Summer 2015 Anime – Midseason Impressions

I think it’s clear. Summer is the hardest season for me to stay caught up in. What with bountiful hours of work, my time to reflect on my hobbies is pretty much cut into just time to enjoy my hobbies. However, the time has come for me to finally say what I’ve been wanting to say for weeks now on this season’s anime since their premieres. Some have lived up to the initial expectations, others have left me dumbfounded, and one had such a dramatic turn of events that it had the anime community on it’s feet in discussion. There have been some drops, however, there have also been some additions so this list will look different from the premiere line up! I’m only following what I enjoy at this point! So with my anime nearly caught up, Final Fantasy XIV playing in the background, and nice cup of hot tea…let’s get right into it.

Snow White with the Red Hair

Synopsis: An alchemist woman with a rare red hair color moves away from her village when her king professes his want for her. She meets Zen, a strangely carefree member of Royalty who introduces her to a new life.

Snow White with the Red Hair is the type of anime that I wish was always on air, yet at the same time, doesn’t seem to be anything profound or instantly gratifying. This eschews qualities more common to classical anime, such as consistency, atmosphere, and the power of characters. It let’s it’s world simply exist while focusing more on pure character interactions and subtle development. This means you get an anime that is charming for a majority of the time, and before you know it, you realize that you are actually legitimately attached to it’s characters.

This is the same magic that Yona of the Dawn pulled a couple seasons ago, and they both have a red-haired strong female lead, for some odd reason. I almost thought this was a sequel, but it is definitely not. Comparing the two actually warrants some discussion. Snow White with the Red Hair is probably the more Slice of Life of the two, while Yona of the Dawn puts up a strong effort in it’s action/adventure set up.

So if the anime is about it’s characters, well, how are they? Like I said, this isn’t an anime that sells itself with immediacy. The characters all seem like shallow stereotypes at first, but every episode gives them the type of focus and screen time that I wish all anime would. Our main heroine is a motivated alchemist who is a breath of fresh air compared to most female characters. Prince Zen, our pampered prince, is a relaxed, go-with-the-flow kind of guy. As each episode rolls, you see them constantly expressing their viewpoints on all sorts of aspects of the world. Because of this, it feels much more like getting to know a real person.

Don’t let the “Snow White” in the English name fool you. This is not an anime version of Snow White. The story is different, for one. There is no forbidden apple, no seven dwarves, or wicked stepmother. The only concept that they share is the felling of classical adventure, and quaint romance akin to old Disney films. This is an anime about two main characters wanting to be together, and dealing with the opposition, both external and internal as they also both seek out their individual goals.

If I were to issue one complaint, or at least, the part that keeps this anime from being so stellar is that the pacing, or more like the events that transpire within each episode feel very inconsequential, and slow. It’s like, there’s already a modicum of happiness here in that both of the characters believe in themselves a lot, so it’s not like we’re waiting for something big to happen. Things are just happening, breathing, living, and it’s all very nice, cheerful, and well expressed.

On the aesthetic side, the art style is very classical and full of the high-fantasy design with castles, villages, forests, and mountains. The character designs are colorful, although the whole “red-hair” thing doesn’t seem that exotic when you just look at it. The music is merely immersive. It doesn’t disrupt, nor does it wow you. It’s decently produced, and I wouldn’t ask for more when there are other anime that seriously need it more. Which brings us to our next piece.

8/10


The Heroic Legend of Arslan

Synopsis: In this extended season, Arslan continues his travels, having established his group of loyal subjects. He now plans his return home to take the Kingdom he is nearly ready to lead.

Arslan Senki, as it’s called in Japan, has been a true delight for me. An anime that adheres to the noble, strict storytelling style of old war tales and political dramas. It’s a mirror to the west’s Game of Thrones, but something is keeping it from being a truly amazing anime. That is probably because it has distractingly bad art that just makes everything feel a bit more lifeless and uninspired than it truly is.

As far as telling the story goes, the pace is slow, but as I’ve said before, I’d rather we say the pace is traditional. I don’t feel like we’re wasting episodes or screen time here. This is simply a careful plot that is not trying to miss a beat. Whenever something of consequence happens, I understand every character’s reaction and viewpoints thanks to this great attention to detail.

