|Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii|
Is the spring anime season really this good, or am I just in the right mood? Whatever the case, I am enjoying too many shows to keep up with.
These are the shows I won't miss (in alphabetical order):
- Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou – Dawning romance in a boarding house. The usual puerile humour is well counteracted by a sweet romance and lovely images. Hanazawa Kana gives us something special here as the shy but determined girl who seems to be discovering love.
- Brynhildr in the Darkness – Enjoyable and involving. Extravagances in the plot may attract or repel you: the reappearance of a supposedly dead childhood friend, aliens, a secret government lab where young girls are experimented on, imminent death by general bleeding if you don’t keep taking special pills. From a manga by the author of Elfen Lied. Taneda Risa is excellent as the main girl.
- Gochuumon wa Usagi Desuka? – Incredibly cute. Well-drawn moe girls running a café. Good voices from Sakura Ayane, Taneda Risa, Uchida Maaya, et al. Nothing but cute girls doing cute things, but this version pleases me more than K-On ever did.
- Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san – Yuri comic-strip comedy starring Touyama Nao and Uesaka Sumire. Hilarious absurdity. Five-minute episodes, unfortunately.
- Isshuukan Friends – Sweet and deep. An unlikely but powerful set-up that produces heartache, some psychological depth, and growing romance. Beautiful look. Terrific performances from young seiyuus Amamiya Sora and Yamaya Yoshitaka, and Hosoya Yoshimasa as what may be the best wingman character ever.
- Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei – Excellent (and popular) show starring Nakamura Yuuichi and Hayami Saori, who are both at their best. Nakamura's character keeps revealing more and more fighting skills. Hayamin plays his brilliant sister, who keeps revealing her love for him. They navigate through shoals of friends and enemies in a high-school for powerful magicians.
- Mekakucity Actors – Shinbou's take on Kagerou Days has fans of the latter up in arms. As a Shinbou fan, however, I'm loving the show. And Jin, the author/composer of the original, is the one who is scripting it for anime, so perhaps he approves, too.
- Mushishi Zoku Shou – I finally get the beauty of this show, which has never reached me before. I used to think of it as just another boring monster show. We'll see if week after week of them vitiates the appeal of these touching fantasy short stories set in a version of bygone rural Japan.
- Ping Pong the Animation – At last, a Yuasa show I can appreciate. To me, Tatami Galaxy seemed over-complex and emotionally shallow. However, the simple framework of a well-told sports story here allows me to appreciate the brilliant, if rather ugly, animation.
- No Game, No Life – Hilarious comedy set in an online-game world, painted with wonderful extreme coloration. Our hero and heroine are mutually dependant siblings whose deep closeness stops just short of being erotic. He has crafty gamer macho; she is a loli genius. A nubile princess (played with brilliant exuberance by Hikasa Youko), in despair at her family's fall, feels herself inexorably drawn to our bold hero.
- Seikoku no Dragonar – Just another fantasy harem comedy, but I'm enjoying it. The dragon born to be our high-skilled hero's partner turns out to be a tsundere loli with an aversion to clothing. And human girls in this school for dragon-riders are also becoming his friends. Good voice work by Sakura Ayanae, and especially by Ise Mariya as the Kugimiya-esque tsundere girl/dragon.
- Sidonia no Kishi – Real science fiction, with a well-conceived future world in which huge colony ship/asteroids have fled an Earth devastated by giant alien invaders. Human photosynthesis, fast-growing clones, an intermediate gender, and a young hero who has risen from a rat-like life hidden in the bowels of the ship to become a super-skilled pilot who can confront the aliens.
- Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii – Shoujo fantasy with a strong, independent heroine who reminds me of Kajika in Hanasakeru Seishounen. And that's a good thing. She is a princess of a minor state sent to marry the emperor of the world, who turns out to be a brilliant, cold-eyed boy of eleven. Of course she will tame him with her magic and bring joy to them both and to the world.
