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Monthly Impressions – February 2015 »« Monthly Impressions – December 2014

Monthly Impressions – January 2015

We’re already one month in the new year! I can’t believe how quickly time flies because this winter season has completely escaped me. Crazy! I don’t know about everyone else, but I live up in the North and it’s incredibly cold here so I just want to hibernate all day all the time. Thus, I haven’t been watching too many series this season but the ones I have picked up are definitely some great conversation pieces. Hopefully everyone has found something this winter as well and if there’s an anime that we haven’t talked about already, feel free to mention it in the comments. Maybe it’ll spark others to give it a try too.

This post could not be completed without the help of a few awesome individuals. The impressions below are brought to you by Enzo, Samu, Stilts, Zephyr and myself. Each of the shows include our impressions of the episodes that have aired this month (the episode count is indicated). Please note that this not representative of all the writers on RC but only those participating. This also means that each of us are not necessarily blogging each of the shows that we’re writing about below. The post is not comprehensive of what each of us are watching but highlights a good selection of shows that are currently airing. If you would like to hear our daily impressions of shows, we all update regularly on twitter:

  • Cherrie@RCCherrie
  • Guardian Enzo@GuardianEnzo
  • Samu@its_samu
  • Stilts@StiltsOutLoud
  • Zephyr@ZephyrRC
  • As always, this new concept is a work-in-progress and any suggestions are welcome. Please let me know what you’re liking, disliking, and hopefully I can make accommodations for it next month.

    Housekeeping Notes:

  • Please be considerate of others who may be interested in picking up a series after reading about it here by placing discussion of any major spoilers in <spoiler></spoiler> tags.
  • Just like the season previews, the list is ordered by the day of the week and time that the shows air.
  • For your convenience, the header for a series links to its post archive if it’s being covered. Simply mouseover the title to see if it’s clickable.
  • Refer to our Winter 2015 schedule for a list of all the shows that RC is currently blogging on a weekly basis this season.
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    Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
    World Trigger
    6:30 EX (10/5)
    Yuri Kuma Arashi
    24:30 MX (1/5)
    Akatsuki no Yona
    23:00 AT-X (10/7)
    Gundam Build Fighters Try
    18:00 TX (10/8)
    SHIROBAKO
    23:30 MX (10/9)
    Ansatsu Kyoushitsu
    25:20 AT-X (1/9)
    Log Horizon 2
    17:30 NHK (10/4)
    Ace of Diamond
    8:30 TX (10/6)
    Yowamushi Pedal: Grande Road
    25:35 TX (10/6)
    Binan Koukou Chikyuboueibu LOVE!
    25:40 TX (1/6)
    Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu
    25:29 NTV (10/8)
    Tokyo Ghoul √A
    24:00 MX (1/8)
    Garo: Honoo no Kokuin
    25:35 TX (10/3)
    Sailor Moon Crystal
    19:00 Niconico (7/5)
    Nanatsu no Taizai
    17:00 MBS (10/5)
    Shinmai Maou no Testament
    25:35 MX (1/7)
    Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso
    25:20 CX (10/9)
    Death Parade
    25:58 TX (1/9)
    Durarara!!x2 Shou
    23:30 MX (1/10)
    Absolute Duo
    20:30 AT-X (1/4)
    Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata
    24:50 (CX) (1/8)
    ALDNOAH.ZERO 2
    24:00 MX (1/10)
    Yoru no Yatterman
    22:00 MX (1/11)
    Koufuku Graffiti
    25:46 TBS (1/8)
    THE ROLLING GIRLS
    25:58 MBS (1/10)
    Junketsu no Maria
    22:30 MX (1/11)

     

    World Trigger
    Episodes 13-15

    Samu: World Trigger finally enters it’s first proper battle. Before now all we’ve really gotten is a mixture of exposition, training, and fighting different types of Trion Soldiers. It’s been good at what it’s done, but now that we’ve passed the introduction arc and have loads of characters slashing and shooting at one another, it makes for an improvement. The art is still poor, but with the high-paced action the animation itself hasn’t been too bad, so there may be some hint of improvement there. Not only has this current fight showed just how strong the top Border agents are,it’s also been used as a display of their abilities, their different weapons and combat strategies, and how that ties into the teachings that Osamu, Yuma, and Chika are getting. We’ve not seen much of the main trio these past few episodes, but I think it’s a fair trade to have the training be mainly off screen and instead show the real action between some serious threats. It’s still not amazing, but World Trigger is going somewhere, but I put that less down to the adaptation and more to the source material getting better with time.