Arslan’s setting is a more realistic interpretation of the middle east, and that is another thing I truly adore. The character designs are all eye-catching and the world feels very much like something I’d want to see in real life. Populating this world are several important characters who, in my opinion, represent their respected nations quite well. Sure some of them are kind of one-dimensional, but at least I can associate each kingdom with a personality.

The meat of it’s cast is in Arslan’s group of cronies. The logical, tactical Narsus with his constant barrage of words of wisdom and plot-twisting schemes remains the most important to me, but one can’t deny the suave, compliment-spewing Gieve. Almost every character in Arslan’s group feels like they could head their own separate anime, and that’s a true accomplishment. Arslan himself is leaving a little to be desired. One of the biggest events that this anime refers to is the inevitable rise of Arslan to being ready to handle a kingdom, and even though he has witnessed and learned things…he doesn’t seem to be really changing. It might affect how much I buy into the ending, but so far, it’s not too off course to correct in future episodes.

But as I mentioned, when it comes to the art quality, this anime does fall flat on it’s poorly animated face. CG soldiers, like the ones pictured above, make half of the war scenes incredibly awkward, and jarring, and poor lighting choices, also pictured above, where you can’t tell what’s going on, really do a lot to make this anime feel like it would be better to just read the manga, or the novel. The animation in the fight scenes, even, are barely noteworthy. A clip of their face with wind flying in the background, a flash of light, and a pose of them with their sword already swung and the enemy already dead. Very rarely do we get a fluid fight scene, and even when we do, lighting, animation quality, and CG really screw it up anyways. Arslan is the only anime airing this season that I wish was in the hands of a more competent studio.

8/10


Charlotte

Synopsis: A brash, young adult spends his life abusing his superpower, unaware that others are afflicted with different types of powers as well. Eventually, he’s stalked and forced to join a group who’s mission is to give these power-ridden people solace before the government gets a hold of them, thus beginning a new life.

i feel like I’m kind of just riding the wave when I say that Charlotte just pulled out it’s trump card to great effect…but it did. Like seriously, it’s the kind of episode we always want in many of our anime, and Charlotte did it. A weird, extraneously logical part of my brain says that one good episode won’t change the series, but I really am hoping this series remains this elevated.

Charlotte started off very strong, being one of my favorite straight out of the gate. It didn’t disappoint in the next couple episode, but it was losing it’s time to hit me with something to make me remember this anime. Then episode seven aired, and with it’s surprisingly grim mood, everyone realized that we should be taking this comedy quite seriously. The tonal change may be abrupt, and perhaps ungraceful to some, but looking at just that episode alone, it was brilliantly executed, and hauntingly portrayed, and the main character just went down as one of the best anti-heroes this season.

So yes, as for the comedy, because that’s what Charlotte primarily is, it is a bunch of mega-hits and some minor duds. I love the speedster so much. His gags rarely get old, but some of the other jokes are starting to overstay their welcome. Luckily that seventh episode shook the foundation so much that they could essentially restart the anime afterwards and tell all new jokes. I hope that is the case.

The characters are definitely the greatest strength right now, especially after our main character’s massive downward spiral. As a comedic act, they all have their quirks that I love. But looking deeper, I really like how Tomori is extremely assertive, and kind of a bad ass too. Underlying a few of them, are some more emotional scenes that echo this creator’s earlier works, like Angel Beats and Clannad. We have officially explored one avenue of despair and gotten very effective results with the main character, but what happens next. It seems like side character stories won’t have as much impact or emotional weight as his, making this anime feel like it won’t ever eclipse what it’s already accomplished.

We can only hope because obviously we can’t predict what Charlotte is going to do next. We can only trust that it’ll brighten us up with some good comedy, or warm our hearts with some tender drama. There are still a couple mysteries left unsolved, so it’s not like we ran out of plot. And just why the heck is this anime called Charlotte? That’s my biggest question.

9/10


Dragon Ball Super

Synopsis: Goku is back! (As well as his crazy ass Japanese voice actor.) After roughly two decades of seemingly having it’s final say, the official canon continues…and guess what. Super Saiyan 3 is no longer enough.

I’ve always tried to understand the power levels of fighters in Dragon Ball. As if there were some mathematically accurate theory that I could understand by the factors on the screen. ~

“Okay, so if Goku can flick this guy and cause and explosion, and this other guy can move goku a couple inches with a fully charged punch, then their power levels should roughly be—” No screw that. There’s no getting that right. Anyways, with that random tangent aside, let’s talk about what really matters.

