Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Anime-zing Race, Spring 2015 Edition: Week 3

Now with 200% more shocking twists, just like an actual reality show!
Last week, 16 shows entered the race to be one of the best new shows of Spring 2015. It was a battle to not be the first show on the chopping block, but after a close final dash between Etotama and Punch Line, it was ultimately Punch Line that was the first show to be sent home. Here is a recap of the standings from last week's race:

  1. Sound! Euphonium
  2. Hello! Kinmoza
  3. My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO
  4. Baby Steps Season 2
  5. My love Story
  6. Plastic Memories
  7. The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan
  8. Re-kan
  9. Show by Rock
  10. Wish Upon the Pleiades
  11. Rin-ne
  12. Mikagura School Suite
  13. Food Wars - Shokugeki no Souma
  14. Ultimate Otaku Teacher
  15. Etotama
These fifteen shows stand ready to run the next leg of the race to avoid being last and the next show to be dropped... but wait! What is this...

NEW CHALLENGER ALERT!!!

That's right; at any point in this race, a new show may invade the race to compete for a winning spot. And when a new show appears, that week's race will always have a double elimination! So now racers must avoid being in the two bottom spots to still stay in the race one more week. As for who the new challenger is... well, let's introduce:

Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches - A supernatural rom-com with witches, body-swapping, and kisses... lots and lots of kisses. It might be a week late in joining the race, but if it puts a strong performance, it can still claim a top spot and get its own victory smooch.

This week, all shows will be judged up to (and mainly on) Episode 3, except for Yamada-kun which will be judged up to episode 2 (the most recent episode). So let's begin the next leg of the race!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Bottom 10 of 2014: What Just Did Not Work

I am not normally a negative person. When I watch shows, I watch them with the full intention of liking them, which does more often than not mean my overall evaluation of a show leans toward the positive side as I overlook various flaws the show might have. That does not mean I ignore those flaws, though, and sometimes they do noticeably detract from a show. And sometimes, the best way to know what works for me is to note what does not work.

So here are the parts of shows from 2014 that just did not work for me the most. Many of these come from shows I otherwise liked; in some cases they keep the show from ranking significantly higher, and in other cases they are just black marks on otherwise fantastic shows that I more or less overlook.  I'm not going to bother with stuff like "fanservice" or, say, the yuri in Sakura Trick, since that was aimed at a particular audience that I'm not a part of; rather, I'm looking at those things that were aimed at someone like me but failed to deliver. And, of course, this is my opinion, so you are certainly going to disagree with me; just be respectful and leave a comment on why you disagree, or what you felt the worst parts of 2014 are, or if you do agree with me on one or more of these.

My reaction to these moments.


Monday, April 20, 2015

My Favorite Anime of 2014: #40-49

I've put this off long enough. Time to go over the first ten of the shows I finished in 2014. These shows are technically the worst nine shows I watched, though that is really only a technicality and I did like all of these shows, especially those with a score above 8.0. That's why this all is the Top Anime of 2014. There are no "worst shows", just shows that aren't quite as amazing as others. So let's take a look at these shows, what worked in them and what did not quite work.

This time around, I have two scores with each title. The first is my personal score, out of 10.0, which is the basis I am making this ranking, because after all, this is my personal favorites list. The second score is a "review" score, based on how willing I am to recommend the show to others, based less on my own biases and more on the show's innate strengths. It is by no means an objective score, though, and is also simply my opinion of how much I can recommend this show to others.

The shows here have review scores of B or B-; here's what they both mean:

B (7/10): Good anime. Recommendable to anime fans in general with the understanding that it might not suit a decent portion of the fandom’s tastes. Fun, enjoyable, entertaining, albeit not necessarily memorable, these shows make a good way to pass a lazy day. Has flaws that do stand out, though, keeping the shows in question from being scored higher.

B- (6/10): Above-average anime. Probably only recommended for genre fans, these shows are very much steeped in their tropes and plot devices, with only minimal writing and execution done to make them rise above others like it. Their flaws are easy to find. However, they do have some amount of quality to them that makes them enjoyable and by no means a waste of time for its fans.

Anyway, enough of that; let's get to the shows themselves.


Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Anime-zing Race, Spring 2015 Season Edition: Weeks 1-2

Yes, my picture/text-editing skills are bad.
So here's something I'm doing to evaluate the new shows I'm watching this season. I'm taking all the shows I have some interest in this season and keeping track of how they stack up against each other. In a sort of reality-show style competition, I will eliminate the one show each week with the worst performance, and the shows that survive at the end of the season are the winners... which for this blog just means that they'll get a special post honoring the show, plus guaranteed following of any continuations or sequels.

There are two types of eliminations that can happen to a show:

A show that is out is out of the competition, but I will keep following it for the moment. Shows that are out are eligible for a special runner-up prize... which for this blog is a quick Looking Back post for the show.

A show that is dropped is just that: dropped. This will happen for the first several elimination rounds until I am down to thirteen shows, and will potentially occur from then on out if a show just gets really bad. Shows that are out could also get dropped later, which I will indicate if it happens.

