[previous update]

Another two weeks and another update I guess! I picked up one more show today so an update sounds good.

Full Series
1. Akuma no Riddle [▲ 1] – 7 eps, 9/10 – [PLANNED IMPORT] Trading places again! After episode 5 I said I was hoping they’d mix up the formula, and then the very next episode delivers. 6 and 7 are the two best episodes of the show yet. Six should have been ridiculous but managed to really make me care about the characters involved, and it sped up the game up nicely too. Seven legitimately was completely fucking ridiculous but also the best ep yet because it was just outlandishly amusing. Not to mention Nio in top form! I dread the thought of losing Isuke if she makes an attempt soon though, because her and Nio providing sarcastic commentary on events is one of my favorite aspects of the show. Also THIS MAHIRU FACE.

2. Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka? [▼ 1] – 6 eps, 9/10 – [PLANNED IMPORT] Two great episodes since last time but man I miss the gorgeous animation they spoiled us with in ep 4. Mayu and Megu being adopted by Cocoa as imoutos was adorable, as was Chino dealing with feeling lonely afterward. Don’t cry Chino, you’ll always be Cocoa’s imouto #1. Episode 6 was also amazing because wow. Chiya has legitimately become my favorite Gochiusa girl tho. I liked her best after ep 4 but thought maybe it’d be a temporary thing. After 5 and 6, I’m convinced she’s the real deal.

3. Hitsugi no Chaika [▲0▼] – 6 eps, 8.5/10 – [PLANNED IMPORT] Episode 4 was very weak, to the point where I second-guessed continuing the show. But the episode 5 introduced the first big twist, and it was executed exceptionally. Episode 6 then maintained that level of quality and now I’m totally on board – especially after this was confirmed as split cour, meaning it should finish the novels. All those combined to bump it to import-tier. And how could I say no to this face? I guess the Sutepri author still manages to deliver again all these years later.

4. No Game No Life [▲new▼] – 6 eps, 7.5/10 – I figured I had time to spare for one more show, and of the titles on Crunchyroll (I can’t be fucked to bother with for fansubs outside of a few cases anymore) that I hadn’t started, only this and Mushishi interested me enough. Since I didn’t see the first season I didn’t feel like jumping in on Mushishi (even if it’s episodic) which left NGNL. A bunch of people who usually dislike light novel adaptations vouched for it even this late into the season, so I gave it a shot (just like Chaika). And yeah it’s definitely pretty good. Steph abuse is easily the most amusing thing about the show (especially with Shiro being the one to drive a lot of it) but it’s got other good traits too. Sora and Shiro (amusingly voiced by the seiyuu behind Sakurasou’s Sorata and Mashiro, not to mention same director) have a very good dynamic. It’s intimate without bring creepy (yes there’s fanservice of Shiro but it’s more for the audience than for Sora) and conveys the feeling of two people who have grown up only having each other. They think as one, act as one, and explicitly stress this when they say Kuuhaku is two people in one. It’s a lot of fun to watch. If the story can just manage to avoid having Kurami or Feel (who are so shippable) fall for Sora I think I’m going to really enjoy this one in the end.

And even if it fell apart it’d still go down as the best shiritori game in anime, just edging out Kitakubu. The twist of being able to erase or create the things you say managed to set up the single craziest scene I’ve watched this season. We manage to go from this to this to this to this because, fuck why not. RTS chess was good, but hypernova shiritori was so much better.

Main downside so far is the color scheme. It’s like someone put GoHands through a centrifuge, extracted their wacky color palette/filter essence, bred it into something more monstrous, and animated a whole show like that. Yeesh. Really nice character designs, though! I love Shiro’s messy hair in particular. Anyway it’s a keeper, provided it keeps focus on the insane games and not on building a harem.

5. Jojo no Kimyou na Bouken: Stardust Crusaders [▼ 1] – 7 eps, 7/10 – This is still worth watching but it doesn’t feel nearly as tightly told a story as Part 1 or Part 2 (but again, I did marathon those, so). “Stand of the week” is pretty hit or miss, and it feels like we’re going to be in this mode for quite some time. Not in any danger of being dropped, but I’m looking it more as a decent time-killer than something I get specifically excited about.