- Soul Eater Not! – As the title is intended to suggest, this is not Soul Eater, but a different show set in its world. An enjoyable school comedy with violence – and with Hayami Saori and Yuuki Aoi in leading roles
Here are shows I have been able to keep up with so far, but which I might end up letting slide:
- Akuma no Riddle – Vicious but effective. I don't like spending time with killers, but a fraught situation and the two main characters partly make up for a class full of beautiful but nasty school-girl assassins. Kanemoto Hisako is great as sweet Haru, their apparent target.
- Black Bullet – Entertaining adventure with a delicious villain played by Koyama Rikiya and a throng of exploited lolis with superpowers. Hard to resist.
- Blade and Soul – Might this be more than just a new Queen's Blade-style boobs and fighting anime? It seems more like a decent fantasy adventure, with added mammaries. Takao Yuki is good as the main protagonist. Yuuki Aoi is brilliant as the evil queen.
- Hitsugi no Chaika – Ditzy goth-loli with a gun, and a lazy hero who is always being badgered by his beautiful sister. But the siblings have great fighting skills in this steam-punk mediaeval fantasy world, and the loli is more than she seems.
- Escha + Logy no Atelier: Tasogare no Sora no Renkinjutsushi ("Escha + Logy's Workshop: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky.") Pretty and healing. An alchemical fantasy with deep friendship and hints of romance that may remain just hints. Zero tension in ep1; just how I like it. But episode two didn’t sustain my interest, despite two good new characters.
- Haikyuu!! – A classic sports anime. Vivid characters and a clear story. Too much shouting for my taste, but good so far.
- Insufficient Direction – The life of an otaku director and his mangaka wife. Based on the marriage of Anno Hideaki (Evangelion) and Anno Moyoco (Sugar Sugar Rune, Hataraki Man). Funny first episode. Three-minute episodes.
- Kin-iro no Chord: Blue Sky – Like an old friend, a new Kin-iro no Corda reverse harem appears, with the same seiyuu (Takagi Reiko) playing a new lead girl. She and her ikemen osananajimi are all violin students, and will now work together to win an inter-school chamber music competition.
- Nanana's Buried Treasure – Our hero seems to take it amazingly well when he discovers a pretty ghost in his cheap rented room. They and his friends set out to collect the treasures she hid during her life, with the idea that they may be able to find her murderer. Moderately entertaining.
- Selector Infected Wixoss – Our heroine tries out the card game that is all the rage among girls at school, and slips into a separate space, where she becomes enthralled with battles using violent little pixy avatars. And so do we.
|No Game, No Life|
And here are shows I probably won’t continue watching:
- Baby Steps – Slow in the classic sports anime way, gearing up for a run of at least two seasons. Not my thing, but excellent pedagogy.
- Captain Earth – I couldn’t get through more than 3-4 minutes of each of the first two episodes. I guess shounen humour is not for me.
- Fuuun Ishin Dai Shougun – More shounen humour. Once again, not for me.
- Kanojo ga Flag o Oraretara – An interesting premise, and pretty well done, but ends up being just another average harem comedy. At least the main character is not a nervous wuss.
- Kamigami no Asobi – Reverse harem with a bevy of god-like, well, gods. Nicely drawn, and with the normal stellar male cast (starting with Irino Miyu) to accompany the godly Hayami Saori, who plays the only human in the story. Zeus has brought gods of various cultures together in a heavenly school to learn how to love humans, of which our heroine is their example.
- JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken: Stardust Crusaders – Excellent show that I don’t enjoy. This and Love Live may be the most popular of all the new shows, in Japan.
- Lady Jewelpet – More of the sweet young-shoujo series that promotes Sanrio toys and has been running for five years.
- Love Live! 2 – My interest in season one waned, but I still think of it as a good show. Maybe Ive just seen enough of this. Excellent character design and animation by Nishida Asako (Simoun), and another terrific OP. But the music can’t stand up to idol groups like my favorites Nogizaka46, Fairies, and 9Nine.
- Mahou Shoujo Taisen – Couldn’t get into it. Maybe it's the four-minute episodes. And maybe it's just that I don't like pushy talking birds.
- Mangaka-san to Assistant-san to – The manga is slightly amusing. The anime has its moments, but is mostly boring and childish. Talks ecchi but isn't. A waste of Hayami Saori's talents.