    Ace of Diamond
    Episodes 64-67

    Samu: I can see why some people could think the past few episodes of Ace of Diamond have been in a bit of a dip – the shock of losing is still present, most of the team is no longer on board, and not much has really happened. The thing is, I’ve really enjoyed what we’ve gotten here. Like many a sports series the matches in Ace of Diamond can go on a little longer than I’d like them to, so seeing this downtime at such a pivotal moment is important. It’s now that we’re seeing the first and second years take helm and step up to the game; it’s always rewarding seeing recurring characters from the early episodes get their chance to play in matches. It may mean that as a whole the quality of the team has dropped, but that’s only made it more exciting to watch. The third years were a little too polished for my liking. I wanted to really like them as characters, but none of them ever stood out to me. It’s the younger ones who are the best in Ace of Diamond, so having them get the full spotlight has only been a positive. Also, finding out (rather anticlimactically) that Inashiro lost Koushien right at the very end was a little sour, but also rather fitting. Everyone now was to work their way to the top all over again, and I look forward to watching that.

    Nanatsu no Taizai
    Episodes 13-16

    Stilts: The biggest surprise this month was, undoubtedly, Gowther. I ought to be used to the Seven Deadly Sins not being what they first seem by now, but Gowther is a new level. At first he seemed like a braindead, lumbering brute, and I wondered: How could this thing possibly become their ally? (Spoilers ahead, for those who aren’t caught up.) Making that beast suddenly turn into a real character would have strained credibility to the breaking point. They pulled it off in one of the few ways that would work: That wasn’t Gowther. Zam! Combined with some reliably good fights and some actual complexity to Guila and some other antagonists, this month has been a good ride. (Bonus points: A new MAN WITH A MISSION OP. Awesome!) My only concern is in the latest episode, which seemed oddly rushed, with plot points zooming in and the action accelerating toward what feels like a climax … even though we still have two months of episodes to go. (And something like four volumes of manga.) Probably it’s straight from the source material; Nanatsu no Taizai appears to have been adapting faithfully for the most part. The opening of the next act just threw me for a loop.

    Absolute Duo
    Episodes 01-04

    Cherrie: When I first started watching Absolute Duo, the series was as stereotypical and generic as LN adaptations can get. Seriously – I wouldn’t have thought twice to continue on if I wasn’t an anime blogger. However, sometimes you need to give an anime more time to prove itself past that first impression and I’m here now to tell you that Absolute Duo does get better. It doesn’t get a whole lot better, but it starts to get more bearable now that the core introductions are complete. The characters don’t reach beyond what you would expect from them – a guy who has exceptional powers (and a dark past) and happens to have a female roommate – but it’s not without cause and explanation either. There are some ecchi, stupid and comedic moments but few and far between and predictable for the most part. As the episodes air, I’m more excited for Absolute Duo than I am for Shinmai Maou no Testament, which started off well but started losing my attention. Absolute Duo started off rocky but its female protagonist might prove to be its saving grace. I won’t lie, I find Julie’s ignorance kind of cute.

    Yoru no Yatterman
    Episodes 01-04

    Samu: I said Yoru no Yatterman had the best first episode of the season when it premiered, and I still stand by that. It may not be the top of the crop after that peak, but it’s still an incredibly inspiring, nostalgic, and enjoyable show. I was not at all familiar with the Yatterman franchise going into it, but I can imagine fans of the series are appreciating the new direction this one is taking. Shifting the ‘heroes’ and ‘villains’ gives perspective on the morals of both sides and shines a spotlight on the injustices of this world. One thing that seems apparent, especially after the 3rd and 4th episodes, is how the Yatter Kingdom is giving some major North Korea vibes – a metropolis city where the privileged live, poor people living throughout the countryside, terrible quality of life in every way conceivable, having to give a ridiculous salute to the rulers, 35-year intensive labour sentences – it’s all very reminiscent of the dictatorship and I doubt that’s unintentional. Even if the first episode was still the most powerful and emotional, the following three have done a good job at exploring the inside of the Yatter Kingdom, showing just how deadly it is, and how I definitely want to see Doronjo and her gang serve them the justice they deserve.

    Junketsu no Maria
    Episodes 01-04

    Cherrie: The title of this one is interesting, although I don’t think it necessarily captures the potential for the series. I was surprised by how easily captivated I was since the first episode because it was a pretty simple concept with some owls, witches and people at war. The show reminds me a lot of last season’s Shingeki no Bahamut GENESIS in the sense that it’s an old fantasy, adventure tale with some unique characters in unfortunate circumstances. Both anime also feature the same figures in history so it’s easy to judge who is “good” or “bad” and what their intentions are. Junketsu no Maria has been a lovely surprise so far since I wasn’t even planning to watch it in the initial preview. It goes to show how you should give everything a shot before judging a book by its cover. Of course, there is talk about Maria’s virginity and it does affect her magical powers but it’s all part of the story and not the same typical hook that you would find in a harem romcom. There’s definitely a lot more to the story than what revolves around Maria.