So Dragon Ball is back. It’s been back for almost two months now. Is it a super-popular mega-hit yet? No. Dragon Ball is indeed back, but it’s not back to being the most popular thing on air. Namely because all we have our the Japanese voice overs, so it won’t ever be popular in America until it gets dubbed. It doesn’t seem to be having a massive presence in Japan, but perhaps Dragon Ball is something that will build instead of breaking the wall running like Attack on Titan. (I did something there.)

I was always of the mindset that the art is a vast improvement until one of my friends said that it looks worse. Perhaps the high-def resolution makes the lines seem more…like lines. I’m not sure, but I still like to think that this is very much a bigger and better Dragon Ball art style. This definitely isn’t one of the finer animated works this season, but it’s colorful, and the character designs speak strongly enough to stand on their own.

Comparing this to America’s Dragon Ball Z just shouldn’t happen yet. The villain has still yet to really fight, and Goku and Vegeta still haven’t gotten serious. This is all just preamble to what should be a fantastic battle arc. On top of that, you have the Japanese qualities like the voice acting and lack of Bruce Faulconers music from the American version. So this is the least intense Dragon Ball has been since, well, original Dragon Ball.

Having two months of episodes go by and still forgive it for being build up is something that can only be done by someone who’s already weathered Dragon Ball as a series. But normally taking this long to get things started would be unforgivable. As such, this clearly isn’t my favorite anime this season, but I’m not dropping it because I’m used to this pace, and the nostalgia alone is enough to keep me interested each episode.

6.5/10


Durarara X2

Synopsis: Zaniness continues to rain on a wide array of characters in Ikebukuro. A fictional urban locale in Japan that houses all manner of superhuman, supernatural, and super-weird people.

Durarara went on break last season, but now it’s back in full effect. The first thing I can easily say is that I am enjoying this season more than the last. I feel like some Durarara episodes can get pretty dense, and aimless, despite the good writing, and that kind of makes me lose focus and interest, but this season just has some really good character archetypes and pairings that keep me invested.

Chief among these is the newest ‘ship of mine: Shizuo and his Russian companion. The blonde femme fatale and the blonde superhuman. A match made in heaven. Her not-so-subtle spying methods and determination to overtake Shizuo in strength is both a display of adoration and conviction. The way Shizuo is rather oblivious to all of it only makes it cuter. Shizuo never really associated with any other character, save for the information manipulating Izaya, so it’s great to finally see one of the most popular characters find someone that suits him.

But of course the meatiest part of the story is in Ryuugamine’s ascendancy to criminal overlord. We have been used to him being meek, and good-natured, so seeing that personality start becoming ruthless has been one of the most dynamic, and exciting character changes. It has a lot of emotional undertones because the reason for his destructive habits is to simply make the city of Ikebukuro safe for his friends, all while an ominous friend seems to be playing a very evil trick.

The art for this season has been a true delight, featuring some of the best character animations this year. It helps that the character designs, particularly the eyes, are very distinctive. While I do tire of the city-setting after a while, it’s still amazingly realized and filled with a chaotic array of stories. Durarara consistently continues its storytelling style of multiple tales that jump all over the timeline and making connections happen. Characters are always in a place with purpose, but Durarara’s big draw is that you don’t find out these purposes in a traditional way. That makes this anime confusing, but ultimately more rewarding for its viewers.

8.5/10


Food Wars

Synopsis: Soma has managed to pass a few challenged and impress some intimidating people, but his father came and put him back in his place. He still has a lot to learn if he wants to surpass the father that always trailed ahead of him.

The anime I had qualms with only keeps getting better. Food Wars used to be an underdog for me. I thought that it had no chance of being a well-received anime. But, with every episode, Food Wars remained so dedicated to it’s subject matter, and so resolute on showing all aspects of the culinary universe, that it slowly became a must-watch every week just to see what they’d come up with next. Food is a universal commodity, and therefore this anime technically has small appeal to everyone. So, we get it Food Wars, just like your main character, you proved that you’re good. Now I want you to prove that you’re great.

