Fall Anime 2014 Review (Part 2/2)

F/SN is originally an eroge

Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works

Kaze – 8/10

As a surprise to probably no one, Unlimited Blade Works has proved to be one of the best shows of the fall season. With ufotable’s trademark animation and a near perfect faithful adaptation of the visual novel route, UBW has been a great enjoyment to watch despite already knowing the source material and in some ways, extra rewarding seeing the attention to detail ufotable puts into foreshadow. It is unfortunately not without fault, although my complaints would come not from ufotable itself but things such as source material, the fact I am only judging the first half, and that some things are just not explained as well in anime form.

Japesland – 8/10

Kaze’s remarks. Copy. Paste. Honestly, the worst thing about Unlimited Blade Works is that some elements in the source are just subpar. Great overall production thus far, though.

Inou Battle

When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace
Inou-Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de

Japesland – 7/10

A surprise hit for me this season, for sure. I have made it well-known that I deplore Kill la Kill, Trigger’s most famous work (since they are a relatively new studio). I loved Little Witch Academia, which made it all the worse, I suppose. However, Trigger toned down its absolute ridiculousness this season and opted for a more conventional school life anime. It’s not without its quirks, of course, and it’s pretty much a shameless harem series, but one that I believe has been executed well. This is the first time I’ve actually been rooting for different heroines and genuinely wondering who would “get the guy” in quite a while.

Kaze – 5/10

I pretty much picked this up because “Trigger,” even though my opinion on their short history is similar to Japes. While it was somewhat amusing at times and the harem antics were done better than average, it also suffers from jumping back and forth between tones of serious and school life without ever addressing any of the points brought up. Note I was totally okay with the first “supernatural plot” episode but then it was brought back in a much worse manner which only served to dodge other plot developments. Actually, I’d say if it weren’t for how they handled the last couple episodes, I would’ve given it a 6.

parasyte

Parasyte: The Maxim
Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu

Kaze – 7/10

Kiseijuu was a moderate surprise for me. I had heard nothing but good things about the manga which dates from the 90’s, but I am one who generally considers hype a negative and questionable thing. Even so, Kiseijuu proved me wrong. Many plot points have been explained far better than I initially gave it credit for, and the main character has been forced to develop in a way that is both realistic and interesting. One of my main gripes, however, is that I find myself disliking many of the supporting characters. Many characters seem to exist only as plot devices to fuel incidents and subsequent development of the main and lack anything that makes me care about them at all.

Japesland – 6/10

Meeeeeeeeehhhhhhhh…. I really want to dislike Parasyte more than I do (is that so wrong??). It feels just like many other shows that have taken off to ridiculous extents, like, primarily, Death Note. However, for as surprisingly well as most aspects of the show have been executed, I still just don’t quite get it. Granted, every episode I am interested in what will happen next, but once it happens I’m left with a feeling of, “Oh…”

Mushishi Zoku Shou 2

Mushishi Zoku Shou 2nd Season
Mushishi Zoku Shou 2nd Season

Japesland – 10/10

It’s official. After finishing this season and re-watching the first season, Mushishi takes its place as my first and only 10/10 ever. Honestly, the most brilliant mixture of philosophical, thought-provoking, and simply entertaining I have seen in anime form. If you’re not watching it, then shame on you. And if you’ve seen it and don’t like it, I shall heap steaming piles of shame upon you!

Kaze – 9/10

Is this really a surprise? My opinion of Mushishi has not changed since spring when both Japes and I praised it greatly, and I don’t really have anything to add. Mushishi continues to deliver amazing stories packed into a single episode that feel more satisfying than an entire cour of normal anime.

ookami shoujo

Wolf Girl and Black Prince
Ookami Shoujo to Kuro Ouji

Japesland – 6/10

I made a goal to not watch a single anime this season that I did not like. Against all odds, even with this lackluster entry, I succeeded! Yes, Wolf Girl and Black Prince is entirely mediocre. It is entirely unoriginal. It’s characters are essentially as flat and predictable as its plot. But I still loved watching it! Call it my guilty pleasure, I suppose, but it definitely filled my shoujo gap this season. Not to mention, unlike a number of shoujo that I have seen, both the male and female leads underwent some serious character transformation that I thoroughly appreciated. Still not great, but at least I was honest enough to rate it a 6/10 despite guiltily enjoying it…

Your Lie in April

Your Lie in April
Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso

Japesland – 8/10

Your Lie in April has been hovering back and forth between a 7 and an 8 all season, but regardless of which of those two ratings I end up on after its second cour, the show has still been a great watch! I’ve gone on record saying that it is head and shoulders above its Nodame Cantabile counterpart, but the longer it goes on the harder it is to say if that statement is accurate. It has been great, surely (and I decided to give it an 8/10 for now), but it seems to straddle that line between well-executed drama and generic melodrama. The second cour will determine which of those two sides it commits to.

