[previous update]

Updating! I’m down to my final 6, all of which I anticipate finishing. I have no intention of picking up any more shows at this point either, so this season looks to be one where I import 4 of 6 completed shows.

Full Series
1. Futsuu no Joshikousei ga Locodol Yattemita [▲0▼] – 5 eps, 9/10 – [PLANNED IMPORT] I swore Hanayamata would have taken #1 back, and it /is/ damn close but I really loved the laid back mood in Lodocol 5, so it keeps the edge barely. Shocker! Yukari and Nanako are right about on par with Hana and Naru for this season’s pairings, and I think the show has done a great job integrating Yui into the group already. It’s been a lot of fun seeing how comfortable Nanako has gotten in her role. The only thing he show needs to watch out for it trying to expand the scope of their activities too much in the coming episodes. I don’t need to see them winning big silly idol tournaments, I want to see them sticking to their role as community promoters, playing intimate shows to parents and their children and locals at small events. It’s a super cute and endearing premise. I mean if they do expand the scope and do it well then ok sure, but it’s really got a good thing going. So yep, still #1. Good job, Locodol!

2. Hanayamata [▲0▼] – 4 eps, 9/10 – [PLANNED IMPORT] – I don’t think the Tami episode was quite as strong as the first three episodes, but it was still really damn good because that’s just the level this show is operating at (seriously how good is she? And Ootsubo Yuka playing a character like her too!). I’m very glad that, despite being a yamato nadeshiko archetype on the surface, Tami still provides funny faces. She also elicits the cutest imaginable reactions from Naru, whose idolization of Tami as her “princess” made me super happy. Girls admiring older girls as princesses rather than with the gendered implications of the “prince” is rare, and it’s really refreshing too! Usually “princess” ends up being a sightly patronizing label for a younger, girlier character, so this reversal was really really cool.

Funnily enough, I’ve seen many complaints about the drama in eps 1-2 being too strong but very few complaints about 4, and yet I think it’s only 4 that even came close to pushing too hard whereas 1-2 were perfect… but I personally approve of every episode so far!

3. Yama no Susume Season 2 [▲0▼] – 4 eps, 9/10 – [PLANNED IMPORTD] I’m getting pretty irritated at the subbing situation with this show. Crunchyroll still hasn’t put up episodes 2+, which leaves just this one morr or less decent fansub group, but there are still no ep 4 subs. I just went ahead and watched it raw like I’d initially planned to. It’s easy to follow anyway.

But about the show though! How about that OP eh? And I was going to give Free the edge over Yama no Susume until halfway through writing this post when I watched ep 4, and it was the best one yet! Sure there was some really cute onsenservice but what sold the ep was a lot of very amusing mood swings from Aoi as she wrestled simultaneously with fatigue, excitement, onsen embarrassment, onsen relaxation, and that hilarious delayed reaction joke near the end. Aoi’s pure excitement upon reaching the summit (before realizing this means she has to hike back down too!) was infectious.

P.S. Kaede is super pretty. Like, seriously gorgeous, which is surprising to me because I never gravitate towards her type if there’s a Hinata or Kokona type in the cast. Kaede tho, just, woah. And it’s not just the looks either, I love her reliable and knowledgeable senpai side! She’s kinda perfect.

4. Free! Eternal Summer [▲0▼] – 5 eps, 9/10 – [PLANNED IMPORT] Honestly this show is the best thing airing in terms of perfectly nailing what it wants to do every single time without fail, so it should be my #1… but cute girls too strong, fuck “objectivity”! I think it would be #3 even then, but Yama no Susume just had its best ep so far while Free had… “worst” is totally unfair, as it was still a very very well executed episode. But it was the episode I was personally least interested in, because I’m not that interested in Nagisa. In a way though it was a really good episode for the exact same reason, because it gave him some depth he’d not had before. And the scene near the end at the pool was just really good. I do however think it’s just very hard on me to go a week with virtually no Gou or Rin because OHMYGODILOVETHEM. LOVE LOVE LOVE. SO MUCH LOVE. One of my all time favorite brother-sister pairs (along with I guess Sora and Shiro in Nogenora… and maybe Raquel and Shannon in Sutepri?), and my only real regret is that they don’t actually interact very much. I would utterly lose my shit if hey gave us a Matsuoka home life episode, but I know there’s really no room in the story for that.