But Food Wars is about making food exciting. At first they relied on sexual content for this excitement. Very bizarre, and overly graphic content. The biggest reason for Food Wars becoming more enjoyable and addicting was because the perverted content subsided as the depth and complexity of the food swelled. I used to cringe, and think that it didn’t matter how good the anime was, the fan-service was just intolerable. I am thankful now that while there is the occasional food-making-clothes-explode scene, they tend to just be a nude character making a cheesy pun that describes the food.

The characters won’t win any awards, but they are still very strong personalities, in the sense that you won’t really forget them. Having several characters associated with a type of food gives it an easy diversity within it’s cast, but above that, you have the main characters who all have very memorable talents and personalities. Soma is a terrific Shounen-style main character. Effortlessly bad-ass, and so caught up in his food that he doesn’t even realize he’s a bad ass. He’s just trying, and has faith in his skills.

So while each episode manages to wow me with some drool-inducing entree, what I am really waiting for is to see where the story ultimately goes. His journey through school has been very well paced, but it’s about time to start winding up the climaxes. There can only be so many “hardest challenge yet” moments before the suspense gets old, and the weight of the old victories become too petty to matter. There is undeniable genius in it’s food-based content, but the story has still been a rather stagnant progression, only made entertaining by the charismatic characters.

8/10


Gangsta

Synopsis: It’s hard to escape this city. Once you get your foot in the door, it’s a lot harder trying to walk out. Nicholas and Wallace are two unfortunate souls stuck in the ways of life. They do dirty work for the police, and something about Nicholas has the town on edge.

Here’s another anime that surpassed my initial doubts to my utter delight. I thought this anime was going to be monotonous, and one-dimensional. The grit, grime, and gangsta, with nothing more. Even after the first episode I still felt like that seeing nothing but violent men, dirty alleys, and a damsel/prostitute in distress. However, Gangsta knew what it was doing from the start. It has a very good story to tell, and a majority of that comes in the form of seeing our aforementioned violent men as young, endearing children.

Gangsta has a few things that make it more than just a gangster flick in cartoon form. It has some anime spice in it as well. For one, the idea of people who wear tags that are ranked by strength is a cool variation of the Dragon Ball “power level” stereotype that anime is very well known for. We may even get a new “it’s over 9,000” meme here folks. On top of that, one of our main characters has a superhuman quality in that he lost his hearing, thus improving his other senses drastically.

Gangsta doesn’t have a large cast yet, so the primary focus has been on Wallace, Nicholas, and Alex. Wallace is the white-haired smooth talker. He has a way with the ladies and also a way with intimidation. His voice actor is one of my favorites in the anime industry (Aomine from Kuroko’s Basketball) and hearing him use his threatening whispers gives me chills. As you delve into his back story, you realize that most of his charisma was forced onto him. He grew up privileged, but abused at the same time. He was forced into relationships with woman at a very young age. It humanizes him greatly, and makes you realize that his talents are something he didn’t nurture with selfish desires.

Nicholas represents one of the more unique parts of Gangsta’s cast, mainly because he is a deaf swordsman who speaks with sign language and has superhuman strength. He initially seems a bit brutish, and kind of a monster, but you slowly see him outside of combat, and you see that he’s a gentle soul. Most evocatively, you get to see Nicholas as a kid and what started his and Wallace’s friendship. Finishing up the trio is Alex, the prostitute that joined their group in the first episode. While I still have hopes for a more active role for her, the portrayal of her psychological dependency on her old boss was haunting, to say the least. I always love when psychological distress is deftly executed, and Gangsta spared no effort on that part of her story.

Gangsta also touts very good animation quality. While the art direction isn’t anything especially unique, it doesn’t take long to realize that what you’re seeing is very well-produced. This became very apparent when one of the most fluidly animated fight scenes graced my eyes a few weeks ago. It didn’t use the anime tropes that so many fight scenes use today which means the fight felt long, uncut, and uninterrupted. I’m hearing mixed opinions on the music, but for me, I’d say the music is top-notch. It’s nothing I’d listen to outside of the anime, but it’s very appropriate for the setting, highly immersive, and easily recognizable. No other anime this season has this style of soundtrack, and that alone is noteworthy.

9/10


Gate

Synopsis: A gate is discovered in modern Japan that leads to a fantasy world akin to a Japanese RPG, and they decide to send an army through the gate to investi…gate. 😄

Annnnnd another anime that became much better than it’s premiere foreshadowed has become one of the most fun anime this season. Gate is about the boring real world, and it’s military colliding with the adventurous fantasy world and their military. So since the first episode was all in the boring world…I obviously found it boring. Let’s be honest, that first episode was just bad.