    Yuri Kuma Arashi
    Episodes 01-04

    Cherrie: If you’re looking for an anime riddled with metaphors and symbolism, then Yuri Kuma Arashi is your one-stop shop this season. It’s an anime that’s not over-the-top confusing, because there’s a straightforward story, but it leaves you wondering what everything is supposed to represent. I love the use of the bears and the idea of “love” vs. “eating” and I still find it enjoyable even though the answers aren’t all laid out for you. Up until episode 3, the anime has been rather repetitive (to reinforce the bear ideals I guess), but episode 4 stepped away from that formula and started to explore the characters a little more. It tells a story about how Lulu came to be and what her background is so the characters aren’t just random bears that came into existence. This isn’t an anime for everyone and I warn you ahead of time that even though you may have liked Mawaru Penguindrum, Yuri Kuma Arashi is a bit more outside your average comfort zone. True to its name, there is also yuri in it so be prepared for a lot of that!

    Yowamushi Pedal: Grande Road
    Episodes 13-15

    Samu: As the final stretch gets closer and closer, it’s only natural that the numbers begin to dwindle, but these past few episodes have taken that to the next level. Having three from Sohoku bite the dust (or grass) is pretty serious, but it’s exactly what had to happen, and what has happened. Kinjou and Tadokoro have always been the two least interesting of the team for me, and by fan art and general popularity they don’t seem to be loved as much as many others. They both have somewhat plain personalities and unimaginative character designs in comparison to what else is on offer with Yowamushi Pedal, but their final moments with the team were their best so far. I could totally feel their pain as they couldn’t go any longer. It only took until the end of the race, but I now care for them slightly. Naruko, on the other hand, I’ve always quite liked, but he’s never had many moments to shine. This time he did, channeling sprinting and climbing at the same time in an impressive way before collapsing from exhaustion. It’s all very dramatic, but I wouldn’t change it if I could. We’re left with the three best characters of the team now and I’m pumped for the final match-ups as they head for the finish line.

    Akatsuki no Yona
    Episodes 13-16

    Enzo: I’ve been a big fan of Akatsuki no Yona right from the beginning, but if anything I think the show has actually gotten better over the last couple of months. It takes a very good series to succeed both as a grand epic and intimate personal story, and Yona of the Dawn pulls it off. Yona is a fine protagonist, but the depth of the cast here really stands out – not only are they all strong characters, but the show takes the time to flesh them out and even gives them compelling backstories. Nominal villain Soo-won is no exception – with each passing episode, his role in the story becomes more nuanced and troubling. My only concern here is where the anime will leave things – the manga is ongoing, but two cours isn’t enough to fully adapt what’s already out there. The show has done such a brilliant job of setting up the story and developing the characters that it would be almost cruel not to make a second season.

    Binan Koukou Chikyuboueibu LOVE!
    Episodes 01-04

    Enzo: Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love! hasn’t been a revelation in the way the first few episodes of director Takamatsu Shinji’s Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou were (alas, that show never managed to hit those highs again), but it’s been consistently clever and funny. It’s always encouraging to see an original series actually doing something original, and Binan Koukou has thrived because it’s clearly willing to go all the way with its very screwball premise in the interest of satire. The cast is an interesting mix of relative newcomers and seiyuu legends (including in hilarious “villain of the week” roles) and they give the more ludicrous elements of the magical girl genre a much-needed send-up with every episode. All of this doesn’t quite add up to inspired genius, but it easily surpasses the threshold of thoroughly entertaining. I’m not sure why we’ve never had a mahou shounen so thoroughly committed before now, but I’m glad we have this one.

    Gundam Build Fighters Try
    Episodes 13-16

    Samu: Try hasn’t done anything too different from its usual approach, which isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s a good thing. Every episode is equal parts fun, ridiculous, colourful, and manages to make me really care for these characters. If I were to say something negative it would be that there hasn’t really been a ‘moment’ in a while (other than Sekai blowing up the Moon). We’ve mainly had a showcasing of what all the characters are doing or what the main trio are setting as their goals. The national tournament is underway after much set-up, so I’m looking forward to some brilliantly choreographed space – or forest, or field, or city – battles. Truthfully, I haven’t seen enough Gundam series to say this, but Gundam Build Fighters may just have the best actions sequences of any Gundam series. Maybe there are a few that beat it, but when you consider that this spinoff is one big toy commercial, the amount of effort put into what matters really pays off. Even when it’s not at it’s best, Try still manages to do just about everything right.

    Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu
    Episodes 13-16

    Cherrie: This month has really broadened the horizons for Kiseijuu in terms of reach and depth of characters. It’s not strictly about all the parasites that want to kill Shinichi any more, there are other people and parasites that are in danger of being killed off. Although I can’t say that I’m a fan of the extended cast, the Private Investigator has my complete sympathies as of late and Kana. The story itself is becoming quite liner and straightforward now since it’s getting to heart of what the parasites want. It’s scary to think that they’re an actual organized group of “people” that are trying to control the human population. However, collectively, humans are superior and smart and Reiko’s beginning to realize the power of groups of humans. Kiseijuu may not have been the most action-packed anime this month, but it consistently continues to deliver great development between Shinichi and Migi. As the story goes on, I’m finding myself more and more attached to Migi; and that’s not because I can relate or even empathize, but I see him/her changing to be more human-like. Migi’s also allowed another (live) human to see her/him and that’s taking a huge step forward.

    Shinmai Maou no Testament
    Episodes 01-04

    Cherrie: After watching the first episode of Absolute Duo, Shinmai Maou no Testament came as a pleasant surprise because I expected it to be more or less the same. Overall, the show was quicker paced, a little more ecchi and the characters seemed to have more personality and spunk. As the month continued, my interest in the show slowly dwindled away because the plot started becoming generic and the predictability was over-the-roof. The main characters also started to get a little less likable and honestly, why is there a succubus in this story anyway? In a nutshell, Shinmai Maou no Testament isn’t the first show that I gravitate towards this season; especially when there are other harems, comedies and action shows out there. The good points are that the anime doesn’t take itself seriously and there’s a lot of moments that get glossed over with quick explanations, so as a viewer, you can just turn your brain off and just watch for some fanservice and action. I wouldn’t expect any more than that.

    SHIROBAKO
    Episodes 13-16

    Samu: The first cour of SHIROBAKO ended with the completion of Exodus!, so after the winter break (both in-series and in real life) the return to Musani has been a welcome one. Everything’s still the same, yet there’s a new freshness now that we’re seeing the pre-production stage of The Third Aerial Girls Squad. It’s a new title, there’s new staff, and everything’s coming together rather nicely. Since the first cour jumped straight into the madness, this time around we’ve got an ease into the initial processes of undertaking an anime adaptation, with each episode having a different focus, whether it be the emotions of clouds and background art, showing the biased and political casting when it comes to seiyuu, the consequences of the lack of communication with the author, and the difficulties of character design. I’ve enjoyed each episode immensely and would happily claim it as the best ongoing anime right now – it’s seriously top notch, very informative, and continues to shine a spotlight on the both the appealing unappealing aspects of the anime industry. It may not be going out of its way to fix certain problems, but it’s educational without becoming a documentary. It’s a perfect balance and I have every hope that it will continue as such.

    Tokyo Ghoul √A
    Episodes 01-04

    Cherrie: I’m genuinely surprised to see Tokyo Ghoul get another season, especially with all the comments about how the anime completely went off the tracks from the manga. If I remember correctly, season 1 ended with a plot twist and a cliffhanger that left a sour taste in my mouth. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t an definitive end which is what I expect out of one-cour anime. Luckily episode 1 of season 2 clears a lot of the misunderstandings and questions I had about the aftermath. The show has totally changed its tone with Ken’s leave from Anteiku, but I think this way allows the story to branch into other areas of discussion. For example, we see more of both Anteiku and the Aogiri, as well as the CCG (who have expanded their cast size considerably). Since I’m not a manga reader, so far I’d say that the anime has tried to set-up a new base for itself before it gets back to the all the destruction and action. It’s not the most exciting month for Tokyo Ghoul Root A but it needs time to introduce new faces for the audience to familiarize themselves with.

    Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso
    Episodes 12-15

    Cherrie: I take back everything that I said about this series because this month has been the turning point between me and Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso. It’s like the light came on and suddenly, I’m in love. The characters are growing up and maturing right before my eyes and I can literally see Kousei’s transformation throughout the course of one month. He’s become a strong and passionate man who wants to pursue his interest in music and I give him all the credit for that. The other characters have also made leaps in their development – especially Tsubaki and recently, Kaori. Tsubaki’s relationship with Kousei has also been one that I’ve fully supported and seeing them have their moments this month has melted my heart. I want to see Tsubaki get her way for once because I’m a huge second-girl-wins fan. Kaori has never been a character that I cared for much, until episode 15. We finally see her break down and although I feel bad her, I hope they explore her condition a little more rather than playing the pity card. With all these events happening in a single month, how can anyone stop watching Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso? Keep it up!

    Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata
    Episodes 00-03

    Cherrie: An anime about people – like me! Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata is an anime about an otaku trying to create a visual novel based on the plainest Jane you will ever meet. Our plain Jane heroine is known as Megumi and she’s actually hilarious in her own way but only because she’s the exact opposite of what Tomoya expects from her. Along with Tomoya’s childhood friend, Eriri and Utaha (the brightest student in school), Tomoyo attempts to create an image of Megumi as the main character in his game. The show is different, I give it that, and it’s definitely well thought-out because I actually find the comedy rather clever. Megumi a bit lacking in character due to her dullness and Eriri (whom I personally like the most) and Utaha are way too over-exaggerated for their stereotypes – however! This is the whole point of the show and I want to see how Tomoya’s little self-made game turns out. I’m hoping Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata doesn’t end up as another harem with awkward fanservice because the show has potential to be so much more.

    Koufuku Graffiti
    Episodes 01-04

    Cherrie: This is the show which marries the two things that I’m most passionate about in life – food and anime. Koufuku Graffiti is the perfect anime for all those that love seeing foodporn and foodgasms all in 20 minutes. But! This is not just an anime about good-looking dishes, but also a slice-of-life series following Ryou and her second cousin, Kirin. Each week explores a different aspect of their lives and yes, there’s a lot of cooking and eating involved too. The series is not a serious one, nor is it all nonsensical humor but it takes your impression of food to a whole new level. Ryou makes for a very calm and sweet protagonist that you can’t help but love her and her passion for cooking. Koufuku Graffiti will never be a standout anime, but as someone that loves to eat and loves watching slice-of-life series, it balances out everything else on my list this season. Just a quick warning though – you shouldn’t watch this on an empty stomach; it will make you hungry.

    Ansatsu Kyoushitsu
    Episodes 01-03

    Cherrie: This is one sweet anime that has me extremely confused. The plot isn’t what confuses me though – it’s the emotions and heavy-heart that I heave after watching each episode that has me confuzzled. The anime is about a group of students that are given the task of killing their homeroom teacher (who’s in the shape of a yellow octopus), before he blows up Earth. Sounds simple, except there’s a lot of complexity between the relationship the students have with their teacher and the goal that they have to accomplish. On one hand, if they don’t kill their teacher, he’s going to blow up the planet. And on the other hand, he’s a good teacher! Each episode shows how he genuinely cares about each of his students and tries his best to help them succeed (since they’re also the lowest level class). The series is meant to be a comedy and yet I don’t find myself laughing, but rather feeling pity towards their teacher and even “aww-ing” once or twice an episode. Despite my conflicting expectations of this show though, it has turned out to be more emotional than I anticipated. I feel quite attached to their teacher and we’re only 3 episodes in.

    Garo: Honoo no Kokuin
    Episodes 13-16

    Samu: Unfortunately Garo has gone back to the Horror-of-the-week routine that it had throughout most of it’s first cour. It’s not terrible by any stretch – it’s still entertaining, manages to explore the world these characters live in in more detail, and gives our characters some moments to shine. It’s fun to watch, but I’d really like to see an overarching plot return so that there’s more to chew on. Out of the past few episodes I did enjoy seeing Leon escape to the country and adjust to a new way of living, parallel to how Alfonso is taking on his new roles as both the Prince and Makai Knight. I thought we might see Alfonso be promoted to more of a main character than Leon, and that’s pretty much what we’ve seen. It’s interesting to watch, but I really hope the characters manage to all come together sooner rather than later. And please, no more filler episodes like that pretend Makai Knight one. That was a serious low point.

    Death Parade
    Episodes 01-04

    Cherrie: Hands down – one of the best shows that I’ve picked up in a long time and one that I actually look forward to every week. If you aren’t watching Death Parade, then you need to drop everything else and pick it up right now. If you’ve been waiting for an “out-of-the-box” anime that isn’t ecchi or a romcom or based on a LN/VN/manga/card game or another sequel, then I beg you to please give this one a shot. Death Parade may not be the most original or unique show out there (because the idea of purgatory isn’t exactly new), but it’s the discussions that take place and how it showcases humanity at different angles that amuse me. You have different characters with different background each episode and it’s interesting to see how Decim evaluates their souls based on their actions during these “games”. It’s also proven that Decim can be wrong in his judgment and that’s what sparks a good debate of what people actually think of the characters or whether or not someone deserves to be reincarnated. Definitely the highlight of the season for me and a highly recommended series in general. P.S. Great opening as well!

