Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fall 2014: What I'm Watching (Part 2)

Time to cover the second half of the new shows I'm following this season. It's worth noting that I have one other show under consideration: Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru; however, my impression of the first two episodes is that I'm going to need to give it the 3-episode rule. If I do decide to add it in, I'll probably do so as a Weekly Rambling.

There are a number of direct sequels in this part. In fact, so far, overall the sequels have given the strongest offerings so far, though that's not unexpected; whereas the new shows are still building their foundations and setting up for what could be strong payoffs, the sequels are building off what their initial seasons have already proven to be their strengths. So while I have a good feeling about a number of the new shows, the sequels are currently what I'm liking most. But that could very well change as the other shows develop.

Once again, here are some links to each show in this part; they will take you directly to the show in question below.

In Search of the Lost Future (Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete)
Mushishi -The Next Passage- 2 (Mushishi Zoku Shou 2)
When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace (Inou Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de)

Kokkuri-san, out to haunt college students everywhere.
Kohina Ichimatsu is a young girl who has eschewed human contact, claiming she is just a doll. She decides to summon Kokkuri-san via playing an old, Ouija-like children's game... and actually ends up summoning the fox spirit Kokkuri-san. While initially just around for a quick haunting, he soon takes pity upon the girl when he realizes she eats nothing but instant cup noodles all the time, and decides to haunt her full-time. Over time, other spirits such as the dog spirit Inugami visit and start haunting her as well.

This show looks to be the comedy of the season. This show has a fun, sometimes biting sense of humor that makes it if nothing else quite funny. But it does have something else: a certain sense of melancholy in the character of Kohina, who definitely is lonelier than she claims to be. And if the show can keep up the humor (and perhaps not get too hung up on Inugami's creepier tendencies) while further looking at Kohina's opening up to people, it can go beyond just being a good comedy to being a good show.

Gugure! Kokkuri-san is streaming on Crunchyroll.

Japanese title: Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete

Sometimes, when looking up to the stars, the stars look back down on you.
Sou Akiyama lives a relatively normal high school life with his childhood friend, Kaori, and the other members of the Astronomy Club, Airi, Nagisa, and Kenny. However, his everyday life is (literally) shaken up when a mysterious earthquake happens and Sou finds a mysterious girl, Yui, in the aftermath. Now the Astronomy Club must figure out what is going on with Yui and the mysterious happenings suddenly happening around the school. And what is this about an alternate timeline involving an unforeseen tragedy?

This is the fourth and final visual novel adaptation in my watchlist. Much of it harkens to the classics like Kanon with its supernatural elements, dramatic elements, and perhaps some tragic elements. It's not too notable otherwise, but it works well enough so far that I'm invested in following it further. It should be a good show for fans of visual novel adaptations.

In Search of the Lost Future is streaming on Funimation.

Hope you're in the mood for more Database (because the show didn't have the budget to change the opening song).
Sequel Alert: This is a direct sequel to the first season of Log Horizon. Watch that first.

When I first had my eye on Log Horizon this time last year, it looked to me like little more than a standard anime based on an MMORPG, much like a certain show about sword arts. However, Log Horizon eventually proved to be so much more. Written by the same author behind Maoyu, Log Horizon eschews action-filled plots against clear villains for a show that explores the logistics and sociological aspects of MMOs: economics, party interactions, politics, and the like. It even explores various aspects of MMOs that we take for granted, such as the role of NPCs. This might bore the more action-focused anime audience that SAO appealed to so much, but it makes for a much more interesting MMO-based show to me, and the first season ended up becoming one of the biggest, most pleasant surprises of the last year. This second season is continuing in the first season's traditions, and should be a great ride for fans of the first season.

Both seasons of Log Horizon are streaming on Crunchyroll.

Mushishi -The Next Passage- Season 2
Japanese title: Mushishi Zoku Shou Season 2

No matter how sore your feet are, this show will make you shiver.

Sequel Alert: This is a sequel to not only the first season of Mushishi, but also the first half of the second season that aired in Spring. The stories in Mushishi are overall standalone and can be enjoyed without seeing everything beforehand; however, with this final season looking to close this story out, chances are continuity will matter more in this season than before. At any rate, you would be selling yourself short if you watch Mushishi without planning to watch all of it; it is the type of show that demands experiencing in its entirety to really get a whole picture of its lore.

