Thursday, April 9, 2015

Winter 2015 anime review

Winter 2015 anime is finally over. This is the first winter I've had here in United Kingdom, and it is a cold winter indeed. Real life aside, let us take a glimpse of Winter 2015 anime. To be honest, some of the previous anime continuation is much better compared to the Winter lineup. I do enjoy most of them, but it is rather mediocre to be honest. Perhaps I was setting the bar too high, with some of them not meeting my expectation. But overall, it was enjoyable, albeit forgettable. Note that most original anime had a definite ending while most adaptation has either anime original or 'until our adventure continue again' kind of ending. I had great fun regardless.

Fall 2014 anime continuation

  • Parasyte the Maxim

Parasyte is a wonderful anime. Focuses on the struggle between humanity and inhumanity, dwelling on philosophical matter such as what make us a human and filled with heart-pounding moments on each episode. The story sets when a certain parasitic organism appear on Earth and try to invade living organism, mainly humans. The main character however, manages to prevent the organism from invading his brain, and as the story progress, both of them reaches mutual respect with each other. The story flow is well executed, and the animation is great. The dubstep music really fits well to some of the battle scene, and the creepy alien background music really makes it feels atmospheric. I had to give extra credit to the studio for making the anime follows faithfully to the original sources; the award-winning manga. I must say I really enjoy this anime, and a definite watch for those who love suspense, thriller anime.

  • Log Horizon 2

Database, database, just living in the database....
This is the second season for the successful game themed anime. With a new character design and a  whole new world to explore, this is a great show for those who like adventure filled anime with RPG element embedded into it. The first arc of the story is amazing. It really emphasize on the MMORPG raiding system, making those who play related game to connect with the characters themselves. Later on, the story gets a little boring, especially during the little members of Log Horizon arc, where the pacing went a little too slow. The story manages to pick up real fast during the end however, and went more bizarre with some otherworldly stuff revealed later on. If you enjoy the first season, you may want to continue the anime, and try to endure the pacing of the story.

  • Garo: Honoo no Kokuin

If you like grimdark themed story, you would definitely love Garo. The story revolves around the adventure of the Makai Knight Leon, along with his father and later on the prince, on their quest to protect the people of the kingdom from evil nightmarish creature called the Horrors. Think of it as a darker themed, but cooler medieval Kamen Rider. Story wise, I love how they make the main character suffers for more than half of the story, as he began to realise his true purpose of being a Makai Knight truly is. The flow itself went really well, with the transition between each of the characters went smoothly without interrupting the plot. Animation wise, the fighting scene is fantastic. The way they use CGI for Garo are done really well, and the artsyle along with the scenery really captures the grimdark feeling of that era. A definite watch for those who like adventure, fantasy themed anime. Note that this anime is independent from the live action version of Garo. I also heard that there will be another season of this anime, showing that the producers planned really well in advance on how the story will progress.

  •  Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo

Best way to describe this story: bishoujo+mecha+dragons = Gundam parody. I retract my statement, it's not enough. This show is just a trainwreck of random stuff mixed together making a serious show seems rather comedic in a way. A great example where the anime is so bad that it is good. You have everything you can imagine on this show. Loli whipping? Lesbian threesome? Social resentment? Narcissistic womanizer? How the heck does the dragons breed? Yup. The story revolves around Ange, who turned from a princess into a social outcast, got sent to a military island and forced to fight dragons by piloting a transforming mecha-jetbike. The only reason I watch this anime is because of Ange herself. She got tortured, bullied, outcast, etc earlier on because of her pampered princess nature, but as the story progress, she become a total badass. Ange is amazing. To quote: She's logical, pessimistic, she cheats, she'll insult you and everything you stand for, disarm you and then shoot you through the face, twice. There is a reason why the title is named as such. As for the story, it is full of random plot twist here and there, which makes every episode exciting. The animation itself is rather average, and kinda inconsistent. There is some charm of this anime that makes it really, really fun however, despite being a terrible mashup. If you love to watch anime without thinking too much into it, or the type that watch anime mindlessly for pure fun, this is the anime for you.

More review by my fellow writer here.

  •  Shirobako

An anime about making anime. The result is ingenious. Shirobako is an anime centering around Miyamori Aoi, as she works on the production side of an anime company. The plot itself is rather simple; first arc we make this anime, and second arc we make a bigger anime. However, what makes it absolutely amazing is how they execute the story itself. It is realistic. Things do not always goes as planned, and reality always hit hard. The character is lovable, from the hard working Aoi, to her cheerful friends and respectable fellow workers. Each and every one of them had their own story, their own problem and something that drive them forwards to continue on living making anime, which how the main character herself tries to find later on in the anime. The animation is beautiful, and each emotions are captured masterfully to emphasize their feelings. It's hard to find any flaw in this anime, and the only things that bother me is the confusing terms and jargon used thoroughly in the anime, where you need to double check it to fully grasp the understanding of the situation. We could tell however that much research is put into the anime, and every detail are rendered faithfully so that the viewers can learn and know how the anime industry works. I highly recommended this anime.