What really got everybody’s ears perked up is when this Japanese military brigade started encountering things like elves, mages, dragons, and death gods. Just the contrast and juxtaposition of these two worlds creates several funny or memorable scenes. Helicopters being called iron griffins and the like make me want to watch more of their worlds intertwine.

It really is the fantasy world that’s selling it, though. The military regiment is hardly convincing. For one, the main character, a self-proclaimed otaku, doesn’t really fit his rank at all. For that matter, he comes off as a bad example of an otaku. He has none of the subtle personality traits that permeate a true otaku. There is no social awkwardness, so dangerously strong connection to his interest, and no signs of him really enjoying his hobby instead of just shouting out things that otaku would recognize. But back to the army aspect, having him be the leader is almost a joke to a true army, and an expenditure of this magnitude would surely have them adhere to a much more strict and delicate mission structure.

At the point I’m at in the anime, the military has pretty much seen enough of the fantasy world, and now it’s time to bring some select fantasy representatives to see the real world. We’re flipping the scenario backwards, and I’m now very excited to see what happens. Because now, these elves and mages are going to be brought into a world FULL of otakus, instead of just one or two who happen to be in the army. So I like where the story is going.

Quick aside. Can we stop this stupid director technique of splitting the screen? It looks awful and gets really old.

I always go on about great characters, so I do have to mention that I don’t like the main character at all. He’s hardly a leader, and he’s no otaku I ever met. His personality is almost non-existent, and I will not be able to tolerate it if he has harem. However, the fantasy characters are all very nice. The mage is adorable when she experiments with “human” technology and equipment. The elf has a nice emotional ring to her story with her honoring her father’s death…disappearance? And the Death God is just this bloodthirsty battle vixen who loves war. None of them have been explored on a dramatic cerebral level yet, but it’s enough to make me know that I deeply prefer the fantasy characters.

There is one exception, which is the main character’s underling. A girl who reminds me a lot of Riza Hawkeye from Fullmetal. She’s the sharp-witted sharpshooter, and her cooperative battle effort with the Death God was my favorite scene thus far.

7/10


God Eater

Synopsis: We have weapons that transform. Kill monsters with them.

Do you ever watch something bad your favorite director has done just to say you’ve seen it all? That’s how I am with the animation studio Ufotable. They are by far my favorite group of artists out there, because they always raise the bar with animation quality in an anime. It was fortunate that their content of their anime ranged above average as well. Unfortunately, we have hit a very low point for this esteemed studio. Perhaps their worst anime yet.

I tried to turn myself into a hypocrite. I said that I would enjoy God Eater no matter how bland the story is because the art and action would be a journey in itself. Who was I kidding? I need a good story like a fish needs water. God Eater has given me very little enjoyment since it’s shaky start. And while I appreciate Ufotable experimenting with even more animation techniques, this definitely isn’t their best looking anime either. Can we just go back to Fate?

That quote echoes my thoughts exactly. So what is good about this anime? Well, I guess the hardly-fleshed-out bad asses are actually quite bad-ass. In the first episode, the only moment that thrilled me were these strikingly powerful dudes just ooze with cool and effortlessness as they swatted big baddies out of the air. Unfortunately, that’s all there has been to them since then as well. I’m already tired of them.

Everything else is bad. I’m not even happy with the art. The quality is sharp. Amazingly so, as only Ufotable can do, but there’s something that’s not quite so Ufotable. The most noticeable thing is the way it’s animated. A heavy dosage of CG combined with a ton of camera rotations and motion make this a chaotic assault to the senses. In gamer talk, it’s a game throwing so much on the screen that the frames per second take a huge dip making everything just look too busy and rough.

Yes, please do. Luckily the latest episode is what has everyone talking because…well, there was a massacre that would give Game of Thrones a run for it’s money for major character deaths. I won’t spoil who…or more like I can’t spoil who because it’s everyone. And that I will spoil. Everybody dies. Aside from that, we have the fact that the story has yet to grip me in any way whatsoever. I don’t have any reason to care if the monsters win, nor do I celebrate when the heroes win. The combat lacks good choreography reminding me of the more basic Shounen fights. The direction style lacks a true type of identity, and features a large amount of weird cuts that make me thing that they tried and failed to be unorthodox and sophisticated, like an indie movie director who doesn’t quite understand how his tools work yet. But I, like the rest of the community, has to see what happens after this riveting cliffhanger. Perhaps this anime still has a chance?