I already covered the first episode of this new season (which isn't really a new season or the first episode, all things considered), and mentioned in there what a fan of the show I have become. As I mentioned in that post's introduction, there's a lot to love about this show: the atmosphere, the introspective look at human nature, and Ginko's role in the story. It's a wonderful example of how anime works as an art form, and if you don't mind slow-paced stories, it's a show I really cannot recommend strongly enough.

Both seasons of Mushishi -The Next Passage-, including the two specials, are streaming on Crunchyroll. The first season of Mushishi is streaming on Hulu.

The anime anime.
In high school, Aoi Miyamori and her fellow Animation Club members Misa, Shizuka, Ema, and Midori made a promise to meet again in the world of professional animation. Several years later, Aoi works as an animation director at an emerging anime company, faced with the usual workplace complications of incompetent co-workers, production schedules, and directorial changes in the story. As for her fellow animation club members, Ema is working as a novice key animator, Shizuka is out there as a voice actor, and the rest... they're out there, too. Maybe reality isn't as glamorous as they thought it would be when they were students, but for better for for worse, these girls are living their dream.

P.A. Works has finally run out of ideas for slice of life original shows and has resorted to making an anime about making an anime. In all seriousness, though, this is not a bad thing at all; anime about working adults is a rare commodity in the anime world, and as much as I like my high school settings, I certainly appreciate the change of pace. The show itself is a fun look at what happens at animation companies, and while the realism of the whole thing is sometimes questionable (and hard to prove unless you've actually worked in the industry itself), even without the anime-making, the show works well as a picture of workplace, with all the sorts of personalities that populate workplaces. There are a ton of characters in this show and only some of them get development, but there's certainly potential for some more character-based focus, probably revolving around the original five girls. At any rate, this is quite a unique show, and a very fun one at that.

Shirobako is streaming on Crunchyroll.

Japanese title: Inou Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de

All of the powers, none of the pressure of having to save the world. (Maybe they can save anime instead.)
July (Jurai) Andou is a major chuunibyou. His days consist of goofing off with the girls of the Literature Club, Tomoyo, Sayumi, Hatoko, and Chifuyu, who tolerate his chuuni delusions to various extents. But his delusions become reality when one day, everyone in the club gains supernatural powers: Tomoyo gains the ability to manipulate time, Sayumi can restore anything to its original state, Hatoko has complete mastery over the elements, and Chifuyu can create anything she can imagine. And July... he can create a lukewarm, dark-colored flame. (He kind of lost the superpower lottery.) Of course, this must mean that they have been called to fight the forces of evil... except six months pass and nothing happens. So instead, they spend their days goofing off with their powers. But while the forces of evil don't seem to be appearing anytime soon, their daily lives are tough enough with their own troubles as well as the presence of others who have gained powers.

After working on various original projects such as Inferno Cop, Little Witch Academia, and Kill la Kill, Studio Trigger has finally succumbed to the pressure of adapting an existing work--and a light novel, at that... and as a result, they have made what looks to be not only my favorite work of theirs yet, but also my favorite non-sequel show this season. Funny how that works. But there's a lot to this show that makes it not just another harem light novel adaptation. For one, the characters are all a lot of fun, and their interactions with each other are reasonable and natural (something that is very important in these shows). Even the male lead is great in this respect, as he provides a lot of amusement with his chuunibyou antics, but as the show shows, he has a lot of heart, too, and puts a lot of thought into otherwise small things. I also rather like the premise: high school students gaining supernatural powers is fun and all, but one would think that one day, they would get them and not have anything to use them on... well, here's the show that looks at just that. There's definitely a lot of feels in all of this, too... yeah, I'm definitely in love with this show.

When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace is streaming on Crunchyroll.

Japanese title: Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso

Because sometimes, April Fool's Day is more than just a harmless prank.
Kousei was a young piano prodigy, until one day when he lost his mother and became unable to play the piano. The world lost all its color to him that day. His childhood friend Tsubaki decides to help him out by introducing him to her friend, Kaori, a vibrant violinist with a very unique playing style. The meeting between Kousei and Kaori brings color back into Kousei's world, and perhaps lead him back into the world of classical music.