Short Series
1. Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san6 eps, 8/10 – [PLANNED IMPORT] This show is really into teasing us with NTR, but inu and neko are inseparable in the end.

2. Puchimas!!41 eps, 8/10 – Join them. Also Yayo x Io and Yayoi x Iori shipping. Puchimas is happiness.

3. Mahou Shoujo Taisen7 eps, 7/10 – Matsuri was great, sexual harassment rocket punch was godawful. I already like the third arc better, starting out with a really well animated opening battle and the least annoying mascot of the three by far. Surprisingly serious start to this arc too, so I’m pretty interested.

Dropped Series
Nothing so far

3+ Cour Series
1. Fairy Tail – Still loving this underground battle, even if this show really, really does not seem to comprehend how lava works. Latest episode was pretty weak overall, with not much Wendy and rather goofy pacing in the Lucy fight.

2. Hunter x Hunter – Everything from the recent major fight onward was pretty good, though the episode I just watched took a good two minute scene and stretched it into what felt like 10, which was rather irritating. Oh well, good fight next ep, I hope?

37 Responses to “Spring 2014 viewing update #3”

  1. Fubji says:

    “Steph abuse is easily the most amusing thing about the show”
    Ha, that’s weird, I think it’s the most annoying thing in this show. But it’s pretty good otherwise.

    • something says:

      Steph just isn’t Steph if she’s not having a truly terrible day. At the same time, the only thing better than her having a terrible day is the rare bits when something nice happens to her, like Sora and Shiro thanking her, or realizing she’s actually a genius in certain ways, and such. Steph is the best character in the show, easily.

  2. scineram says:

    Really glad at least someone plans to buy Chaika. Split cour was a huge relief. I haven’t seen Scrapped Princess (planning now), but I really liked Outbreak Company (seen it?). The author definitely has wit and charm to his stories.

    I like Stradust Crusaders a lot, but I still feel it has yet to catch up to the first two arcs. They can take their time now, but Battle Tendency and especially Phantom Blood were really helped by having to be a bit rushed. Plus Stroheim, Speedwagon and Dire Straits are hard to live up to. Joseph hasn’t even said yet what the opponent is going to say. But on its own it’s a lot of fun + Kugyuuu!!

    • something says:

      Oh, Outbreak Co was the Surepri/Chaika author? No I haven’t seen it, though it’s a very different sort of story (whereas Chaika and Sutepri are really similar) so I guess liking those might not imply liking Outbreak Co.

      And yeah, I’m picking some real winners to import this season…

      • Akuma no Riddle – immense flop, unlikely to even sell 1000 units, already gone past its manga so probably an original ending and no sequel
      • Hitsugi no Chaika – probable sub-2k flop, already split cour with novels ending soon so we’re guaranteed to get the whole story regardless of sales
      • Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san – A short, disc sales barely matter anyway

      Only Gochiusa is really at a point where sales matter. Though they matter quite a lot for it, it’s a bit below Kinmosa territory leaving it right on the cusp of a possible sequel.

      Oh well! I’ve been throwing money away for this long, why stop now?

      • musouka says:

        Barring a miracle, I don’t think Akuma no Riddle was ever going to be a hit. However, I am happy it was made, even if it failed to grab me personally, and I hope it at least exceeds expectations for the production committee so we won’t once again enter the yuri desert for half a decade.

        • something says:

          I don’t think it ever had much of a chance either but it’s just, like, way way depressingly dead as dirt. Though I was amused to see Tokaku top the newtype female character ranking. I mean for one, what, Tokaku? She’s okay, but not any of the everyone else in the show that is more interesting? And two, wtf people besides me are even watching the show? Clearly not a disc buying audience though…

          At least the OP has done pretty decently, over 12k now. Nice debut for Uchida Maaya.

          Still really disappointing overall though, because goddamn it’s so good, even completely setting aside any of the (clearly there and relevant but not a defining focus) yuri undertones.