5/10


My Love Story

Synopsis: In this double-length season, Takeo and Rinko are still madly in love with each other, but Takeo is about to learn that nice guys like him do attract more than one girl.

Ahhhh god, it’s been a while since a romance anime hit the level of enjoyment where I feel that it’s as good as it can be. To me, My Love Story is flawless. It’s not grandiose, or attempting something unprecedented, which means it won’t be up there with my all time favorites, but it’s doing something I really really like, really really well. The relationship of Takeo and Rinko will go down as the best ‘ship of the year, mark my words.

So My Love Story is in it’s second stretch meaning I already new I loved this anime by the end of last season. What I was watching for this season was if the momentum would peter out or, dare I hope, get even better? Did it get better? It certainly hasn’t gotten worse, but I would argue that something needs to happen, that hasn’t happened for a while in this series to have me gazing transfixed at my screen again. The most impactful moment of this anime was when Suna had to deal with his father’s surgery. He brought a massive weight of emotional depth that collided and resonated with viewers like a gong.

That hasn’t happened yet, so because of that, I haven’t enjoyed this season yet quite as much as the first half, but we also aren’t at the finish line yet. There’s still time to weave one more powerful story out of this perfect romantic playground. I want one more fresh serving of drama, because the romance and comedy are already perfect. Let’s expand it a bit! Though this season did explore some solid ground. Takeo’s situation with Suna’s sister was finally concluded, and the Christmas episode was a delightful side story.

Besides that, all I can say is that I’m still madly in love with the constant jokes that poke fun of Rinko’s adorable personality and Takeo’s alarmingly high amount of gusto. I love Suna’s strictly logical quips. I love how happy everyone is in this anime. Most importantly, I love how Takeo and Rinko are treating each other. It’s a grounded type of luvvy-duvvy that we don’t necessarily have to replicate, but we could all learn a thing or two from them!

9/10


Overlord

Synopsis: When a long-running MMO is on it’s last day before it’s servers are shut down, a veteran, max-level player returns to his guild hall, which he is the leader of, to say goodbye to his guild members. Only…he can’t log out, and all of the NPC servants come to life looking to him for guidance. It’s time to rule the guild, for real.

Unlike Madhouse’s previous works like My Love Story, Death Parade, or Parasyte, Overlord wasn’t an immediate “click” for me, and I’m sure it was the same with many others. However, I recognize framework when I see it, and I thought that Overlord didn’t make any mistakes in it’s first episode, and laid it’s foundation perfectly. There may have been better ways to direct it, arrange the scenes differently, or something, but there was nothing wrong with simply watching the main character come to terms with what was going on when he couldn’t exit his MMO.

So yes, this is another stuck in an MMO game, but like the other popular ones, there’s something that sets it apart. It’s hard to explain with a few words, so fortunately I have this blog thing. Something about Overlord just seems confident. Like it knows exactly where it’s going, even without foreshadowing or teasing what’s to come. Perhaps it’s my blind faith in Madhouse to only adapt anime with distinctive stories, but I wanted to believe that Overlord was simply going to snowball into an awesome video game world, and an epic quest behind it.

Well…we’re not quite there yet. and it’s also not slated to continue next season either meaning whatever it’s going to do, it needs to start doing it by the next episode. However, we have reached a point where this anime already appeals to me. I like how the point of the anime isn’t to conquer or escape the world, but simply exploring to learn where one stands. It’s pure adventure, and I love that.

The most difficult part for me is that the main character is a grim reaper, and sometimes a knight. Either way, this is tough for me because he lacks facial animation. I do like the main character, which to me is a feat in itself because of the lack of an identity, but I do heavily wish I could see more of his emotions on screen. So far he’s been the clever ponderer, never too surprised or affected by anything. I like that because he’s highly intelligent and does his research, but I need something more. And while the giant hamster was close…it has to be more than that too.