Sheesh, I recently went through and revisited all my rankings again, pushing a couple hundred shows down a point or two to make the 8-10s a bit harder to get, but all four top shows this season still really feel like they deserve a 9 so far. Fantastic season.

5. Barakamon [▲1] – 5 eps, 8/10 – Episode 4 was decent but not great, however ep 5 was the best one so far, for sure. I mean how cute is this? We got some very good animation (minus a couple close-up→zoom-outs that felt weird), Seishuu showing a new side of himself to everyone (and to himself!), Naru continuing to give us amazing faces, Tama being glorious, and just a damn good ep all around. And I’m so grateful that, so far, Miwa and Tama aren’t romantically interested in Seishuu.

6. Sabagebu! [▼1] – 4 eps, 7/10 – Bit of a handicap for this one since ep 5 hasn’t aired yet, but episode 4 was… a very mixed bag. This show spent its comedy capital pretty unwisely in the middle segment, which was a big fat joke segment (w/bonus bulemia, which worked…) and in rather poor taste even considering the kind of irreverent series Sabagebu has set itself up to be. Even that had its moments though (like the terrible sound this made, haha), because this show excels at physical humor, most generally in the form of exaggerated violence. I enjoy this one a good deal overall, but I think it’s a pretty solid notch below Barakamon, let alone the top four.

Short Series
Other than the ongoing Mahou Shoujo Taisen from Spring, not watching any shorts this season.

Dropped Series
1. Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya 2wei!2.5 eps – Ugh. My hesitation about this series after the end of the first season was much more justified than I’d hoped. It’s infuriating because this series has a lot of elements that should by all rights make for a really fantastic series, but it all gets thrown in the trash. On the technical side there’s there really awkward use of CGI (whether props or effects or backgrounds) that meshes horribly with the really nice 2D animation, so that’s a frequent irritation. But the much bigger issue is the way this series dresses itself up as a yuri series, only to fall into all the worst pitfalls of shows that are just throwing yuri in for fanservice’s sake. You’ve got romantic feelings that are trivialized as yandere obsession (check), physical intimacy coming only as the result of misunderstandings/accidents (check) or flat out physical assault (check), and a protagonist who is the object of romantic desires from another girl but we’re constantly reminded that all she really wants is onii-chan’s penis (check). Oh and in this case the onii-chan in question is Emiya Shirou, the worst anime character ever (or at least neck and neck with Yuuki Rito). The repeat of the “Ilya dreams of kissing her onii-chan, wakes up to find out it’s Miyu” scene in episode one was a big warning flag, but I kept going because 2wei was really nailing comedic timing otherwise. But then the scene halfway through episode two was the clincher. It was completely obvious that this show is a really bad thing for yuri, because it just borrows all the tools het harem romcoms use to score yuri points while still driving home that everyone can keep buying those dakis and doujins, because don’t worry she can still be a waifu character! It’s all about plausible deniability for these shows.

So I’m done and a fucking half with this show. I don’t care if there’s good scenes after the midpoint of ep 3 or in later episodes, nothing is going to change the fundamental problems the show has. I was on the lookout for these issues after the way season one ended, and am really disappointed at how quickly and severely they popped up. I honestly regret owning the season one BDs right now. I did some cleaning earlier and just felt a bit of disgust when I got to re-shelving this one.

2. Momokyun Sword1 eps – Never got around to ep 2, so I’ll just consider it dropped. Not so much anything wrong with it as there not being enough right to pull me back.

3+ Cour Series
1. Fairy Tail18 epsMore like this please. I did really like how Wendy sticks out in the roll call of dragon slayers at the end of the latest episode. Can’t wait to see her fight, I hope they don’t brush past it too quickly.

2. Hunter x Hunter140 eps – While Chimera Ant ended up disappointing me and collapsing under its own weight, I really like this new (and likely last) arc so far. The chairman election plot is modestly interesting but I’m completely in love with the Alluka storyline. This scene nearly killed me. Not to mention Hisoka is back! Hisoka and Killua have always been the best HxH characters by far so the more I get of them the happier I am. I did roll my eyes a little when the story even manged to apply a series of needlessly complex game-type rules to Killua’s current mission when we already have loads of that regarding how Alluka’s power works and the plans for the chairman election, but I know that’s just HxH’s thing. Also it’s an excuse to see Canary again so okay.

3. Jojo no Kimyou na Bouken: Stardust Crusaders18 eps – Still improving after a pretty slow first 6-7 eps or so. I’ve been enjoying this consistently lately.