So without further ado, let's introduce the competitors in this race (in alphabetical order):

Baby Steps Season 2 - The second season to a charming tennis show about a diligent note-taker who takes up the sport. Can it keep up the charm and take a top spot?

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan - A spinoff to the popular Haruhi Suzumiya series, but one that is decidedly less supernatural. How far can it take its own strengths and what it has inherited from its parent series?

Etotama - A silly (and somewhat meta) show about a cat having to battle her way into the Chinese zodiac in 3DCG duels. It might be a silly show, but can it hold itself up long enough to reach the end?

Food Wars - Shokugeki no Soma - A shounen cooking-battle show with eating scenes that make Gourmet Girl Graffiti seem G-rated. What kind of a performance can it cook up here?

Hello! Kinmoza - The second season to the cross-cultural classic from 2013 featuring cute blond girls from Britain and their Japanese friends, plus some new faces. It's a favorite of mine, but will that be enough to take it to the top?

Mikagure School Suite - A wacky school battle series based on a series of Vocaloid songs. How will its battle spirit hold up against the other shows fighting it out this season?

My Love Story - A shoujo series about a scary-looking but kind-hearted guy and the girl he falls in love with. It's a show that breaks shoujo conventions, but will that be enough to break its competition too?

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO - The sequel to another great show from 2013, about a group of maladjusted high schoolers as they fumble their way through a high school romcom and make a mess of it along the way. Can this show keep up or improve on its first season and take a top spot as expected?

Plastic Memories - An original series about androids that are nearing the end of their lifespan, and those who have to collect them before they expire. Will this show last in my memories and in this competition to the end?

Punch Line - A show about a guy whose spirit gets separated from his body, and who destroys the world if he sees too many panties. Yeah. Will the punchline be that this is the show that ends up on top?

Re-Kan - A slice of life show about a girl who can see spirits. Will its heartwarming tone keep this show from passing on into the afterworld?

RIN-NE - A shounen show about a girl who can see spirits, from the manga by the legendary Rumiko Takahashi. Can this work by a big-name artist avoid crossing over to the other side?

Show by Rock - A cute show featuring Sanrio characters who turn into CGI chibis to rock out and defend the world against dark music demons. If that sounds out of whack, that might be what this show needs to get to the end.

Sound! Euphonium - A show about a school concert band. As a former band player, this show is right up my alley and could be a top contender for this contest.

Ultimate Otaku Teacher - An otaku teacher tries to teach students with his special otaku ways. With teacher shows gaining popularity, can this show ride that wave to a top finish?

Wish Upon the Pleiades - A classic magical girl series that eschews the depressing stuff Madoka Magica made popular for more lighthearted fare. Can it finish the race and possibly convince me to make my next car a Subaru?

Well, there are the contestants. Without further ado, let's start the race!


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A Series of Miracles to focus entirely on moe anime!

...Happy April Fool's Day, everyone. (Besides, it's not like I don't already focus too much on moe anime as it is...)

On a serious note, my apologies for not being more active with this blog. I'll be trying to finish up the Best of 2014 series over the Spring season, as well as write some other posts for this blog. In the meantime, if you haven't seen my posts on Beneath the Tangles on The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls, you can check them out through the links below.

When Will My Time Come? (Episode 5)
Too Great Expectations? (Episodes 6-7)
Relational Risk (Episode 7)

So while I won't be exclusively covering moe anime, I think I will still end up talking a lot about them, as long as they give me plenty to talk about. But I'll definitely try to find things worth talking about in other types of shows.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Winter 2015: What I'm Watching

Yeah, I'm late on this, because I've first been finishing up all the 2014-ending shows I was behind on before catching up with all of this season's new shows. (I'm still behind on a number of shows that started last year and are continuing into this season.) For now, though, let's look at this season's new shows. Since I'm doing this so late, this post will double as a sort of mid-season impressions post.

And yes, there's only one part this time; I only picked up nine new shows, so I figured I would just put them all in one post.

You can jump to any show directly by clicking on the links below:

Assassination Classroom
Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!
Death Parade
Dog Days''
Gourmet Girl Graffiti
Kamisama Kiss Season 2
Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend
The iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls
The Rolling Girls


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I am now a writer for Beneath the Tangles!

Time for some special news. I am now officially part of the writing team for Beneath the Tangles!

Beneath the Tangles is the anime blog that inspired me to do my own blogging about Christian themes in anime, and I have been a big fan of the site for a while, so I am definitely honored to join their team. If you have not checked it out yet, I definitely recommend doing so.

As for what this means for this blog... well, it will still continue, although I plan to move continual coverage of ongoing shows to that site. This blog will move somewhat toward being more of a personal blog about my anime experience, though faith-based posts will not entirely disappear; they will probably be geared more toward older series, though. I will post links to any posts I write on that site here, too.

All that said, for all my readers, thank you for reading my blog and I hope you continue to join me in my exploration of Christian themes in anime, both at Beneath the Tangles and here. And if you have found this site from there, welcome!