My favorite part of this anime is his group of loyal followers who help him guard his realm and each have a stupendously high power level compared to the world they are exploring. I like how these subjects consistently look up to him and adore him because it makes the main character watch how he acts around them, and it puts his leadership capabilities into the limelight. This anime is taking it’s time, kind of like The Heroic Legend of Arslan, and yet I’m still eating up every minute. It just needs a slight boost in…something to really feel like Madhouse status.

8/10


Rokka no Yuusha

Synopsis: Every era of this ancient world, the demon god is revived, and at the same time, six warriors are chosen and blessed to fight it. The six chosen must journey to meet each other, and then work together to take down the demon god.

Back when the premieres rolled around, I was raving about Rokka. Rokka this, Rokka that. This anime Rokkas my world. “It will be the next Katanagatari, I proclaimed. So how weird do I feel now that I’m here writing about a mystery anime that has seemingly put aside it’s “save the world” plot for a completely off-genre storyline? Pretty weird, but I’m still digging it. Just not for the same reasons as Katanagatari anymore.

So all that has transpired as far as the main plot was that the Braves came together, and they discovered that there is a fake in their midst. The last several episode has solely dealt with this fact so many feel like the story is at a standstill. However, a mystery like this doesn’t come around every so often. I mean, come on, a martial arts adventure mystery is pretty interesting.

So as far as a mystery goes, it’s solid to me for two primary reasons. One: I don’t know who the fake is. They are doing an astounding job of being thoroughly careful with every characters dialogue and actions to make every single one have a legitimate reason for suspicion. There is a singular character who most of my friends think it is, but they would also not be surprised if it was any of the others too. That’s because the characters are all being explored at length, building them up as we’re scrutinizing them, making an all-star cast in the process.

The second reason is that I do care who the fake is. A lot of mysteries don’t have me invested in the final result as much as the final plot twist. I want more than to simply find out who it is, and that’s more than I can say for the mysteries I’m seeing elsewhere these days. I want to know what happens to the whole group after they discover it, and if it actually leads to them saving the world or not. It’s not just the plot twist…it’s the whole plot that I am getting behind.

I will still echo my thoughts on the character design and animation. While I do think the first episode was still the greatest, the director still never let’s a scene go to waste using all sorts of cool animation tricks or interesting shot-framing to make each scene memorable. The artwork is still vivid, intricate, and oozing with ancient central american style. Perhaps this anime will get back on the main course and become a pure martial arts adventure again. if this was simply a mini-arc amidst a long journey, then this was one entertaining detour. If this is the whole story…then I simply expected more.

8.5/10


That concludes my return to form! Sorry guys for the multi-week delay. With a new writing project that I can’t share on my blog, a new MMO addiction (final fantasy XIV) and moving into a new home this month, my time for blogging was cut very thin. Make no mistake though, I will never let a premiere, midseason, or finale ever pass by without me reflecting just a bit. I can’t NOT blog about anime, just a break for as long as I can tolerate. If I had the time to right non-stop, I would. Anyways, you’ll hear from me next week when I catch up to what’s current!

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3 thoughts on “Summer 2015 Anime – Midseason Impressions

  1. I’m glad to see you are still writing always so passionate about anime. It’s great! I’ve been on a break somewhat trying to get my Space Dandy theatrical screening launched. The first day was yesterday and was a small success with a few people. Handed out prizes and each person that arrived received a “I heart Boobies” sticker like from the first episode. It looks exactly like it. As well as a package of ramen, lol. I’m looking forward to tonight’s 2nd half [14-26] Being back in school and finally getting into a routine will definitely channel me to write a whole lot more.

    • Thank you very much! Yeah I never stop writing because I get bored of it, only because there are too many awesome things in this world for me to experience, so sometimes writing about them takes a while.

      This theatrical screening sounds amazing! I haven’t done anything like that, but I am sending an open invite to all my anime friends to watch The Boy and the Beast when it comes out in America. I consider myself an anime evangelist so I like to bring people into this world. 😄 I’ll have a new room mate next month, and he’s open to watching anime. That’s always an exciting feeling.

      I didn’t forget about your comment that contained questions for me as an anime writer. It’s saved as a draft right now until I’m happy with it! ^.^

      • I’ve been approved for around 100 titles including Mushishi, Terror in Resonance, cowboy Bebop, Darker than Black and wolf Children. Thinking of doing Zoku Shou in November.

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