    Log Horizon 2
    Episodes 14-17

    Stilts: This month featured the most uncharacteristically rushed episode of Log Horizon yet, and some characteristically mediocrely animated ones. That opening sounds harsh, but the truth is that I enjoyed most of the past four episodes, though not so much with episode fourteen. Kanami’s arc deserved more than a single rushed episode which left us all going “Wait, that’s it? Come back!” Then we returned to Minori’s party, which has been heavy on the slice-of-life rather than the political intrigue, though fortunately that’s coming back now. With the source material running low, and the animation budget remaining lower, some odd choices have been made, but Log Horizon is still Log Horizon. Hopefully the next few episodes will be better, but it hasn’t lost my faith yet.

    Sailor Moon Crystal
    Episodes 13-14

    Cherrie: The end is finally upon us half a year later! And the question you’re probably asking is, was it worth it? What were the differences between this remake and the original? Well, the show in its entirety so far is very different from the original Sailor Moon series. In fact the plot, the characters and the overall atmosphere of the show is just incomparable to the original and thus, I would say that everything about this new “remake” makes it unique. I would definitely recommend it for those that are or were a fan of the Sailor Moon phenomena. Whether or not you like Sailor Moon Crystal will be your own opinion, but please don’t base your opinion on others. I would suggest that you watch it for yourself and experience it that way. With the new season coming next week, I’m excited to see Chibi Usa added to the cast. We’re finally getting away from the initial setup and predictable storylines to something a little more developed. Personally, I always loved the R and S/Super S sequels much more the original so it can’t be helped that I’ll be biased.

    Durarara!!x2 Shou
    Episodes 01-04

    Cherrie: The series I was looking forward to the most this winter was hands down, Durarara!!. I was a huge fan of it when it originally aired and I actually read RC at the time so I followed a lot of Omni’s posts. The problem with it the show is that you never really know what’s going on until you’ve seen the whole thing and then it blows your mind. Up until that moment, the show gives you pieces of information and follows a different set of characters each episode so you have to really pay attention and hang tight. I love marathoning it though and one of Durarara’s great strengths is its large cast. I find it difficult to remember everything that happened in the past (so watching season 1 is a must!) but hearing a lot of the same seiyuu’s; seeing same artistic style (I love the chatroom discussions!); and expanding on the characters’ stories is a dream come true for any fan of the original series. I get reminiscent seeing the same characters come back to life and it’s probably because I feel like a nosey fly on the wall (Izaya!) that wants to know all the gossip and happenings of Ikebukuro.

    ALDNOAH.ZERO 2
    Episodes 01-04

    Zephyr: As a series created by UroGen, ALDNOAH.ZERO came in extremely hyped and rightfully so. Now into its second season, the Butcher’s involvement is no more and the hype’s died down a bit, but that doesn’t change the fundamentals here. Entertainment value is the name of the game and ALDNOAH.ZERO’s still got plenty left in the tank in that respect—mixing large scale mecha fights with the usual Inaho-led Kataphrakt demolition runs. The fact that everyone survived the climactic first cour finale came as a bit of a disappointment, but the Slaine’s rapid rise to Count (and his new role as the literal white knight for the VERS lower classes) comes as a great development, highlighting an increase in narrative quality following the mid-series break. The singular focus on Inaho and Slaine as the main antagonists has allowed the series to really hammer in what’s at stake for both sides here, and there’s much to be said about how the characters have developed since the series first started. With Asseylum in a coma and a new character in Princess Lemrina taking her place on top of everything, there’s a lot of compelling threads all of a sudden, and ALDNOAH.ZERO could just end up delivering one of this year’s better overall finales as a result. That is, assuming the solar wind doesn’t knock it off course…

    THE ROLLING GIRLS
    Episodes 01-04

    Cherrie: THE ROLLING GIRLS and Yuri Kuma Arashi are easily the two series that have me head-deep in confusion this season. While one is filled with symbolism, the other is just a series of events that happen… but aren’t fully explained (yet?). The plot moves along fairly quickly and I feel like this is one of those anime that I need to summarize for myself or else I’m left thinking, ”What did I just watch?” The characters themselves are pretty interesting, but they’re probably the only thing tying the show together because at this point, the show lacks direction. It’s a hard show to predict due to its randomness, but hey! Some people like random so if you like cute girls, bright colors and some magical stones in-between, then THE ROLLING GIRLS might be right up your alley. It’s definitely a show that I imagine people enjoying if they took it more lightly; but I’m not one of those people so for me to understand it, I will take the time to connect the dots. I’ll give it a few more episodes before judging too quickly.

