While in the midst of messing around in spreadsheets that are part of The Best Girl Project, I realized that I should probably get around to telling the few of you how I experienced a season in which I dropped just one show and completed 27. Including the “movie” that was also part of the season, it means the Winter 2014 season now has the joint most anime I’ve watched matching the Spring 2011 season. It’s also my lowest rated season with at least 10 shows, so make of that what you will.
It’s back again, the bi-annual competition where stats driven gurus figure out that they don’t have a clue about the taste of a bunch of anime fans. For me, it’s that time of year where I show all of you that I don’t have a clue what the hell I’m doing. So I’ve set out a target of finishing in the top half of the table in the group. Even when legitimately trying, I’ve never come close and with rule changes I can’t even tank properly either. If only there were a place I could simulate tanking in a sandbox.
So here is my team:
Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin
Seikoku no Dragonar
No Game No Life
Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou
Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara
Mahouka Koukou no Rettousai
Obviously the plan is to stick Mahouka in after the first week since I will be down in the 400s on the table. For as generic and exposition-filled as it is, it will probably crush everything else this season. After all, I believe the MAL fanbase likes everything explained to them like they are 5. The second show on my bench, shortened to the ugly looking Gaworare in places, is a complete reach and will only see the light of day if I monumentally screwed up in my starting lineup.
In picking my starters I started for the shows that I wanted to avoid. That meant the following categories of shows were eliminated:
- Sequels or Spinoffs of Any Kind
- Sports Anime
- Children’s Anime since I’m Actually Trying
- Anything with a Name-Based Pun Title
- Any Game Spinoff that is not from an eroge
- Anything with Mecha
- Anything with Idols
- Any Harem Show with a Female Lead (so called Reverse Harems)
- Anything that is plain Romance
- Anything Yuri that isn’t Fanservice Trash aimed at men
- Anything by Gainax/ZEXCS/White Fox/J.C. Staff
- Anything by Shaft that features NEET main characters
- Anything by ARMS because Wizard Barristers
With those 13 rules in place, I was left to pick 7 out of the remaining 8 shows. That meant I had to choose one to get left on the cutting room floor. So Hitsugi no Chaika it was because I couldn’t imagine people being interested in a show about a guy trying to find a job accompanied by a small girl. Wasn’t this exact plot used in a fall show?
Now for the reason why I used a post on this was to come up with a challenge for readers here. Of course coming up with this is hard since no one really comments here. So anyone who does comment on this or any other post tagged with “Fantasy Anime League” this season and has a team in the competition will be entered into a weighted lottery. Those who do worst in the FAL league will have a greater chance of winning but even the best placed commenter has a chance at it. The winner can pick a show I have to write on in any future season preview post for up to one year. I shall call it the “Emperor J Tank to the Bank” challenge.
Also, feel free to tell me how wrong my 13 rules are in the comments. They are in a state of refinement for future seasons and I would like to do better in the future with better defined rules.
Here you go people. Apologies to Neregate for being the source of desecrating their charts, but they deserve credit for putting this together.
When I talked about my plan to watch as many shows as I felt I could, I failed to take a bunch of things into account. Namely that it is very hard to keep up with 30+ shows at a single time. It’s pretty much cut into the free time I have left so my other hobbies (like suffering heavy defeats playing the latest FIFA games online) are effectively non-existent. I guess that’s why critics are able to do this because that’s their job rather than a hobby.
So with that in mind, I go into this spring season with the caveat that I will watch as many first episodes as I can, but I will continue those shows that I feel I need to keep watching. No boasting about how I’ve dropped a show. No trashing shows I did drop outside of what I did watch. Yes, it’s pretty much a retreat back to how I was before, but I think quitting has a bad reputation. In any case, on with the preview where I think I may end up with more free time this spring than I thought.
Continuing Shows That I Will Watch
Nisekoi – it’s pretty much what I’ve expected up to this point. It seems like they’ve really pushed off introducing Marika, which is a definite minus. However, the 20 episode run is an unusual number that I can only really put down to an event happening in June that would impact late night television in Japan. (Yes, I know exactly what that would be.)
Nobunaga the Fool - I have no real idea what is going to happen with each episode. I guess I’m imagining Nobunaga unifying both the East and West stars because the plot dictates it, but how it gets there is a mess.
Sequels/Spinoffs That I Will Watch
Date A Live - It’s harem trash that I can’t help but continue watching. The recent OVA featuring Best Girl Origami reminded me of why I kept coming back to the show. There’s an awareness of how silly it contrives itself to be. That works well enough for me.
