Sunday, January 19, 2014

Winter 2014 Episode Rankings

I'M ALIVE! And after almost two weeks without internet, am slowly starting to recover. I still have a lot of catching up to do with the new anime season, but at least I've now watched all the first episodes I'd planned to. Ideally, I'll have Week 2 s post up in a few days, and will be fully up to date by Februarywhether it will actually work out that way is another thing.

Anyway, here's what I'm watching and what I think about it all! Focusing purely on the new shows this week.

So far, so good, Winter season!1 -

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18 -Fantastic aircraft, check!

Topping my list in Week 1 is HOZUKI NO REITETSU, Studio Wit's second TV animeI seem to remember their first one topping my lists fairly often, so it'll be interesting to see if this trend continues. I wasn't sure whether a dark comedy about Japanese hell was going to be my cup of tea, and there were a couple of jokes and references that were lost on me, but somehow that didn't seem to matter. The jokes I did get were hilarious, the writing was fantastic, and I'm already loving our main character, the hard-working, stoic Hozuki.Comedy series tend to do well in my rankings at the start of seasons, before dropping down later as other shows with stronger storylines start to get going, but if any comedy can stay in my Top 5 all season it'll be this one.

LOVE SONG OF A CERTAIN PILOT was intriguing, with hints right from the very beginning of a darker plot to come (protagonist's raging red eyes and memories of burning buildings? I'm sold!). I seem to have a thing for well animated flying machines too, and have to say I much prefer the planes in this series to the clunky airships of last season's Galilei Donna. Floating islands are always cool, too. The main focus of this first episode, however, was the boy meets girl scene between Kal-el () and Claire, which progressed from petrified awkwardness to true love in about three minutes, none of the usual faffing about you get in romance anime. That alone made it stand out for me.

the spacecraft stand out too, in their own way

SPACE DANDY opened with a rant about boobs, and the fact that they're all anybody talks about. It then proceeded to focus on little other than boobs for the first half of the episode. Taking place in a restaurant chain called Boobies, which only hires women with big breastsif that was supposed to be funny, it was lost on me, hence the show's low ranking in this first week. The second half, during which Space Dandy and his new companion 'Meow' ended up fighting, running and hiding for their lives on a planet full of huge and aggressive aliens, now that was funny. The whole thing was well directed and animated, and the sound track is great, hence why I'm willing to give this a chance.

WIZARD BARRISTERS - BENMASHI CECIL has a fun concept - the short courtroom scene in the final episode of Galilei Donna was actually one of the series' few highlights for me, and made me realise I'd not seen any anime with a legal theme before. The character designs are wacky (particularly the hair, as expected from Umetsu Yasuomi) but I like them, and the animation quality was fairly high in this first episode. And, it features Norio Wakamoto voicing a frog. Why the low rating when it has so much going for it? Mostly because of the pacing, a bit too much happened too quickly for my liking, and there were a few weird fanservice moments (again, this is the creator and studio that brought us Mezzo).

Prehensile hair, check!

The first of the two Nobunaga-themed anime I watched was NOBUNAGUN, which unfortunately ranks the lowest of all the new series this week. Believe it or not, this show featuring reincarnations of historical figures in weapon form actually seemed a bit generic to me, at least compared with all the other crazy things I've watched this season! Seems a little similar in style to Kill La Kill, but not quite as good, or at least that's my first impression. There were parts I liked of course - the random annotations floating around and describing the protagonist, Shio, were amusing, and judging by her expression post-transformation, I'm looking forward to seeing her rampage in future episodes!

Then there was NOBUNAGA THE FOOL, a show most people seem to be picking up for the bishies, since the plot is a bit of a confusing mess already! Once again we have historical figures from various countries and eras coming together in one series, in a world where people fight with both spears and mechs, bows and guns! I'm not going to question anything, I'm perfectly happy to just sit back and enjoy the madness. My shallow enjoyment of this first episode's pretty characters and mix of medieval and futuristic technologies is about the only justification I have for rating it as 'highly' as I have, though, and I imagine it'll probably sink to the bottom fairly quickly in the weeks to come.

Berserk-mode highschool girl, check!

Last in terms of all-new series, we have HAMATORA, NAZ's first anime series. Detective shows are always of great interest to me, though most of the ones I've watched in the past have proven disappointing in the end. Hamatora is off to a fairly good start, at least - more great character designs, and interesting personalities and 'minimum' powers to go with them. The first case we saw them handle was fairly basic, standard introductory material, but it struck a great balance between action and comedy. Love the fact that their 'agency' is just a rented table in a cafe. Ideally, I'm hoping for a few longer, multi-episode cases from this, but I guess I could live with it being mystery-of-the-week as long as they're as good as the first episode was!

And finally, we have two sequels! CHUUNIBYOU DEMO KOI GA SHITAI! REN was my most anticipated series of the Winter season, and I've no doubt whatsoever that it'll be topping my weekly rankings once it gets going; this week was mostly re-introductory fare though, and aside from a few character's amusing, failed attempts to create new images for themselves, it didn't stand out much. GIN NO SAJI S2, however, was hilarious from the get-g0, and educational as ever - who knew they made bras for cows? Seems there's something going on with Mikage that's distracting her from her farm work, and has Hachiken worried, but since it's none of his business I guess we won't be finding out what that's all about for a while

Bathing scene, check!

So a disappointing amount of new series have ended up in the Bottom 5, thanks mostly to all the great ones that are carrying on from Autumn or earlier, but hopefully they'll grow on me. If nothing else, everything I've picked up looks like it has potential to get better - I don't feel as though I'm picking up any bad/average anime just to fill up the spaces.
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