  •  Nanatsu no Taizai

Nanatsu no Taizai is a fine example on how adventure+fantasy anime should be. The story begins when a wanted princess tries to find the so-called Seven Deadly Sins and gather them together in an attempt to save her kingdom. The plot itself is not too heavy with well balanced comedy and serious moment, and does not overshadowed by the subplot. The main things that really shine within this anime is the characters. Each and every one of them is very fun to watch, especially the Seven Deadly Sins group. The way that they scale their powerlevel however, poses a little bit of question. Sometimes we can see they became overwhelmingly strong, destroying mountain with no problem at all, while at other time the said characters loses against a relatively weak attack. Nevertheless, the fighting scene is very enjoyable, and I have fun watching each and every one of them trying to find all their friends and saving the kingdom. The animation is consistent and colourful, really matches with the theme of the anime and the music is pleasant to the ears. Overall, this is a great anime for those who like adventure filled anime with overpowered characters fighting each others.

Winter Anime 2015

  • Kantai Collection

One of the anime for Winter 2015 that I really hyped for. Reason is I do play the game (level 97 at the point this article is written) and loves each and one of the shipgirls. Kancolle is an anime where Kanmusume (or shipgirls) are deployed to fight against Abyssal battle mimicking a series of historical WW2 naval battle. The show centres around Fubuki, along with her friends, Yuudachi (poi) and Mutsuki, as it focuses on the daily lives of the naval bases and later on get a much more serious note as they embark in various operations. Alright, now on the review. On a biased opinion, there is nothing more exhilarating than to watch your favourite shipgirls moving and talking on the screen, enjoying their daily lives together and how some of them really portrays how the fanbase think they would be. On an unbiased opinion however, the plot is kind of a mess, and the transition between each episode does not flow as smooth. This is the kind of story that you don't have to delve too much into, and focuses more on the characters themselves as the main attraction. Even that is not enough, since the anime only shows a small fractions of the whole casts of the original Kancolle browser game (the lack of Tenryuu does not amuse me). Animation and artwise each of the shipgirls (as well as the abyssal ships) character design are done very well and the way they animate the glittering blue sea are done flawlessly. The only major problem is on how they do the naval battle, as the way they use CG characters are kinda off and feels lacking. The music feels really epic, ranging from happy go lucky theme of the naval base to the more epic orchestral naval battle theme. Overall, I must say I really do enjoy this anime, even if it is mediocre if all thing considered. Note that season 2 had been confirmed. Can't wait to see more kanmusu in action!

  •  Absolute Duo

One of the five battle fantasy harem anime this season. This one however had a higher budget compared to the other, considering the quality of the animation and how it have several different ending songs. Absolute Duo is a story where Tooru Kokonoe enrol in an academy where the student possesses weapon called Blaze, which is a manifestation of their souls and together with his partner, a silver-haired dual-sword wielding loli, try to become the ultimate duo. The anime is rather average to be honest. There is nothing special regarding the plot or animation, and does not stick out so much compared to the other battle harem. The story is really exciting at the beginning, only to die out as the story progress on. There is no clear indication on how or what the duo system should be, other than they work together as a pair. All I can say is that the story had a lot of potential if they emphasize on the system itself, and actually try to tell what happen to the characters past rather than put it as a flashback. Good anime if you want to pass the time, but not really memorable.

  •  Binan koukou chikyuu bouei bu love

Piece of comedic trash. Dropped it at the first 3 episodes.

  •  Durarara!! X2 Shou!

It's been a while since we have seen Durarara; 5 years since the first season. The story of Durarara is about the abnormality of the normal life in the city of Ikebukuro. 3 best friends, each of them had their own darker side to them, from leaders of large gang group to wielder of mystical weapon. The best part of this show is not how the character makes the story, rather it is how the story makes the character. This is the kind of story where you will not know what or who each of the character actually is until the setting progressively tells you how each of the piece connect all of them together. The way the transition move between each character itself is rather complex, yet smoothly. The laid back nature of the story makes it really interesting when something big suddenly happen. The animation is rather distorted sometimes (not sure if this is intentional or some quality issue) and the urban music match up the setting well. For the first cour of the second season, everything seems to be rather incomplete and a jumbled up mess, but given the nature of the previous season, I have a feeling that they will sum it up all on the next cour. If you are a fan of this show, then go watch it.

