ass like always.

This season of sword art was definitely an eclectic mix of genres. The first half was the harrowing Gun Gale arc which gave us the most psychologically driven arc of the series so far. Sinon became one of my most beloved characters because of this arc, but most importantly, it proved to me that Sword Art Online can do more than just adventure and romance. It can do psycho-dramas too. The Gun Gale Arc made Kirito worse, which was my only qualm with it, but it added a huge boost in variety to the shows list growing list of arcs. I liked the Gun Gale Arc a bit less than the original arc, but I was very happy with it.

But now Asuna has also earned the title of bad-ass alongside Kirito.

The worst part of this season was the Excalibur arc that seemed to be an adventure for adventure’s sake story. With the high stakes situation of the previous main arcs, this arc felt like filler. It was enjoyable only in it’s artistic ventures that gave us a tone of dazzling magical battle eye candy. I thought this anime was going downhill after that, just like Alfheim ruined Sword Art Online 1.

The most emotional arc of the series. Keep doing things like this, Sword Art.

Then Asuna came to the forefront and changed everything. If Kirito was the star of season 1, then Asuna should absolutely be the same for season 2. The Mother’s Rosario Arc easily sits even, and arguably surpasses the original arc of Sword Art Online. It brought us back to the original setting, but told a completely new story that probably amounted to the most emotional journey of the whole series. If Gun Gale proved that Sword Art Online was more than a lucky lightning strike, Mother’s Rosario proved that lightning could strike twice in the same spot. Asuna now has as much of my respect, or even more so, than Kirito, which finally means that anime’s hottest couple now stand on equal ground.

 

Parasyte – 9.5/10

Chills. The intensity is palpable in this anime.

Parasyte is the smartest anime this season. I mean that in more ways than one, and I didn’t think the intelligence award would go from Psycho Pass to Parasyte, but it did. First off, this anime’s premise is genuinely thought out. The act of getting invaded and overtaken by sentient beings is executed perfectly and with a lot of care into the details of how characters react, and subsequently behave. This anime is also smart because every character in this anime is face with some sort of mental burden, and they try to overcome it. The parasites are the prime example because they are constantly trying to learn everything they can about humanity and adapt to live amongst them without endangering themselves.

The continued back-and-forths between Migi and Shinichi are the best.

The final reason this anime comes off as such a thoughtful piece of work is very specific. That is, the constant debates and observations between Migi and Shinichi, the main duo. They are two beings with completely separate views of life, and how to best go about preserving one’s survival. They share a body, which means they are constantly at opposition with each other on what they should be doing. Several of this anime’s themes are fully explored just off of the conversations between these two. It’s incredibly refreshing to have so many lines of dialogue that actually mean something in an anime.

This either means that Migi will eventually do something bad, or he’ll eat his own words and become good, I think.

So this anime is clearly one of the best original anime of the season, but it’s not over yet, and there are still some things that I hope this anime doesn’t eventually do. Shinichi’s downward spiral towards an inhuman soul is an effectively torturous predicament, but I wonder what his progression will be after that. As he becomes more ruthless, my interest in his character wanes every so slightly. He is constantly gaining more and more of my sympathy, but there is a trade off happening. I’m so confident that this story will only proceed in the right directions, but I figured I’d call out my small complaints here and now. Parasyte is terrific, and I feel like it’ll at least maintain this level of excellence, and dare I hope for it to get better? If it does, then we have a surefire masterpiece on our hands.

Fate/Stay Night – 9.5/10

Seriously, Ufotable, I’ll watch anything you animate.

Fate Zero is a 10/10 for me, and I’m already sure that I won’t like Fate/Stay Night quite as much as Fate/Zero. This doesn’t stop Fate/Stay Night from being one of the most gorgeously animated and exposition heavy anime series of all time. Fate’s premise is the battle royale of all battle royales. Seven mages commanding seven heroic spirits of the past to duel for the right to make a wish before the holy grail. Fate has a massive amount of lore that puts off some viewers because of how long it takes to lay down all the rules, but this happens to be a niche for me, so the more this anime spends building it’s world, the more I fall in love with it. Characters will discuss battle tactics and the anime makes sure you know mostly every character’s thoughts of each battle. I love it when Fate does this, but it can be off putting to others.