Sequels/Spinoffs of Shows That I Dropped or Did Not Watch and Will Therefore Not Be Watching with No Explanation Why
Cardfight!! Vanguard: Legion Mate-Hen
Dragon Ball Kai: Majin Buu-hen
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders
Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo R
Kiniro no Corda: Blue♪Sky
Love Live! School Idol Project Second Season
Pretty Rhythm All Star Selection
Puchimas!! Petit Petiti Idolm@ster
Soul Eater Not!
Children’s Shows I Would Not Watch
Disk Wars: Avengers
Monster Retsuden Oreca Battle
The Rest of the Pool
Abarenbou Kishi!! Matsutarou – The first of the sports shows this season is about sumo. I’m not really optimistic about this one because it doesn’t seem different from the average sports show.
Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky - Another game adaptation which is set in a slowly ending world where people use alchemy. The more this show goes away from the game dynamics, the better it will be. I just remember trying to play a game with Atelier in the title and just struggling to figure out what the hell was going on. Maybe I’m too dense to play Atelier games.
Baby Steps - I don’t think they protagonist in this show is going to cause a mass extinction via tennis, so that’s a plus. On the downside, there’s little entertainment value in this sports show that plays as a straight romance.
Black Bullet - This looks so stupid. It’s another one of these kids get superpowers in a post-apocalyptic world which would only exist in anime. I can’t see past the first episode without banging my head on a table.
Blade and Soul – I don’t know much about this one to be honest. A straight up story of people playing in an MMORPG seems pretty boring to me, but Log Horizon has done pretty well in that regard. Maybe this is just more of the same.
Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou – This looks like a straight romance series with a protagonist who has to deal with the terrible neighbors that he has. Getting MC-kun hooked up with Sempai-sempai will hopefully prove to be interesting.
Brynhildr in the Darkness – Another show where a guy matches up with a girl who has magical powers. Anyone watching Buddy Complex from this season will relate to the fact that I expect the main character to go into traumatic flashbacks when he has to deal with the new main girl who looks like the girl who died when he was a child.
Captain Earth – This has mecha invaders from Uranus. That seems scientifically improbable. As is the probability I have patience for this show past episode 1.
Devil’s Riddle – Reading the description on this, it would seem like it’s a normal shoujo romance type show where a girl falls in love with the boy she is supposed to go after. But wait…there are a bunch of female assassins after the main guy. Put this one in the category of High Concept Harem Variant.
Dragonar Academy – This is going to be an appalling mess of a show. Think Zero no Tsukaima with a plot that makes no sense and amps up the fanservice even more. The main character gets a young girl as a dragon and I’m guessing that means she has something against clothes. The best this can hope for is to be better than Dragon Crisis.
Fuuun Ishin Dai Shogun – This is just about the dumbest looking revisionist history idea I’ve ever seen in anime. Will I watch it hoping it’s as bad as it seems? You know I most definitely will.
Haikyuu!! - A shounen sports show with high school students playing volleyball in a long game of revenge, this looks pretty unrealistic. The main character is too short to really succeed at even the high school level, so they will make him jump unrealistically high to make him seem normal. Kurobas is much more realistic than this.
Hitsugi no Chaika – The main character is a retired soldier at the age of 20. Since he seems to be uninjured, it feels hard to sympathize with a character who then comes across a girl with a coffin…who happens to have magical powers. This seems to be a theme this season.
Inugami-san and Nekoyama-san – This show seems to be about yuri shipping based on the names of the two characters. You see, Inugami likes cats when she should like dogs and Nekoyama likes dogs when she should like cats. Oh how original…
Irregular at Magic High School – This is from the top selling light novel series about a world of magic users and how unjust it is towards the protagonist. That’s okay because he’s really great at what really matters, though it can’t be measured so he is seen as a lowly ‘weed’, whereas his brocon sister is top of her class. It’s Self-Insert Wish-Fulfillment at its highest level.
Is the Order a Rabbit? – So a regular cafe show where cute girls just do cute things based on their names. I can’t see much coming out of this honestly.
Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara – Having read the manga for this, prepare to be amazed when this show completely loses direction. So it goes from a fun high concept show about a guy who can literally see the flags that he is tripping to a grand conspiracy.
Kenzen Robo Daimidaler – Quite possibly the classiest mecha show that will ever be made. I read the first chapter of the manga which had an enemy mecha with it’s main cannon placed between its legs. The protagonist was also thoroughly unlikable to make some of the jokes work. Ultimately, I think this may end up in the pile of Misogynistic Power Fantasies with Mecha.
Knights of Sidonia – I briefly remember watching a trailer for this months ago and coming away not impressed. It was like they looked at Arpeggio and decided that they needed to have the CG characters look even less lifelike. It was also very pretentious, even by the standards of an advance trailer. I just hope the space battle set pieces look as good as possible.
Magical Girl Wars – I guess this is a show where magical girls battle each other drawn from character designs from Pixiv. Doesn’t this inherently mean that the one from Tokyo will win in the end?