Current 2014 Top 5
1. Sakura Trick
2. Akuma no Riddle
3. Saki Zenkoku-hen
4. Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka?
5. No Game No Life

Not ready to make changes yet but Locodol and Hanayamata are major contenders.

23 Responses to “Summer 2014 viewing update #2”

  1. musouka says:

    Let’s see for me…

    Still watching Free!, but getting antsy to see some of the Makoto and Haru stuff boiling in the background. Luckily, it looks like the next episode will start with that, but halfway through the season was a little much for me. (I have a sort of weird relationship with the show, but it sure does make me buy a ton of doujinshi. I was stoked to recently see a yuri HaruMako doujinshi, so I added that to the most recent pile as well.)

    Hanayamata is pretty ridiculously fluffy, and looks to have blown most of its budget wad in the first episode, considering the strategic stills that pop up, but the continuity and characters still have me coming back for more. Hana/Naru is still the main draw for me, but Tami and Machi are great too! (I’m neutral on Yaya. She’s not bad, but also not really my type of character.)

    Nozaki-kun continues to be a wonderful watch. If you didn’t have so much on your plate, I’d recommend it to you. It skewers gender-roles and conventions quite nicely while still being funny. It’s also not particularly romantic, despite how the first ep makes it seem. I’ll probably start buying the manga…

    DRAMAtical and Love Stage!! still have my attention. I was curious as to how people watching unfamiliar with the source material would react to episode three of Love Stage, and it was about how I expected. DRAMAtical is reaching the point where I’ll probably end up cutting my losses and play the game, but I’m not quite there yet. I think part of it is the music, because it sure isn’t the animation quality, hahaha!

    Still watching Zankyou and Aldnoah. Aldnoah probably would have been dropped at this point if not for Slaine, as I don’t think it’s living up to its potential.

    Shounen Hollywood really should have been a novel instead of an anime, just like its source material. I like what it’s trying to do, and the atmosphere is good, but the internal narration is embarrassing to the point of being cringy. The director is paying a surprising amount of attention to little things like body language, and then here comes a stupid voice over to explain what we already understood through the visuals! I think that’s what happens when you have the original novelist doing series composition. I think I’m in it for the long haul, though. Those horribly cheesy male idol songs sprinkled throughout remind me of when I was a tiny kid and loved male idol groups.

    • something says:

      Everyone recommends me Nozaki-kun and I’m sure it’s good at what it does, but I’ve got a ban in place on all school-based shows with male characters in the core cast. Sequels to previously seen shows and KyoAni shows are the possible exceptions, and neither are automatically safe.

      While I look at Free and see a pretty flawless sequel, I wonder if its much lower performance on Amazon this season is because of the lack of Haru/Mako, then? Obviously the intended target audience would be more sensitive to that than me – I was too busy squealing over Rin and Gou being amazing to even notice the drop in Mako/Haru material until you brought it up. Certainly, we know it’ll be extremely underestimated and sell way more than Stalker’s guess, but at this point it may be lucky to get half as many Stalker points as s1v1. Since it was already 51.4% (DVD)/85.0% (BD) underestimated in s1 I don’t know how much more extreme we can expect season two to be. Especially since it’s not quite as dominant at Animate as s1 was either, though that’s a rather imprecise measurement. I mean Kurobas went more storefront heavy in the sequel, maybe Free will too. Or maybe everyone has moved on to Haikyuu already.

      (Seriously KyoAni any plans to announce an event ticket? Are the retailer exclusive tokuten even announced at all, actually?)

      • musouka says:

        Yeah, I understand why you’d be shy about Nozaki-kun, but it’s really unlike pretty much anything with male cast members that you’re thinking of, since the emphasis is on undercutting typically masculine (and feminine) figures in humorous ways. But you know what you like better than I do, so I won’t try to convince you! Just might want to keep it as an idea of you ever find yourself in a particularly slow season.

        I think Free! will definitely have some sort of drop, if only because there hasn’t been a really strong narrative hook yet. Rin and Haru’s rival woes may have put me to sleep, but it was a clear sign of narrative tension from the very beginning in season one. (I actually like them better as rivals now, but.) Here, they’re obviously trying to go for the hook of “what is Haru going to do after high school”, but the focus has been scattershot and not particularly well-integrated with the “problem of the week” episodes we’ve been getting so far.