    February 5, 2015 at 8:41 am
    99 comments »
    • February 5, 2015 at 9:47 amsss333

      Might want to check on those italics on the Shirobako section

      • February 5, 2015 at 12:18 pmCherrie

        Thanks for catching that! I fixed it now =)

    • February 5, 2015 at 9:59 amHochmeister

      Thanks for the great posts, been looking forward to this! Here’s some of my thoughts on what’s been going down this year:

      Continuing Shows
      Jojo – While I’m happy Jojo’s back, the “monster of the week” format is killing this show. The action, humor, and horror are still great, but it’s firmly stuck in the monotonous cycle of Dio’s Nth henchman showing up, causing trouble with a bizarre new stand, and then getting defeated. Put bluntly, it’s filler. Watching; Ora ora ora!

      Aldnoah.Zero – Aldnoah’s gonna Aldnoah. After a rocky start where people apparently do not die when they are killed, Aldnoah’s second season is back to the same old formula. Slaine trolls, and cyborg-Inaho beats crazy OP mechs in his orange trainer. Despite its many flaws, I still enjoy Aldnoah for its grand scale space opera flavor, something all too rare in anime these days. Watching with the robot half of my brain turned off

      Garo – Garo’s definitely shifted into lower gear after the climax of last season and is taking its time setting the characters on their new paths. While the medieval steampunk power armor episode was definitely a low point (though I enjoyed its sheer absurdity), Leon, Alfonso, and German’s steady and contrasting development feels like its slowly building up to a new conflict, which I for one am really looking forward to.Can’t decide if Ximena or Lara is best girl!

      New Shows
      Ansatsu Kyoushitsu - This is a curious show these days, a high school comedy without a harem that doesn’t rely on ecchi humor. It’s practically a slice of life about an idealistic teacher and the stereotypical “looser” class, except in this case said teacher is a superpowered tentacle monster with a grudge against Earth, and said class needs to kill him. It’s too soon to see how well it’ll develop the characters, so enjoyment depends mainly on how well its humor clicks with you. So far I find it amusing, but not exceptionally so. Watching for now

      Yuri Kuma Arashi - If you appreciate intellectual avant-garde metaphorical symbolism, you’ll love this. Personally that’s exactly the sort of thing I despise, and there’s not really much else beneath it to keep me interested. Great, but not my thing. Dropped

      Death Parade - Death Parade leans heavily on philosophy and psychology with its almost reality TV-esque romp through the judgement of the deceased. It’s a great show, but like Yuri Kuma Arashi it’s simply not the type of show I enjoy watching. Also, by far the best (and most misleading) OP this season. Also great, also not my thing. Dropped

      Binan Koukou Chikyuboueibu LOVE! - The first two episodes practically had me on the floor with laughter. The genderbent parody of magical girl tropes was brilliantly executed, and the deadpan reactions of the cast to their situation was hilarious. By the fourth episode however the formula had grown somewhat stale; similar jokes, exact same sort of character transformed into a villain, exact same resolution with bathboy giving an uplifting speech and end the fight with the exact same move. Meta mocking of the repetitiveness of older shows or not, Binan needs to need to shake up the formula a bit more if it wants to remain at the same level of funny. Still, it’s not everyday you see five naked toddlers fight a supervillain… and win! Watching to fill the comedic void left in my heart after Twintails ended

      Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata - Calling out harem/VN tropes and then proceeding to blatantly utilize them can only carry a show so far. While it’s good for a laugh or two, in the long run it draws attention to the fact that the setting, plot, and characters of this show are very cliche. Like Binan, if it wants to remain interesting Saenai needs to move beyond its self-deprecating jabs. So far it’s done some great work in this direction with Megumi being a “normal, boring girl,” but I’m still not completely convinced it’ll be able to follow through with these themes to the end. Watching, but it’s not like I enjoy this sort of thing you know!