  •  Death Parade

If you want me to choose which anime this season that emphasize so much on human emotions and darker side of human nature, it is Death Parade. Death Parade is an anime about how the dead are sent to a netherworld bar called Quindecim, where they are judged by an arbiter in a game format judgment before being reincarnated or sent into the void. The first half of the story focuses on the judgment of different characters, each with their own story. The anime then divert to the main story later on, as the main character try to learn the purpose of being an arbiter himself. This is the anime where we would think what separate us from a human to a lifeless puppet (as opposed on the contra between human and monster in Parasyte), the purpose of the living and what makes a fulfilling life. The animation is done superbly, and the classy opening music is a really nice touch to the anime. To sum it up, this anime is more of a collection of stories rather than a big single story. A really nice anime for people who want something different out of norm.

  •  Unlimited Fafnir

Another battle harem themed anime this season. The anime revolves around Mononobe Yuu, a boy enrolled in an all girl school for having the ability to control dark matter, in the quest to protect the people from monsters called 'Dragons'. The story is rather simple, and focuses more on each of the girls past and how the main hero tries help them with their problem, while dealing with the larger Dragon threat. At least the main character here is less cringeworthy. Animation wise is rather acceptable, and each character design is well done. One of the highlight of this anime is how epic the background music is. I really like how they mix the battle scenes with the music together. The opening and ending songs are also pleasant to the ear. It's a rather average anime, but an enjoyable one nevertheless.

You can read the light novel review here.

  •  Koufuku Grafitti

One of the highlight for the slice of life themed anime this season. It's not your average food porn anime. It's a happy go lucky food porn anime. Koufuku (wordplay on two Japanese homonyms—one which means "happiness," and another that means "appetite.") is about the story of Ryou and how she makes friends through her cooking. Being a very light hearted anime, this is like a beacon of light for all those serious anime you've watched this season. Each of the characters are fun to watch, and some of the cooking information are actually rather helpful. The artstyle are really beautiful, as expected for SHAFT and the way they make the food looks so delicious looking are really amazing. Compared to the next season literal food porn Shokugeki no Souma, this is a rather simple and less serious version where even  normal people who are not a pro chef can relate to. If you like food, you would like this anime.

  •  Military!

One of the short anime for this season. The stories revolve around Yano Souhei along with two female soldiers, First Lieutenant Ruto and Second Lieutenant Haruka, appear in tanks to intrude on Souhei's everyday life, the enemy soldier Shachirofu, all of whom use firearms without hesitation at his house. It consists of basically non-stop slapstick humour, over-the-top violence, sexual innuendos and military references. It's not really the kind of show that will make you laugh uncontrollably, but it does consistently manage to put a smile on your face when watching it. A really nice, simple anime to pass the time with.

  •  Aldnoah Zero 2

Aldnoah Zero. The first season left me jaw dropped, questioning over and over again on why they ended it like that. It was a great anime nevertheless. Now, for the second season. I had great expectation for it considering how well the first season is. I hope I won't spoil it much. The story continues 19 month after the first season. Inaho and Asseylum supposed to be 'dead' and Slaine started his new quest to help the Martian to take over the Earth. It went okay for the first few episode. After that, everything started to go wrong. The story didn't flow smoothly as expected, with some random battle here and there. Then we jump back to Slaine stigma towards being a Terran and his new goal to conquer Earth for his beloved princess Asseylum. And then we have Inaho, miraculously survived (we can't have the main character died so easily right?) by some plot armour and continue to kick Martian ass.Not much plot development for the characters other than Slaine, the new princess and some other characters, which leaves a lot of questions to the viewer. The worst part is the sudden introduction of some random characters late in the anime which suddenly changes the course of the story. The ending were terrible, they choose to do a time skip which horrendously ruined the pace of the story. The only thing I love with this anime is the epic mecha battle, and how exquisite the CG detail for the space battle. The background musics are fairly decent and the sound effect done their job well. Should I recommend to watch this anime? If you can endure the terrible way the story progress after the first season, then sure.