        Heck, I’ve been frustrated because we’ve barely seen the Iwatobi group in the pool and we’re nearly halfway through! It’s all well and good to talk about how great swimming with your friends is, but these guys are trying to compete on a national level this season. If they just want to play around with their friends, they can do that at a public pool. How about a little serious exploration of what “aiming for the nationals” means and how stressful it can get? How about seeing them working in the water instead of immediately skipping to the aftermath and saying “wow, that sure was a work out!” I want to see the Iwatobi group having fun practicing their relay and individual strokes, like what we get from Samezuka.

        Basically, this season it feels like they have enough content for about six episodes worth of material, so they’re just padding out the rest. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to focus on Rei and Nagisa, but I think they could do that while still allowing Makoto and Haru their subplot that dovetails with what’s going on with Nagisa and Rei, instead of putting on the brakes.

        • something says:

          Speaking of Samezuka, totally forgot to mention this but I loved what they did with Sousuke. Did not at all expect his conversation with Rin to reach the conclusion it did in ep 4. Him wanting to join Rin in doing things Rin’s way was an incredibly pleasant surprise for me. I imagine he’ll still have lingering doubts, but his role as “antagonist” this season is not nearly as one-dimensional as you’d normally expect, and all for the better I think.

          I’ve been quite happy with the pacing and choice of stories so far, though I do think things could get rushed later. I think if they get serious about the nationals in the next two episodes, we’ll be safe. If it takes longer than that, then they may have left themselves too little time if they want to show really top-tier competition. I really wish Free were two cour, basically. I haven’t seen Haikyuu or Kurobas or the other popular male cast sports shows, but I assume they focus a lot more on competition/tournaments than Free, which has a heavier slice of life element.

          Your criticisms do sound similar to the reaction I heard to Chuunibyou Ren. However, I think they’re more reasonable criticisms in Free’s case than they were in Chuu2Ren’s. Chuu2Ren was dinged for not focusing on Yuuta and Rikka (or Shichimiya), but the issue was that there was absolutely nothing left there to focus on, and that’s what I thought was the problem, not the time spent on other characters (which made for infinitely better episodes than any of the Yuuta/Rikka episodes anyway).

          In Free’s case, there’s quite a lot they could focus on! There’s a much much more obvious justification for the existence of a sequel. There’s a clear goal in sight in this story, unlike in Chuu2Ren, and it doesn’t require rehashing conflict or stalling progress, so there’s a more organic narrative path forward as well. And taking that path will result in better episodes than the Rei or Nagisa episodes, in my opinion (so the opposite of Chuu2Ren, where everything on the “main” story path was so much less interesting than the asides!). Whether they’ll take this path is the question I suppose.

          • musouka says:

            Well, episode six sure blew me away! I still think the first half might have been too weak to really recover from, but I’m hoping it’ll have less than a 50% drop. It feels like we’ve finally begun touching on the meat of the series, and I’m looking forward to where the parallels between Sousuke+Rin and Makoto+Haru are going. If they do a good enough job, I might even import. It’d be a little weird having the second season but not the first, but, well, I guess we’ll see!

            • something says:

              Much as I’ve loved the first half, episode 6 is what convinced me that this is pretty unambiguously the best show of the season, hands down… …even if you’ll likely never see me rank it as such because I just can’t get past ranking it above all the cute girls of Locodol and Hanayamata (it might manage to barely edge out Yama no Susume though).

              This is why watching so much less anime doesn’t bother me too much, even if I’m only watching 6 shows the four at the top are all absolutely tip-top tier, any of them would be top 1-3 in most normal seasons. I just hope this amazing group of shows didn’t suck up too much goodness and leave nothing for fall… Koufuku Graffiti confirmed for Winter so I’m really hoping Kinmosa s2 makes it to Fall so I have something iyashikei to watch.

              • musouka says:

                Yeah, it was just all around excellent. If I was going to nitpick anything, it would be the pacing. Probably should have cut a earlier filler-ish episode and allowed this ep to be two, but it still packs a major punch without doing that. Haha, I’m definitely twitchy to see the next ep, which is a good sign!

                Unfortunately, there’s not a lot for me next season, but I was fine with just watching Ping Pong during the spring season! In fact, in a lot of ways it makes my life a little easier, because then I can hit backlog titles. I am really looking forward to KyoAni’s take on ABP, though, and I’ll give the new Magic Kaito series a try as long as they don’t change Yamaguchi Kappei as his VA. (And I’m a little curious about World Trigger, since it’s popular in fangirl circles.)

