2015 winter anime impressions part 2

Published
2015-02-02 00:00:00
Category
sankaku

Continuing from part 1.

Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love!

This show is gay, as in "contains characters and event that are suggestive of male homosexuality". It's not as blatant as, say, Free!, but it's certainly up there. It falls somewhere in between shows like Daily Lives of High School Boys and Kimi to Boku., which only feel gay if one is extremely homophobic, and shows like Free!, which are blatantly gay.

In other words, it's not exactly my type of show, but I watched a fair bit of it because it seemed interesting. The premise is that a group of high school students are recruited by an alien wombat to protect the planet against another group of high school students recruited by an alien porcupine. However, even a handful of episodes into the show it maintains a dull villain-of-the-week rhythm which bores quickly.

Yurikuma Arashi

If Binan is blatantly gay, then Yurikuma Arashi is blatantly lesbian. But while Binan is episodic doldrums, Yurikuma is a crazy roller coaster of symbolism and love. Directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara, who is known for (among others) Revolutionary Girl Utena and Mawaru Penguindrum, the story unfolds slowly as the show progresses, but nothing is quite clear at first.

In this world, bears began to attack humans after the remains of the planet Kumaria fell from the sky. The humans erected the Wall of Severance to keep out the bears. It is futile however, as bears infiltrate human society, disguised as humans. One bear, Ginko Yurishiro, crosses the Wall to pursue her love for a human, Kureha Tsubaki, accompanied by another bear, Lulu Yurigasaki, who is devoted to Ginko. This odd trio finds themselves facing the mysterious Invisible Storm, who reject and punish those who refuse to become "invisible", and the challenge issued by the Wall of Severance: "Will you give up on love? or..."

Kantai Collection: KanColle

This show is a love letter to KanColle fans. It falls into the general category of "military slice of life", such as Sora no Woto, Strike Witches, or K-On!: there is some plot moving toward a conclusion, such as a war, that progresses in spurts occasionally, but the gaps in between are filled with slice-of-life antics and character and world development. Here, there is an ongoing war against the Abyssals, however much of the show focuses on the Ship Girl characters.

The girls are cute, and the episodes are sufficiently interesting, but otherwise the show isn't particularly notable, except that, like the KanColle game itself, the anime provides a great opportunity for tangential learning.

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso

A (melo)dramatic musical romance. To summarize succinctly, this show explores the emotional journeys of its characters through music. At the center lies a lost pianist who grew up under the abusive instruction of his late mother, and a bright violinist dying to express herself.

Not a breakthrough innovative drama by any means, but very well written otherwise, and the art and music (of course) is excellent.

Garo: Honoo no Kokuin

This show is an anime spin-off of the GARO tokusatsu TV series. I don't watch tokusatsu shows, but think Kamen Rider and you won't be far off.

Without spoiling anything, the show itself is quite good. Thematically, Garo is very dark. It is driven by its strong plot, characters, and world (so, everything, basically).

Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata

A standard high school harem show that feels somewhat like Oregairu (Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru.). This one actually has a plot, despite not being a VN adaptation: the main cast is working on a VN of their own, at the behest of the otaku male lead. It contains self-referential humor, as one would expect.

Ansatsu Kyoushitsu

On the surface, Ansatsu Kyoushitsu has a wacky premise. A man-made living weapon (who is later named Koro-sensei) escapes and destroys most of the moon in one shot. The creature effortlessly evades all attempts to kill it, and issues an ultimatum that it be allowed to teach a class of delinquent students, who will have the chance to kill it before it destroys the planet in a year.

However, the real focus of the show is on the students and how they grow under the tutelage of a caring teacher, having been abandoned by the rest of their school and society.

Death Parade

This is a full anime adaptation of one of the Young Animator projects, Death Billiards. It's decent, but doesn't particularly stand out in any way. The concept, where pairs of people who have died are judged through a game to determine their destination, works well as a one-shot, but why this got a full anime and not, say, Little Witch Academia is a mystery.

Cross Ange

A grand mecha show which seems to be following in Guilty Crown and Valvrave's footsteps as a "so bad it's good" kind of show. However, Cross Ange is actually good, surprisingly. It focuses primarily on the development of the female lead character, who struggles to understand the world she lives in and to find her place in it. Along the way, the show explores the motivations and struggles of the other characters, and raises philosophical questions about discrimination, happiness, and social contentment.

The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls

An adaptation of its namesake. I actually went and finished watching the The iDOLM@STER anime, which I liked, however Cinderella Girls I do not like so much. The execution and pacing of the former was spot on, developing each of the idols individually and interspersed with a few short plot arcs, following the overall plot of the group of idols advancing in their careers. However, Cinderella Girls's pacing is too slow, focusing overly much on only a few of the girls, whose characters are shallower than those in the first series. This is probably a consequence of the Cinderella Girls game having hundreds of idols, such that all of them become bland cardboard cutouts.

Shirobako

An interesting look at the inside of the anime industry through the eyes of a group of high school student aiming to make their own anime a reality. It's interesting if you are interested at all in anime and you should watch it because it's interesting. Here's a glossary of terms that may come in handy, courtesy of the fine folks at Altair & Vega.

Durarara!!x2 Shou

A continuation of the first season. Feels like more Durarara!!, which feels like Baccano, if you have watched one but not the other for some reason.

Rollingā˜†Girls

I'm not sure what this show is, but it's pretty fun to watch. True to its name, it seems to focus on a group of girls who roll around on their motorcycles from place to place helping people. The show also has a strong focus on music, and I believe the titles of each episode are references to songs.

Koufuku Graffiti

A work by SHAFT that does the term "food porn" justice. It can be generously described as a lighthearted story held together with food. Genre-wise, it's not quite a slice-of-life as there's a clear progression of time and feels similar to Sasami-san@Ganbaranai (in other words, it feels like SHAFT).

As they say, food is happiness, especially when shared with others. A comfy show.

Dog Days''

The third season of the anime original Dog Days series. It can be fairly accurately described as pure unadulterated lighthearted fun. If "comfy" were a real word (it is), and it were possible for an anime to be literally physically comfy to watch, then Dog Days would be literally physically comfy to watch, accompanied with a big blanket and a mug of hot chocolate.

Junketsu no Maria

Literally, The Virgin Mary, which provides a refreshing take on the old biblical tale, taking full advantage of artistic license. Here, Maria is a heathen witch who despises violence and strives to stop war, causing trouble for everyone and even inciting the wrath of the heavens. The struggle between her ideals and the reality of the human heart and the human condition is thought-provoking, and magic aside, the show is surprisingly historically accurate (though I'm no historian).

Yoru no Yatterman

The 40th anniversary tribute to Yatterman. Not having watched the original, it appears to be a children's cartoon where the villains show up every episode with a plot and big robot, and the children show up with their robot to save the day.

However, Yoru no Yatterman is a serious inversion on its predecessor. Here, the Yatterman are the villains, ruling over a dystopia whose people live in constant fear. The Dorombo are now the lonely heroes, struggling against the great Yatterman empire. What hasn't changed, however, is the Dorombo's inevitable defeat every episode and their stubborn persistence, but now that persistence is no longer a source of humor but a ray of hope.

Rakuen Tsuihou

This is a film that aired just before the start of this season, featuring full CGI animation and an all-star cast. It's a great movie, and it raises interesting questions about a hypothetical virtual future.