      • hpulley says:

        And here I thought I would be the only one importing Hitsugi no Chaika! CDs bought already and Bluray volume one ordered, CDJapan bonus novel and mousepad convinced me to order it early.

        Gochiusa still has to sell me. It is still missing a certain something for me to buy it. I didn’t buy Kinmoza either while I did get NNB and Yuyushiki, loved them both immediately.

        Inugamisan to Nekoyamadan is easy being a short and it is such a fun show.

        • something says:

          If Gochiusa hasn’t sold you yet, you have no soul and are unsellable!

          • hpulley says:

            My soul I cannot say i have proof of that but my shelves of discs show I am quite sellable! Too sellable… And yet Gochiusa… Not yet. Maybe today will be the day.

  3. rederoin says:

    The seasons is turning out to be better than I expected. Mostly thanks to Akuma no Riddle, Gochuisa, NGNL , InuNeko and Wixoss.

    A shame all of those are only 1-cour(although wixoss was first listed as 2-cour split-cour ;_;)

  4. mk03 says:

    Well, maybe you should now give Love Live a shot. I know it’s an idol show and you tend to avoid such shows, but it should be friendly to your yuri goggles. The anime is getting gayer by the episode, and the manga is even more gay (or at least from what I heard, since I haven’t read it yet.)

    • something says:

      I’ve gone over this before.

      Being sort of ambiguously “gay” doesn’t make a bland show with uninteresting characters and no concept of emotional weight worth watching. Season one was the worst executed cute girls doing cute things anime I’ve ever watched. I’m not going to watch season two. That’s all there really is to it.

    • rederoin says:

      Its not even the gayest show of the season, for that we have Akuma no Riddle, InuNeko, Gochuisa and Wixoss. And I agree with something that the characters are rather unintresting.

    • Progeusz says:

      >I know it’s an idol show and you tend to avoid such shows
      Huh? Is that true? I never got that impression. I only know about something’s aversion to CG and harems.

      I’ll join something and rederoin here, I’m not too impressed with Love Live. I agree about characters not being outstanding (though I wouldn’t be so harsh – I really like Kotori, Maki and Nozomi, only Rin and Nico are uninteresting to me). However my main gripe with it is drama, particularly its quality (really stupid, unnecessary stuff) and amount (basically half of the show). During S2 it occurred to me that repetitiveness of said drama is also a problem, it’s same crap all the time. When there’s no drama, show can be really good – camp, concerts, training, fooling around (average CG still hurts, especially when I know that Sunrise is capable of much more) – but stuff like Rin “riidaa” episode two weeks ago is a torture to watch.

      • something says:

        The only idol shows I’ve ever liked are Idolmaster (which I absolutely fucking adore) and Utapri (which is very very dumb, but I wouldn’t like it if it weren’t). So yeah, I’ve described myself – maybe not here but definitely on twitter – as not a fan overall of idol shows.

        • Progeusz says:

          Oh, that’s the reason. I tend to avoid twitter because it’s hard to find anything there.

          Well, there aren’t that many idol shows to be honest and all of them are very different so I’m not even sure if it’s possible to call oneself fan of idols shows (or not a fan) as it’s hard to define what “idol show” really is besides being about idols. What’s else there besides iM@S, UtaPri, 0048, LL, Aikatsu and WUG anyway? I absolutely adore first and third, like fourth, sixth was nice, have yet to watch other two.
          I enjoyed KamiNomi’s Kanon OVA a lot. I guess Symphogear is about idols to some extent and I really like it.

          iM@S and WUG are probably the most idol-like ones, not enough to announce the judgement in my opinion. Especially when latter one was supposed to be more of a “deconstruction”.

          • hpulley says:

            WUG isn’t a deconstruction in my opinion and I don’t think it was ever intended to be a deconstruction. It is or was supposed to be a more realistic look at the business. I think it did well at that but also had its own overall theme laid out from the beginning in the movie and wrapped up beautifully in the end of the series. I’m a big fan so I’m biased. I enjoy both LoveLive! and WUG and am importing both. But to each their own, what what you like, buy what you love!