  2. makotachi says:

    Free! and Love Stage!! are basically tied for my top spot this summer season. Free! is literally everything I wanted it to be this season. It’s mostly a comfy SOL anime with cute boys, and it keeps it’s drama down low and it gets quickly resolved instead of dragging. There is also more Makoto focus than last season, and since he’s my favorite character I’m totally loving seeing so much of him. Love Stage!! thought is one of my favorite BL series and seeing it so well animated and well done makes me extremely happy every week. Even though they added things in, they were things that complimented the feel of Love Stage!! and mixed well with it. So those two are tied for right now. I really want to import Love Stage!!, but being a college student I have a very limited budget, so I dunno. I also couldn’t get a part-time job anywhere this summer cause places didn’t want to hire a college student, eh. I might just settle for importing the manga, or buying the OP..

    I’m watching other stuff, but I don’t know if I like them enough to import. Thankfully some have been licensed, so I can buy the less expensive western release at some point in my life.

  3. rederoin says:

    half/full length shows

    1. Yama no Susume: Second Season. (AotY materiaal)

    The slow subs are rather annoying, but atleast its getting subbed.

    2. Futsuu no Joshikousei ga [Locodol] Yatte Mita. +1
    3. Barakamon -1
    4. Hanyamata
    5. Sabagebu! +1

    I’m really starting to love the slapstick humour in this one, and how we get one of the most selfish MCs i’ve ever seen.

    7. Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun new
    8. Akame ga Kill! -1
    9. Majimoji Rurumo new
    10. Love Stage! new

    Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 2wei! fell out of the top 10 because shirou is an annoying little dense shithead.

    Honorable mentions :
    Zankyou no Terror
    Tokyo ESP(the newer episodes just can’t live up to the first episode)

    1. Himegoto
    2. Strange+ S2
    3. Ai Mai Mi S2

  4. lolivampires says:

    Hanayamata – Easy favorite. I actually thought the Tami-oneechan episode was the best since the first, especially considering I though she would just be a plot-convienence character, but I thought her issue came across as pretty compelling. I’m hoping they get to more Yosakoi soon, as I love the animation in all the (short) dancing sequences they’ve had so far.

    Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun – I just sorta watched this on a whim, and now I’m hooked. I don’t usually go for shoujo stuff, but I think since it focuses on the comedy way more than the romance I dig it more than I normally would.

    Yama no Susume – Exactly what I expected, which is good.

    Jinsei – Falls into the same category as GJ-bu and Acchi Kocchi where it’s a SoL school comedy that’s nice to pass the time with, but I never get crazy over it and don’t usually get the urge to ever rewatch it, but don’t regret watching it either.

    Sabagebu – I love it because it just does whatever the hell it wants, without actually getting too random or annoying. All the movie references are hilarious too. I think this might be in the running for lowest budget of the year (though I don’t watch everything so there might be something that’s worse)

    Majimoji Rurumo – The winner of the seasonal “Why am I watching this?” award. I think it’s just mediocre enough for me to keep watching for the moments Rurumo shows up.

    Everything else I either didn’t start or have dropped by now.

    • Progeusz says:

      Gekkan Shoujo isn’t shoujo, Sabagebu is.

      • mangamuscle says:

        I would not be so sure. The character designs are shoujo (without the sparkles and the soft pastel colors) and the plot is about the relations between the characters (a shoujo staple) without being laid back and fluffy like k-on or a sol.

        • something says:

          Shoujo isn’t about color palette or premise. It’s a label that designates an intended readership market. And the Nozaki-kun manga runs in Gangan Online, a shounen publication. It also publishes titles like Watamote, Kitakubu, Danshi Koukousei, and Barakamon.

          Obviously a title being in a certain kind of magazine does not dictate every last facet of its appearance or story. Many of the franchises most popular with women run in Shounen Jump! And being “a shounen/shoujo magazine” doesn’t mean you have to only consider boys/girls in your audience.

          But shounen and shoujo are still print demographic indicators, and for their anime adaptations, the label gets inherited. So that’s why we can definitively say Nozaki-kun isn’t shoujo… which doesn’t contradict with your comments about designs or character relationships.

          We just happen to have a season where one shoujo series (Sabagebu) and one shounen series (Nozaki-kun) borrow a LOT from their counterparts and rather enjoy undermining traditional genre tropes.