Majin Bone – Some mecha show from Toei. That’s as much as I know.
Mangaka-san to Assistant-san to – This is a 4-koma adaptation with a perverted mangaka and the female assistant(s) who put up with his antics. It’s as hilarious as that sounds.
Mekaku City Actors – This is one of the NEET focused shows this season. This one is about a boy who is forced to go outside thanks to a character in an online game. I’d say this is probably the least objectionable of these shows this season.
No Game, No Life – Another one of the NEET shows, but this time it’s about a pair of siblings who go to another world which plays out much like Problem Children. Clans play games with outcomes that are absolute. It’s a shame the pair are thoroughly unlikable since I stopped caring about them quickly in the manga adaptation.
Normal High School Girls Tried Being Local Idols – Oh look, another idol show. I guess this just has to surpass Wake Up Girls in budget to really succeed with fans of the genre. As far as plot, I think it appeals to the same audience who hates the Tokyo-based idol factories.
One Week Friends. – This basically appears to be 50 First Dates only with the time period being a week and the location being a Japanese high school. The larger question of how a character with a memory that resets is able to attend school will likely remain an extremely open question.
Ping Pong THE ANIMATION – Tatsunoko is involved in Wake Up Girls, which has me under the belief that this will look exceptionally poor. With Yuasa directing it, that shouldn’t be too much of a hindrance. The thing that I think will get in the way is that the characters will not be interesting enough.
Ryuugajou Nanana’s Buried Treasure – This would be the NEET series about the poor student who moves into an apartment that is haunted by the ghost of an attractive girl who was a NEET. I get the feeling that this will be very much like Dusk Maiden or whatever that show was called with the ghost. It’s almost the same plot.
Sadon Desu – Very much another one of those shows about a club that does nothing. I hope the tea ceremony club will be as entertaining as D-Frag this season. I doubt it because I think only one good show of this type is allowed per year.
selector infected WIXOSS – Turns out this is a J.C. Staff original. I guess this is about some girls being sucked into a game because they have weaknesses. It’s like they are hoping to channel the spirit of Madoka into something that isn’t as dark but still commercially viable. Good luck with that.
Tricks of the Gods – Oh look, an otome game adaptation. I hope that this actually isn’t completely dependent on tropes within the genre and abuses its audience like every other adaptation from the audience. I’m hoping for a bit too much in this case, but it frustrates me that it’s assumed that otome game players are also masochists.
The World is Still Beautiful – And finally, we have the show about a girl named Nike. That’s just so much potential gold that can come from ignoring how that is actually pronounced. So I can pretend this is a show about how the world of athletics is beautiful in the state of Oregon because they have so much money from our heroine. Then completely ignore that it’s a love story set in a fantasy world.
So that is that for the season preview for this season. I would definitely be interested in knowing how wrong I am about the new shows in the coming season. I will also try to watch any shows that are recommended by you, my loyal
reader…readers(?). I will also be attempting to compete in the newest edition of the MAL Fantasy Anime League. I take pride in failure since I have no idea how to compete to win. So maybe someone out there can point the way. When I go ahead and post my team, I will pose a Cart Driver-esque challenge that will apply to the summer.
For those who care about the “regular” chart I use. That will be up shortly.
When watching recent episodes of Wake Up, Girls, a series about a struggling Sendai-based idol group of the same name, I could not help but think that I was watching a show that made the experience of watching idols feel much more like watching a sport than pure entertainment. While the sense of conflict around anything I-1 Club related is clearly exaggerated for dramatic reasons, it adds a needed element of comparison that makes the rest of the show.
As some of you may know, I am pursuing a mission of watching as many new shows as I can this season to completion with the allowance of one dropped show (that I’ve already used). I got a question on Twitter yesterday in reference to the fact that I was still continuing to watch Imocho. While I find that show that uses the initial perversion to draw viewers in to a rather tame story of acceptance, it seems that it has been deemed the terrible show of the season that no one should be watching. Thus began a deep journey into what is the point of what I am trying to accomplish this season.
In the final first episode review of this season, we have a show that doesn’t really accomplish much in the first of its 10 episode run. Inari Konkon spends much of its time trying to create a moral lesson only to have it disappear without consequence in the end. Or will there be consequences?
When a show uses a word like “barristers” in the title, my expectation is to compare it to all of the episodes of Law & Order and other legal procedural dramas that I’ve watched. So when the guy who killed people in the opening scene was sentenced to immediate death, I thought it was a little unfair. He should have the right to appeal damn it. Also, with the scene where Cecil was questioned by police, I was shocked that the police wouldn’t invent a reason to search her bag like they would in real life. Finally, I can’t get the thought of Jack McCoy fighting wizards using magic powers. Basically, this episode review is going to be entirely unfair.