Kaze – 7/10

As someone who has played piano quite a bit (though I have not played in some time), I am perhaps a bit biased towards anything which depicts pianists. There were also a couple similarities to Deardrops, which I adore, so I really like the premise already. That said, I was really surprised when Japes called it head and shoulders above Nodame Cantabile, which I think is pretty darn top tier (individual seasons may vary). I do have a problem with how much it drags some of the melodrama, but as a whole, I think it has been a very solid show even if it does not have anything impressively amazing. Also, since the anime will be adapting the entire manga, I’m glad that will at least mean we won’t get any strange, rushed endings.

Shirobako

Shirobako
Shirobako

Kaze – 5/10

As you might know, unlike Japes, I am not a fan of PA Works. I think they do a lot of mediocre anime with excess drama, and so I expected Shirobako to be the same. Three episodes in and I was completely wrong – an actual interesting depiction of the anime industry with a ridiculous number of references to real life people. I was amused and impressed. Three more episodes in and I was completely wrong, again! The actual insights to production took a backseat in place of unnecessary drama brought about by stubborn, immature, and/or stupid adults. I somehow managed to end up disappointed despite it turning out exactly as I initially expected.

Japesland – 7/10

Well, Kaze is essentially right about Shirobako, so I’ll keep my review short. Unlike Kaze I do, in fact, normally like PA Works. However, unlike Kaze, I believe that the insights into the animation process in Shirobako go beyond whatever “unnecessary drama” a PA Works-hater might see. If you’re interested in learning about how anime is made with some cute anime girls and a bit of standard drama, I highly recommend it.

Celestial method

Celestial Method
Sora no Method

Japesland – 6/10

BIGGEST disappointment this season (especially since I love the band Fhana, who did the ending theme for this show!). What started with a fantastic first episode simply devolved into standard schoolgirl angsty drama… and this is coming from a PA Works fan! Despite my complaints, I still enjoyed the entire season, hence the 6/10. With that said, though, I would hardly call Celestial Method anything more than decent.

Kaze – 5/10

I wanted to like this show, I really did. And I did like some parts. But as Japes said, there was just too much angsty drama. I don’t even necessarily fault it for having the drama so much as there really wasn’t much else there besides the drama. I was hoping the supernatural side would play a stronger role, but unfortunately it just fell flat. I didn’t dislike it, but I also couldn’t find myself caring to watch more.

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Kaze

Kaze is a graduate from the University of Tokyo who currently works on developing gene therapies for genetic diseases. He is a Nanatard since 2009 and mostly spends his time reading VNs and studying Japanese. Strangely enough, also a devout Christian.

6 thoughts on “Fall Anime 2014 Review (Part 2/2)

  1. Almost agree about Sora no Method. When it started on that Shione business it dragged terribly and was so boring, but my biggest dissappointment for fall was Inou-Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de. It was a decent show, but I thought there would be a bit more action involved in the show considering the title. It was pretty decent for a harem though.
    Fate/stay night UBW was another good show this season, but I dunno if this is because I started with fate/zero or what, but I liked fate/zero over anything in the fate/stay night story lines.

    1. I actually liked Inou-Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de for precisely that reason! I don’t tend to like action series along those lines, so it was a pleasant surprise for me!

      UBW had a pretty slow first half. I can’t make any promises, but having read the source material, I can tell you that the second half has some pretty crazy stuff in store. If it goes as I expect, it will probably edge out above Fate/Zero in my book (though, admittedly, I approach the Nasu-verse pretty skeptically most of the time).

  2. It’s too bad Sora no Method didn’t quite work out for people here. I for one enjoyed it a lot (as I mentioned on the podcast), right to the end. The drama could probably have been executed better, but I thought that the emotional payoff of it all was well worth it.

    Then again, maybe I just have a thing for stories about childhood friends reconnecting (see also: AnoHana).

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