          • mangamuscle says:

            I think that when a magazine is not published (it is online only) the arbitrary magazine designation of a demographic becomes less relevant since the magazine will not be in a store besides other similar magazines (shounen/shoujo/seinen/etc). With online magazines it is more probable you were attracted to the series from viewing the anime or reading someone’s else recopilation tankoubon or maybe even clicking on an ad and there is zero pressure of a friend saying to you “you are reading that kind of magazine?” (unless you do not erase your browser history when they come over ;).

    • rederoin says:

      >for the moments Rurumo shows up.

      And thats all I need(the cat is fine too), I just wish they adapted both mangas.

      • lolivampires says:

        “Both” mangas? Didn’t realize there’s two, I’ll have to look into that.

        • rederoin says:

          3 actually, but the last one is more of a after-story from i’ve heard., since it does not have any plot. All I know is that the first manga ends on a cliff-hanger, so it’d be intresting to see how they handle it in the anime, since I can’t see them ending it on a cliffhanger if they are not going to anime the 2nd manga.

  5. hpulley says:

    My top shows of the summer season are:

    0. Hanamonogatari (v1 ordered blind but it’s really Monogatari SS v11 so not really a new import and I’ve read the novel so it isn’t really blind)
    1. Locodol (v1 ordered)
    2. Sabagebu (v1 ordered)
    3. Yama no Susume 2 (CDJapan hasn’t listed season 2 yet but I’ve requested it)
    4. Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun
    5. Barakamon
    6. Hanamayata

    I really enjoy Nozaki-kun and Barakamon but I’m not 100% sure of them as yet for my prime import criteria of re-watch-ability.

    I loved Nozaki-kun episode 1 but it seems like it is slightly different than originally portrayed. I was hoping for a bit more serious to balance the comedy. The comedy is great, laughs, laughs laughs but I have to test if they work again on further watching.

    Barakamon too I really love but it feels like it may finish things up nicely in the season in such a way that I don’t need to watch it again. And, while a nice cheap 4 volume import that means not much in the way of bonuses other than booklet and storyboards.

    Hanayamata from the PV I absolutely loved it but now I’m not so sure. It isn’t all that I’d hoped it would be so far. Could still turn back into an import. We’ll see.

    • hpulley says:

      Rurumo is another one I enjoy and I’ve bought the music for it but the production quality is too retro/low budget for me to buy and rewatch I think. It’s really funny, really cute, even sweet at times but… wow, those charadesigns and sakuga…

  6. stardf29 says:

    Definite imports:

    Yama no Susume S2: The YamaHanaBara trio remains strong, and with some serious mountain-climbing going on here, the mountaineering girls’ show is quickly becoming something amazing. And I too am miffed that it is taking CR so long to put up their streams (though the fault is probably YTV’s).

    Hanayamata: There’s just so much I love about this show. There’s just the right amount of character development and relational development to take what would already be a high-scoring cute-girls show and turn it into something beautiful. Pretty much tied with YamaSusu for my favorite show of the season. Also, the OP is easily the best OP of the year.

    Barakamon: Not *quite* as good as the above two, but still utterly fantastic. Probably the most outright iyashikei of the trio, while still being good with character development and values. Oh, and Naru is still the most adorable girl of the year.

    Potential imports:

    Locodol: The laid-back feel and focus on helping the town continue to be this show’s strong points, and have been pushing it up in my rankings as of late. It still sits a bit off the import line but there’s a decent chance it can break through.

    Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun: Absolutely hilarious show, and easily the best straight-up comedy. It’ll need a bit more heart for me to consider it import-worthy, but it has shown a little of it so far, so who knows.

    Strong non-import shows:

    Free! Eternal Summer: Love the new role Rin has as a friendly rival who leads his own team while getting along well with the Iwatobi team.

    Haikyuu!!/Baby Steps: Continuing sports shows from last season. Both are absolutely fantastic in quite different ways, with the volleyball show nailing the teamwork and interpersonal relations and the (singles) tennis show serving up a wonderful tale of self-discovery and personal growth. The sports action in both are great, too.

    Solid, enjoyable shows:

    Ao Haru Ride: Still pretty standard shoujo faire so far but it’s being executed consistently well, kind of like Suki-tte ii na yo.

    Zankyou no Terror: A fun intellectual thriller with some interesting plots, though I’m not sure how I feel about the new character yet.

    Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Crystal: Good, classic mahou shoujo fun. Stay away if you hate 3DCG, though; those transformation sequences are horrible offenders. Overall, the animation is eh, but I’m enjoying the story itself enough to compensate.

    Rokujyouma no Shinryakusha!?: This show is surprising me with how much heart it has. It’s still a pretty silly romp of supernatural girls but as I learn more about them they’re surprisingly easy to care for, and that is helping to make me like this show more.

    Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya Zwei!: I don’t really have a problem with Shirou (it helps that I’m not in this show for the yuri), so it’s remained a fun, though admittedly not too notable show for me. Still waiting for an epic fight scene like first season’s Archer vs. Saber, though.

    Sabagebu!: Sadistic comedy is sadistic. Can’t care for the characters one bit, which keeps it from ranking higher, but it also means otherwise tasteless sequences like the bulimia one can happen and I can just roll my eyes at the show trying to push the envelope as far as it can. Definitely still enjoying it, though.

    Space Dandy: Its offbeat and varied style is still growing on me.

    I guess I’m still watching this?:

    Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance: I suppose this show is starting to have an okay plot line. Still mainly in it for the fantasy and the character designs.

  7. Endiem says:

    Ah, Illya, what a let down. I’m still watching but it’s not top of my viewing pile.

    Series I am really enjoying are:
    – SOA2 – I totally expect the bad guy to be a disappointing, crazy, evil-because-I-can-be, douchebag like every arc in both SOA1 and Accel World, but being prepared for that in advance means I can just focus on the great world building in this series. In every way except bad guys this series knocks it out of the park.

    – Persona Golden – I’m not sure if this series will ever get much of a plot since we already solved the mystery in series 1, but it’s just nice to be back with the gang doing their day to day comedy stuff so I’m happy.

    – Hanayamata – Nothing to add to all the comments already.

    – Barakamon – I presume this is filling the slot that was once occupied by Chihayafuru for “Japanese cultural anime”. Even the animation style feels similar. I liked Chihayafuru more but I’m certainly enjoying this series.

    – Tokyo Ghoul – Not the greatest series and you could play a drinking game around the bad decisions the lead makes every episode, but I’m in for the long haul.

    – Tokyo ESP – I’m a a manga reader and they’ve done an excellent job of transcribing it to the screen. A little fast paced so they can get through 6 books (the first arc) in 12 episodes, but otherwise well done. I love the teleportation animation. It reminds me of Nightcrawler in the X-men films.

    – Zankyou no Terror – Cat and mouse games between two kids and a detective with good animation and a Yoko Kanno soundtrack. I’m hooked. More please.

    – Akame ga Kill – This series is animated by White Fox (Steins;Gate, Jormungand) and I think it shows in how dark this series can get. I think I find this series a little more shocking than say Tokyo Ghoul. From pvs I think people got a Riddle vibe from this series but it’s something quite different. I like it and it gets watched day of release each week.

    – Jinsei – I like series about people locked in a room and having witty dialogues. In this series they go outside but I still totally get a Seitokai no Ichizon vibe from it. I’m not sure if it’s written by the same author but it wouldn’t surprise me.

    I’m also watching Rokujouma no Shinryakusha (fluff but inoffensive), Jojo (continued from last season and so much fun in its over-the-top way), Mahouka (continued and still excellent) and Seirei Blade Dance (considering dropping it after a couple of dull eps).

    I’ve dropped Free S2 (I just wasn’t engaged by the first episode), Majimoji (I felt bad watching a series so devoted to loli fanservice) and Rail Wars (I fell asleep every time watching the first three episodes, even when I tried to rewatch them, so I took it as a sign to stop).

    • Endiem says:

      I forgot to say about Illya that her being in love with Shirou I can tolerate. Miyu blushing because he reminds her of her brother is irritating but I can at least pretend it’s not romantic. It’s Rin and Luvia suddenly being in love with Shirou that really bugs me. As far as I’m aware they don’t go to school, so when did they even meet him? I wish his character simply didn’t exist in this series since it would be much better off without him.

      • mangamuscle says:

        Looking at their uniforms in the opening sequence is a dead giveaway that Rin, Luvia and Shirou go to the same school. In the discs there might be an OVA that explain how they became part of his harem. BTW, I am no shirou fan, I was laughing out loud when Luvia’s butler was harrasing him.

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