So I’m watching around seven shows this season. That may not seem like much to some people, but by my standards, that’s plenty. Overall, it’s a good crop with some fun stuff. Not much that’s threatening that good old top 50 list, but there are some stuff this season that will ensure that Witchcraft Works won’t be ranking high on my upcoming top 2014 list, assuming they don’t crash in the end. And whilst I have been disappointed by promising stuff before, my favorite shows of the season are so comfortable with what they are now that it will have to take a major shift in tone in order for me to turn against them.
Yes, Space Dandy is one of the shows I’m referring to in regards to my last sentence (did you see that musical episode this week by the way? Pretty fucking great, right?), but let’s focus on the actually new show that I’m really enjoying the most, Sabagebu (Survival Game Club). I haven’t talked much about it on my blog yet, mainly because I wasn’t sure where it was going based on the first few episodes despite liking ’em. Now that more time has passed, I can safely say that I’m a huge fan of the thing. It combines the sort of mean-spirited humor that makes Milky Holmes and Azumanga Daioh my favorite “cute girl” anime of all-time with the whole “girls using weapons” trend that’s been getting more popular as of now, specifically C3-bu. The latest episode had the main character win against a champion video gamer by flat out beating him unconscious so that he couldn’t play, and that’s just a sample of how sadistically hilarious this show can be.
Verdict: Totally Awesome
So this is Gundam/Code Geass with most of the focus being on the mecha action and neutered war strategies being made by some stoic high school kid?
Verdict: Yeah. No.
Terror in Resonance
Has a lot of potential, but so far it’s mostly been focused on hit-and-miss setup. I’ve liked every episode that’s come out so far, including that somewhat controversial second one, but whilst the third one was a step in the right direction, it also made me worried that the show will hold its cards for too long. The best political thrillers – and by that, I mean John Le Carre adaptations – are mostly about giving context to the journey up until the big reveal at the end, but they also do so in a short movie length so that said setup doesn’t lose context along the way. Terror in Resonance is at least twice as long, which gives it more time to falter. Still, it’s the show with the greatest chance of rising out of the pits of mediocrity and into the realm of the special, so I’d probably watch it to the end even if it does turn out to be crap later on.
Verdict: Cautiously Optimistic About This
By far the biggest disappointment of the season. All that talent and hype for a shonen action show with no real style, awful censoring, and lame attempts at tackling deep themes regarding humanity? Well okay, the last one isn’t so lame. It deals with its themes alright. Better than most shonen stuff that try to be more. And the director is doing his best with the material, making it pretty and adding in all sorts of visual metaphors and such. But at the end of the day, there’s no horror vibe, there’s no schlock vibe, and there’s no style in general. I just can’t get into this.
Verdict: Kinda Lame
Easily the best of the Tokyo shows – and that includes Resonance if you use that other nickname it’s got: Terror in Tokyo. The first few episodes have been delivering well on the whole X-Men vibe that made Darker than Black so fun and it does it all with a decent sense of humor to boot – although it’s more in the line of Heroman than Ga-Rei Zero. I’m still waiting for our heroes to face some “real” conflict rather than these lame yakuza guys, and it’s clear the “racism” angle that made X-Men stand out isn’t going to be a major part of the show, but otherwise it’s good Silver Age style stuff. With a flying penguin to boot. Not sure what it is about this show that’s making people rebel against it so much. Yeah it could use a little more visual panache, but it manages to blend in its elements a hell of a lot better than most of the action anime this season, let alone in general, and the result itself is pretty solid.
Verdict: Damn Cool
Sailor Moon Crystal
So boring, cheap, and forgettable that I almost forgot about this show until I finished writing the other entries. Enough said.
Verdict: You’re Better Off With the Original Installments, Even If They’re Longer Than Ron Jeremy’s Penis
Ai Mai Mi: Mousou Catastrophe
Enjoyable cuteness that does more character development and funny jokes in two minutes than most shows do in several episodes.
Verdict: Ai Mai Mi Needs No Verdict
Sword Art Online II
Same as it ever was, only with fantasy replaced by sci-fi and taking way too long to make something happen. Now that Kirito actually is in the game world, hopefully things improve from here. Not in terms of it shedding its “nerd-wanking” status, but in terms of some visual action. Of course, this is A-1 Pictures we’re talking about, so…
Verdict: What Do You Think?
Akame ga Kill
Easily the worst show I’m watching of this season. Not sure if it’s the worst show of the season overall – what I read of Rail Wars since dropping it is pretty bad – but it’s definitely up there. Akame ga Kill is pretty much the definition of “saying one thing whilst meaning another” in all the wrong ways, it blends in its many elements as poorly as one of those Sengoku-era mecha shows, it’s really boring and ugly to boot, and the action is a load of shit for something that relies so heavy on it. In other words, it’s the second coming of Jormungand all over again. I really am a masochist, aren’t I?
Verdict: Appallingly Atrocious (As I Expected!)
Everything else, I either skipped or only watched an episode of, so not much to go on. I couldn’t be assed to watch another episode of Bore-akamon (dohohoho) and I’m obviously not watching the fujoshi shows or the uninspired fanservice shows/cute girl stuff. Nozaki-kun has a good concept, but the comedic timing is kind of lousy, and you’d have to force me at gunpoint to give Argevollen more than a minute of my time. Still, I didn’t see too much of them, so I won’t say anymore than that.
So all in all, a pretty good crop. Including the second half of Space Dandy, I’ve got five shows I’m liking, two shows I’m hate-watching, and all of the stuff I’m watching on Cartoon Network being crammed on Thursday night for some reason. Although I haven’t seen anything I’ve liked more than last season’s second installment of Mushishi, overall I much prefer the summer to the “only okay at best when it came to new shows” spring. Lots more potential here, and it’s actually delivering on it – unlike the disappointment that Akuma no Riddle ended up being or the “alright, but too many things that bug me about it” CGI spectacle of Knights of Sidonia. Or the “good, but not my genre” community favorite: Ping Pong. Yeah, last season really wasn’t for me.
It also inspired me to pick up episodic blogging again, so that’s another positive in Summer’s favor.