Caster is easily my favorite Servant, design wise. What a deadly butterfly.

So on top of this super serious and elaborate premise we have some of the finest production values in the industry. Animation is flawless, sound design and musical scoring are powerful and moving, and character designs are as cool as ever. There are usually two things I look for in anime. Serious storytelling and beautiful art. While Fate/Zero was a near perfect story and perfect art, Fate/Stay is a flawed story, but with beyond perfect art. I just didn’t think animation could get this good.

Shirou in his epic moment, to counter his several other moments of being an idiot at times.

The flawed story is where my biggest worry lies in finishing this anime when it concludes in Spring 2015. Unlike Fate/Zero which had a brilliant fistful of stories that were juggled and handled extremely well, Fate/Stay Night largely focuses on the main duo of Rin and Shirou. This decrease in scope didn’t really affect my opinion, but when it became clear that the tone of this anime, while still dark, isn’t near as agonizing as Fate/Zero, I didn’t feel as much sympathy for the characters. The midseason finale made this difference more apparent when Shirou and Rin treated this war as an additional activity in their daily lives. This didn’t feel nearly as realistic as Fate/Zero in which every character lived and breathed in the war and nothing else. This juggle of daily life and Grail War is making a split focus that makes the overall impact feel lessened. However, thanks to the fact that when the war is the main focus, it’s as riveting and gorgeous as nothing before, I remain completely invested in this brilliant action series.

 

Mushishi Zoku Shou – 10/10

A mind-boggling episode where the moon of one dimension was actually a hole to another dimension.

It’s over. My favorite anime of all time has ended. (Well technically they announced a final movie for summer 2015.) It was already a miracle that this anime returned after 7-8 years of hearing absolutely nothing of it’s return. Mushishi’s revival was easily my favorite thing of this year, and this season in particular featured the final episodes of this wonderful series of supernatural, mythical tales. Mushishi is storytelling at it’s finest. Every week, I would sit down and be completely absorbed into a new narrative. Every episode is emotional and symbolic in their own way, with some being very grim and others cheerfully uplifting.

A very simple shot, but incredibly striking. An episode where a mother and child literally hate each other, at least on the surface.

The second season of Mushishi brought more of the same, but in this case, the same is exactly what I wanted. However, this season felt even better. Whether it’s because the number of episodes I loved in this season numbered even higher than last season, or that the the animation was just more crisp since it was years ahead of the original, this season just felt like an even better Mushishi. I can go on for hours on what there is to love once I start breaking down each individual episode, but to sum them all up, Mushishi will take you on a magical journey with new characters, different phenomena, beautiful artwork, and atmospheric music and voice acting, complete with a beginning and end in every single episode. Now that there’s over 50 of these episodes, that’s over 50 profound adventures you could take, all by watching one anime.

I never thought a tree would actually be a character in Mushishi, but they made it happen.

All that’s left to adapt from the original manga is the final two-part chapter, and the heavens agreed that it should be the first ever Mushishi film. I’m so glad that this wonderful collection of stories is getting such a proper adaptation. I can’t wait for the movie, and until then I’ll be perfectly satisfied with what Mushishi has already given me, which is an anime that speaks more to me than any other.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now it’s time to for the Winter season to start!! The return of Kuroko’s Basketball, Durarara, and Tokyo Ghoul have me shaking with anticipation. I’ll be back with another blog that will run through my impressions of all the premieres, so see you then!!

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2 thoughts on “Fall 2014 Anime – Final Review

  1. Totally loved Stay/Night. Do you think I should bother watching the non ufotable Fate while waiting for the next season. I heard they weren’t as good.

    • A long time ago, my answer would have been Yes. Even if it’s inferior in more ways than one, it’s more of the fantastic universe. However, since ufotable has now started THEIR Fate/Stay Night, it makes the original almost pointless to watch at this point, only reason being is it goes a little bit further than the Ufotable version does. However, Ufotable PLANS to go as far and potentially adapt even more.
      Back when it was just Fate/Zero under Ufotable’s repertoire, I’d say watch the original Fate/Stay Night. Now, this is simply not the case. Stick with Ufotable all the way. 😀

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