  •  Saenai heroine no sodatekata

“So who will you choose, Mr. Protagonist?” -Utaha Kasumigaoka
There is a certain something that makes me really loves this anime. Partly because I could relate directly with the protagonist to achieve his goal (minus the girls of course). Saenai heroine no sodatekata or Saekano for short is an anime where Tomoya Aki, an otaku who wants to fulfill his dream of creating a galgame, after meeting his fateful encounter with a beautiful looking girl on his way home. He assembled his harem... I mean team and together they try to make the best galgame that will cause people to laugh and cry, but also touch their hearts. The best thing about this anime is that every girls is the best girl. We have a bland but supportive main heroine, the sarcastic but classy upperclasswoman (with a touch of yandere), the usual tsundere twin tailed childhood friend and the easy going seductive cousin. All of them are great in their own way. Storywise, the story flow smoothly, and each arc bind them all together flawlessly. The animation is beautiful, and each of the character design manage to emphasize the attractiveness of the characters. The main complaint that I had is that it's not enough. The story ends rather abruptly and their main goal still haven't been accomplished yet. I would like to see more interaction between each and every of the characters, as it was thoroughly enjoyable. Considering the sale and popularity, I would not be surprised if it gets a second season. Overall, a very enjoyable anime, and I highly recommended it.

  •  Shinmai maou no testament

I've watched several episodes and will continue the rest on BD release, since the show is really heavy on censoring. Thus, the rest of the review will be updated soon. One of the top tier for battle harem themed anime this season. Note that season 2 will be coming soon enough.

  • Tokyo Ghoul √A

If I could choose one anime I regret to watch this season, it's the second season of Tokyo Ghoul. Almost everything is wrong with this anime, save for the music. Plot? Character development? Goes down the trash. It's not coherent and really confusing. Animation? The battle animation is really disappointing. It's like the studio is not even trying. I can't say much since I don't enjoy it at all. Hopefully Tokyo Ghoul:re will restore back the series to the day of its glory.

  •  Seiken tsukai no world break

Nii-sama~ Overpowered protagonist? check. Batttle harem? check. Omoidashita? check. The anime revolve around Moroha Haimura, who have the past memories of two of the strongest warrior and magician in the past. He went to a school where the student that possess the memories of their past life have power awakened within them and joined the Saviours. Together they try to fight monsters and all who try to take away from Moroha. The story had a huge potential, and the plot itself flows rather smoothly for the earlier part. It became fast paced later on, and ended with an anime original ending. The main problem however is not the story itself, but rather the QUALITY of the animation. It's rather inconsistent and sometimes really bad. Not that it's matter much since the budget put into this show must be on the low end, but it is cringeworthy sometime. The saving grace of this anime is the characters. The main hero is a overpowered badass that solve every fight with 'I remember!' (Omoidashita), best plot armour ever.The girls are very attractive and fun to watch. The comedy side is rather cliche but enjoyable, and the battle scene is mediocre at best. I love the background music however, even if it's used over and over again in every single scene. This is an anime you would like to watch for the pure fun factor, if you could bear the amount of quality problem here and there and to enjoy nii-sama doing what he does best, trying to remember stuff.

  • Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls

Idol anime, one of the best way to make fanbase out of. Idolm@ster Cinderella girls focuses on 15 girls (that's right) in their daily life of becoming a popular idol. Generic idol themed anime formula, that nevertheless worked well. All of the girls are really lovable, but I must say the best character is the producer. He's formal, not so sensitive yet working real hard to help the girls achieve their dream. The story is more to a slice of life theme, with every episode focused on different idol units on their jobs.The animation is relatively impressive and consistent, and the music is great. They include each of the unit songs at the end of each episode which is a really nice touch. The thing about successful Idol anime is that every time you see those girls dancing on the stage smiling, you will feel very happy inside with a smile on your face without even realising it. I really enjoy this anime for its light-hearted story and the enjoyable casts. Cannot wait for the second season.

Will be continued on Spring 2015

  • Ansatsu Kyoushitsu (Assassination Classroom)

Ansatsu Kyoushitsu or Assassination Classroom is a unique anime with unique plot. It's not your usual slice of life anime with a great teacher teaching a bunch of troublesome students. It's an anime about a yellow octopus that could move super, super fast which is also a great teacher teaching a bunch of troublesome students, who happens to try to assassinate their teacher to save the Earth. The description itself seem rather bizarre, but so far the story is really great. The way each of the characters interact, how they try to solve their problem together as a class while constantly try to kill their teacher makes the story really enjoyable. The animation itself is vibrant and pleasing to the eye, plus with some weird abstract metaphorical representation here and there, and the soundtrack are decent. I will continue to watch this anime in the next season, and recommend for those who haven't yet to watch it.

  •  Jojo Bizarre Adventure Stardust Crusaders: egypt arc

It's Jojo. Go watch it. Now.

Final thought

Winter anime 2015 like I stated before, are rather mediocre. I do have some high expectation to some of them, but in the end, some of them downright dissapoint me. The season was hard carried by the previous season anime, which makes up for the lack of Winter 2015 lineup. Nevertheless, it was enjoyable, and I do look forward for the sequel for some of them. Now then let us move on to the next season anime; the Spring 2015 anime!

See you next time!

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