  5. hpulley says:

    Best episode and ED of the season for Akuma no Riddle in episode 8 IMO!

    Another show I really, really wanted to love and buy. Really did. If they were all like this episode I might have… but some earlier ones I just don’t understand why Haru did what she did, some things that really bothered me. Really too bad. Maybe just get the ED CDs or something (wanted to love the OP too but didn’t enough to buy it).

    • rederoin says:

      I though the 6th ED was most fitting for/best of the series. But I do agree, that as a standalone, the 8th ED is the best one so far. How lovely for a show to have 11 different EDs, makes me wonder what’ll do with the last 2.

    • something says:

      As far as music this season, I’m importing:

      • Akuma no Riddle OP
      • Akuma no Riddle ED (all 3 discs)
      • Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka? OP
      • Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka? ED
      • Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san theme song
      • No Game No Life OP
      • No Game No Life ED

      NGNL OP CD has a cover of EZFG’s Cyber Thunder Cider which is like, super surprising and just as awesome. EZFG is a Vocaloid producer I’ve liked for a long time, and he finally got his first major Vocaloid album released (IT’S REALLY GOOD). So I’m very glad to see them getting some work composing something for an anime.

      While I usually import OP/EDs for shows I import on BD, I’m not sure if I like Chaika’s OP/ED enough. They’re fine, but I’m not fully sold yet.

      • hpulley says:

        Already have Chaika OP, OST ordered. ED is weaker than the OP so I hesitated to buy it but it will be here on Monday with…

        Sidonia OP and ED, Eri Kitamura and Angela, just great stuff IMO and with…

        Brynhildr OST/OP/ED CD and…

        Isshuukan Friends ED. I wanted to love the OP since I love Natumi Kon but it just doesn’t do it for me.

        Already have Mahouka OP and ED though likely that will be the only support for that show. Just love the Lisa OP and Elisa ED.

        I’m getting all the LoveLive!2 discs, already have OP and ED. All 3 IS CDs and OST ordered.

        Black Bullet ED, I love yanaginagi and it is a more rockin’ song than she usually does. I love Fripside but the Black Bullet OP is just not their best work IMO.

        I love Konomi Suzuki so I should be getting the NGNL OP but it just hasn’t hooked me yet.

        From past seasons…

        I’m still collecting all the Daiichi Uchuu Sokudo (Super Sonico, Suzu…) albums.Rainbow, Moonlight, More, Start Up…

        And the WCW charasong album, I just love KMM Dan!

  6. Endiem says:

    I really like that in this season we seem to have fewer idiot leads (I’ve seen enough ‘guts will get me through’ leads to last me a lifetime) and more intelligent leads who actually think things through. My top three this season are:
    1. No Game No Life – I was merely expecting a clone of Trouble Children, but this has set itself as a completely different show and the one I find myself most looking forward to each week. I even really like the colour palette since it sets it apart. Steph no kuse ni. :)

    2. Mekakucity Actors – Fascinating and the change of focus between characters each episode works well. It actually makes me think of a Shaft version of Durarara. The character designs even look like they were done by the same artist (the girl in the scarf is totally Hime from Yozakura Quartet) though I haven’t checked to see if I’m right.

    3. Mahouka – maybe suffers a bit from the main guy being pretty much perfect at everything but still very enjoyable. The magic explanations seem to be pitched just about right – esoteric enough to show how complicated the things he does are, but straightforward enough to understand what’s happening.

    4. Brynhildr in the Darkness – The dark tones mixed with light fun balance out very well. I never saw Elfen Lied but after a few episodes of this series I bought it to try it out. The only downside is that the manga is ongoing so this will most likely have an inconclusive end, so I will have to buy the manga to see how the story continues. Also has my pick for best OP of the season.

    My secondary tier of shows, ones I’m watching and enjoy but would wait for a local release rather than importing (if I was still importing), in alphabetical order:
    – Akuma no Riddle – I really like this series, but I think the main flaw and reason why it may not be finding its audience is that we have no idea why this classroom of assassins has been set up. Is someone just doing this for kicks? Why does no-one even ask why? Danganronpa had a somewhat similar premise but in that series the characters spent half the time trying to work out why they were there, so it was slightly more believable.