There are two sides of this show, one that I'm still sort of skeptical on at the moment, and one which I'm absolutely in love with. On one hand, there's definitely a romantic drama going on here, and that part so far is pretty standard, and is more likely to annoy me than inspire me. It's not being done bad, and I think I can at least hope that that part is executed well enough to not take away from the other part of the show, the part that is its true lifeblood: the music. As someone for whom music has been a major part of my life, I'm always up for a good music story, especially in anime where said music can actually be played out and heard. And here, this show has not disappointed, with a concert scene in the second episode that is absolutely mind-blowing. This show will have to balance the music with the romantic drama carefully, but if it can do so, this show should become one of my favorites this season.

Your lie in April is streaming on Crunchyroll.

This show's final goal? Use one entire episode to cover one meter of racing.
Sequel Alert: This is a direct sequel to the first season of Yowamushi Pedal, which aired from Fall 2013 to Spring 2014. Watch that first.

Yowamushi Pedal has a lot of things going on for it. Its cast of characters are largely fun and interesting, and for as much as the show seems to drag every kilometer out over five episodes, the races are still full of a lot of excitement. The new season jumps right back into the action, and even does something nice in making one of the opposing teams, before a major annoyance with the presence of one of the most annoying characters in all of anime, actually somewhat understandable, if  not necessarily likable. Still, that has gone a long way toward making me look forward to this show again after a somewhat lukewarm feeling at the end of the first season.

Both seasons of Yowamushi Pedal are streaming on Crunchyroll.


So, now that I have all these shows I'm watching, plus the continuing Yama no Susume Second Season and Sailor Moon Crystal, I bet you have many questions. Like, why am I not watching shows like Parasyte, World Trigger, Akatsuki no Yona, or (insert other, probably more action-based show here)? Well, first of all, I'm not big on horror, so Parasyte is out. As for other shows, I did have several other shows under consideration if any of the shows I had covered in these two parts fell through. Thing is, none of them fell through, and now I'm left with a loaded slate of shows, all of which I'm looking forward to quite a bit. Thus, due to time constraints, I'm not considering any more shows until after they have aired.

Also, you might be wondering what further coverage I'll be giving these shows, like the continued coverage I gave Hanayamata and Barakamon last season. Well, as I mentioned in recent posts, I will be covering A good librarian like a good shepherd (under its Japanese name Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai), and I am also considering covering Mushishi from here on out as well. And, of course, if any other shows provide some worthwhile connections to Christianity, I'll talk about those as well. Other than that... I plan on having a new weekly post series, "3 for 3", in which I write three paragraphs on my thoughts on the latest episodes of three shows. Which shows? Two of them will be Celestial Method and When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace, and as for the third, that one might change from week to week, depending on which other show I feel like talking about that week.

In the meantime, though, I really should go and finish that Barakamon wrap-up post...

1 comment:

  1. Your lie in April: a beautiful looking show, almost no fanservice, an inetresting story and characters... but what ruined it?

    The imploration Kaori did before her recital.

    These words together were used in a Hayate the Combat Butler episode, a videogame, and a yaoi fan manga… an something from an occult text… very disturbing.

    It was such a beautiful looking series… what they had to include that?

    Inou Battle Within Everyday Life: Is interesting and has some hilarious moments, the characters are nice and varied too. And surprisingly for a show of that style, mostly fanservice-free, except for some details, like the breast bouncing animation form a character in the op (the black haired one), and a partial pantyshot (although these looked like some type of shorts). What is bothering me is the older brother of the red-head, with the references to demons… I hope it doesn’t turn into a case like the second season of Chuunibyou (that I dropped because the yuri and what I’m mentioning next) where the new girl in a water park episode did some sort of “imploration", mentioning demons by name.

    Shirobako: Some tasteless jokes in the first ep. (like certain image that appeared in the imagination of the director after he heard something). I haven’t watched episodes 3 and 4 yet.

    I was expecting more focus on the first girls.

    In Search of Lost Future(Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete): I like that one, it has a very interesting story. Although the animation sometimes includes cgi, but surprisingly, the transitions are rather smooth. For being a +18 VN adaptations, the first two episodes (the ones I’ve seen) are almost fanservice-free (except some censored nudity at the beginning and end of the first ep), the characters are interesting too.