World Conquest is definitely a different kind of show about someone trying to conquer the world. The opening hints at a terrible world that comes from what one Hoshimiya Kate is trying to do, but in the first episode it’s all a psychedelic trip filled with strange mechanical devices and people in strange costumes. It harkens back to classic shows only this time the good guys want to conquer the world.
It’s really easy to call most things that Shaft produces over-directed, but it does feel hard to call Nisekoi anything but that so far. I’ve known the anime adaptation has been on the cards for a while having read the manga, but I do wonder if there wasn’t enough to be pulled from the source in this adaptation. I also wonder as a reader of the manga if I’m too inclined to hold the source material against this adaptation.
Life in the countryside is full of compromise to everyone except for one naive young man and his love for a certain idol. This is another one of these life of farmers idealized shows though I think it will be much more relationship focused than the others. Also, it’s a lot more silly than that other show with a similar setting airing this season.
Yamakan’s latest effort at directing TV anime is very much not the comedy vehicles he tends to have the most success with. In fact, this seems to be a much more personal vehicle for him. After watching the first episode, I can’t tell if Wake Up, Girls! is some sort of encouragement for himself or if it is actually a defiant piece aimed at those who have criticized him. I do have to say it did seem like he was rather pissed off.
Within the first few minutes of Sakura Trick I was pretty confused about what exactly I was seeing. It’s a light-hearted comedy with a cast of all girls, but I was left with an important question. Who exactly is the audience for this show?
Pupa in its first episode really showed why censorship can be a bad thing if used selectively. We have an older brother witnessing his sister turning into a man-eating monster where we can’t see that transformation happening. Then, we get to see her in her new form, which isn’t as terrible as I expected.
The only other thing I thought was worth noting in this 4 minute short was the fact that everyone except for Yume had were bodies covered in wounds. What that leads me into is asking a question of whether this show can actually work in short episodes as a psychological horror series. I’m inclined to say that the short format makes it more disposable and less likely to be remembered. Putting it together in a single hour-long feature format would make more sense in my opinion.
Suspension of disbelief is important for action shows like this. Few things are capable of destroying this than running out of budget partially through the episode and inexplicable mid-combat exposition scenes. My goodness is there a lot of the latter as everything turned silly.
As absurd as a setting of hell can be, Hozuki no Reitetsu is essentially a workplace comedy with a dark edge. The first part features the title character having to deal with the incompetencies of his boss and having to solve problems all on his own. The second half is world building through pets. It’s a little bit of a mixed bag overall.
When 6 minutes into an episode you are questioning the logic of the universe of an action show, it generally means one thing. Yes, a children’s card game adaptation. As always with these things, I’m left with more questions than answers. These aren’t the nice questions about what to expect from the show, but the most cynical questions one can come up with.
Oh look, it’s another short series. I guess I could say this reminded me a lot of Sparrow’s Hotel in how the comedy worked. But I can’t really put the level of comedy this show aspires to in words.
This is really the story of a group of kids putting on facades and a way of once again making jokes about the differences between country and city folk for not much of a reason. This is the story of a young girl engaged to be married and only finding out about it on her 16th birthday. That means this is clearly going to end with her slowly falling for the guy who has no presence.
It’s just like a guy leering over his younger stepsister only with the genders reversed.
There was a point in the first episode of Hamatora where I knew exactly what would be in the safe that was at the center of the plot of the first episode. How often do you have an old maid offering to dress up in a high school uniform to satisfy the sexual needs of the young master of a rich household? Everything about that just screams hidden stash of porn, and that’s exactly what it turned out to be.
Having endured a much similar concept in 2005’s Ultimate Girls, I wasn’t expecting Robot Girls Z to be anything other than a train wreck. There’s just something about how trying to change classic shows into classic shows with moe girls that makes everything else unimportant. Would this 70s mecha as girls work as badly as I thought?
Just like last year’s GJ-bu, the protagonist of D-Frag! is kidnapped and made to reluctantly join a club with a childlike president that doesn’t do anything beyond playing games. Unfortunately, that’s where the similarities between the two come to an end.
Series featuring mascot characters in modern times have rarely been interesting. There is just so much that can go wrong with a character that represents a larger entity if used incorrectly that fear generally rules the day in making something interesting. With that in mind, it’s no surprise to see Nitroplus’s mascot character Super Sonico doing nothing outlandish that hasn’t been seen before in their promotional materials. Even if the company makes its money off visual novels.
In the annals of generic mecha series, there will be few that will remember Buddy Complex. It seems to fit the bill of being the most generic of the generic of series. It’s almost as if there’s no point in hiding what this show is really meant to be; blatant cross-promotion.