    – Blade and Soul – bad CG dance sequence and weird black nose shading aside, I quite enjoy this series. The story is a bit of a mixed bag but I guess I’m a sucker for strong female leads.

    – Hitsugi no Chaika – I nearly dropped this series after the abysmal animation in episode 3 or 4, I forget which, but I decided to push through. I like it but it’s a low priority for me, so I tend to watch a few episodes in a row every few weeks rather than following it each week.

    – Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san – Fun if short episodes, but they are probably the right length for the story. Also, is that Ootsubo Yuka I hear amongst the cast? She’s really racking up the yuri anime mileage points.

    – Jojo S3 – enjoy it but I think I need a breather episode where they don’t fight a new stand user for a change. Having fights every week is exhausting.

    – Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin – There’s something with this series that doesn’t quite click with me but I can’t put my finger on it. I also wish someone would ask Nanana about the lightbulb she’s wearing as a necklace since it’s totally the elephant in the room – I reckon she’s not dead and will return to her body as soon as she takes it off. But I really just watch it for Tensai anyway.

    – Soul Eater Not – I’m very surprised Something isn’t already following this series. Not only is there a highly yuri love triangle between the three leads, there’s also Jacqueline & Kim giving us scenes like http://soul-eater-screencaps.tumblr.com/post/84946566234.

    I also love Fairy Tail, but I’m behind and making my way slowly through season 1, so season 2 will have to wait for now.

    • something says:

      I think the “why” of Akuma no Riddle is really simple for most of the characters – if they kill Haru (they’re all assassins, so this is right up their alley), they get their wish granted. That’s something the show was up front about, it’s just part of the basic premise. The only character we don’t quite understand being there is Haru herself, and I think it’s reasonable that we don’t know because it’s probably central to some aspect of her character, and to the nature of the whole game in general. I accept the unknowns we have as legitimate parts of the mystery, rather than stuff I feel we should have been told up front. We got enough to justify the setting, I feel.

      As for SE Not, it was picked up by Funi and I don’t watch anything streamed by them. I could look for fansubs but I generally don’t bother going to that effort outside of certain special exceptions anymore.

      If you haven’t gone past ep 4 of Chaika, definitely give it another shot. I thought episode 4 was pretty bad but 5-7 have been leagues better, totally selling me on the show to go from “I dunno if I’ll continue” to “I’m importing this”.

      And yeah, NGNL is way better than it has any right to be. But Ishizuka Atsuko managed to pull the same “how is this so good?” thing with Sakurasou so I’m really digging her skills as a director now. The last scene of episode 7 was easily my favorite of the series so far. That show is shaping up very very nicely (though I don’t think I’ll import it, I’m keeping imports down lately and Chaika took the third full-series import slot).

      • Endiem says:

        Ah, okay regarding SE Not and Funimation, I see where you’re coming from now. Still a shame to miss out on though.

        I’m definitely sticking with Chaika, I’m just a couple of episodes behind and watching in bursts rather than serially, which I find I prefer for most series anyway. The introduction of the dragon certainly livened things up. I just wish it had a slightly higher budget or at least a better animation studio for the less important episodes. I hadn’t realised it was from the author of Scrapped Princess but I enjoyed that series – even the ending – and seeing here that Chaika is split cour and likely to have a real ending (that mythical beast in anime) is good news.

        • something says:

          I don’t think Chaika is all that bad looking a show. It’s not exceptional, but the battles are really well directed and full of all sorts of varied fighting styles and just really dynamic in general. The character art gets off model sometimes, but the designs are generally really good. And the overall visual style in backgrounds and architecture had created an interesting enough world. It’s a show I enjoy looking at, all in all.

  7. Kudryavka says:

    I feel like Chino changes her hairstyle every other scene (outside of the one she has for working). So cute! <3

    • something says:

      That’s been one of my favorite things about the show, yeah. It just has a really good eye for cute outfits and hair in general. Nice design work.

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