      Absolute Duo, Juuou Mujin no Fafnir, Seiken Tsukai no World Break - Three generic high school ecchi harem magical battlers which are practically interchangeable. All use the same tired old tropes and don’t even execute them particularly well. Bleah. Dropped, may marathon afterwards if I’m in the mood for a drunken game of harem bingo

      Shinmai Maou no Testament, ISUCA - This season’s action/harem/magical battler/so-ecchi-it’s-almost-hentai are somewhat better than the high school variety due to not being so focused on a cliche magical school and having more gratuitous fanservice (if that’s your thing). Objectively they’re still not that good, but they’re not as gratingly formulaic as the other three “magic prodigy goes to magic high, gets girls” shows. Dropped until uncensored version arrives

      Yoru no Yatterman - The Yatterman AU started out as a great twist on the classic superhero/supervillain tropes, and is set up for a classic Hollywood hero’s journey to deliver a good head flicking to the fascist Yatterbot “heroes.” However, much of the humor and enjoyment is dependent on knowing the original Yatterman franchise, and there is an abundance of uncomfortable loli fanservice, manservice, and even some yaoi rape subtext that turned me off in the second and third episodes. But then the fourth episode came through with one of the most chilling and moving depictions of a totalitarian state I’ve ever seen in anime, which is more than enough to keep me aboard. Watching, need medication for tonal whiplash

      The Rolling Girls - It’s like Jojo and Kill la Kill had a beautiful baby girl. Vividly animated and directed action and humor with a colorful cast of characters. While it doesn’t really have a sensical plot or worldbuilding, or well developed characters (so far), its strong points and sheer sense of fun more than make up for it in my opinion. All in all, a very lighthearted fun action comedy. Staying on for the ride.

      Junketsu no Maria - This show surprised me with some of the best medieval European atmosphere I’ve ever seen in anime. The setting feels like an impeccable take on the hundred year’s war (with magic), the characters are relatable and act like real people, the humor is raunchy and hilarious, and its themes about the role of religious institutions and God in the world are fascinating so far. Definitely Watching

      Kantai Collection - Imagine if Germany produced a TV show about heroic moe anthropomorphized Luftwaffe airplanes fighting evil monsters in thinly disguised expies of the battles of France, Britain, and the Eastern Front. Or if the UK made a show about intrepid tea-drinking explorers machine gunning dark-skinned spear-chucking savages in the name of Queen and country. Or an American show about bold pioneers exterminating deadly monsters to protect farmers. I’ve got nothing against appreciating your nation’s past military, economic, or technological achievements, but this sort of rose-tinted reinterpretation of one’s dark past is symptomatic of and reinforces the reasons why Asia still collectively freaks out whenever Japan sneezes funny. The unfortunate implications might be overlooked if the rest of the show was good, but it’s not. Most of it’s cute shipgirls doing cute things, with little character development beyond “do our best!” and “I hope sempai notices me!” When it dips into grim war territory, the large, little developed cast makes it difficult to feel anything for the characters. The animation and fights are lackluster strategically and tactically, with horrific use of 3D spliced in. Not worth your time unless you’re a fan of the game, the IJN, or are really desperate for a moe slice of life. Dropped into Davy Jones’ locker

      • February 6, 2015 at 6:20 amHochmeister

        Seriously people? I guess that’s the downside of opining on so many shows in one post, people are more likely to find something they violently disagree with. Faith in anime community lessened.

        • February 6, 2015 at 8:25 amSK

          Yeah, I really don’t think this is the kind of post that should be downvoted to oblivion. FWIW, I gave you an upvote as you clearly put some thought into your comment and weren’t trolling, as far as I could tell. Some negativity, but your points should inspire debate, not hate. It’d be more productive for them to reply and say why they disagree with you, but I suppose that is beyond some people. I’d wager that your Kancolle bit probably got you some backlash, though; while Japan does have a noted history of attempting to whitewash their actions in WWII, I don’t think fans of the game want to be reminded of that while watching their favorite kanmusu. Not exactly your fault for bringing it up, but also a point that is likely to inflame emotional responses.

        • February 6, 2015 at 8:41 amGYUZ

          You did nothing wrong. People are just to lazy to disagree with you and decided to smash that downvote button instead. Besides, you’re not the only one with a lot of downvotes for no reason.

        • February 6, 2015 at 10:30 amWorldwideDepp

          like @GYUZ said,

          And we both are in the same boat. I come in 2nd to Downvote, and do not know why. Here this is only my Personal Thoughts, and no discussion about an Anime. But you know, they just do not care, and only look for the name and Downvote like always

        • February 6, 2015 at 5:16 pmHochmeister

          Thanks for the support everyone. Faith restored.

          @SK: The KanColle segment probably did irritate some, but that’s honestly how I felt while watching it and I don’t think the nationalism issue should be swept under the rug. I was willing to give it some benefit of the doubt at first, but the battle of “W” in the third episode made it clear that the anime was in fact paralleling the Pacific campaign. Check out the OOB at Wake, and the fate of the real Kisaragi for reference. At this rate I’d bet they’ll have Fubuki save her carrier sempai’s during a battle at “M.” At the very least it’s remarkably tactless. I’m reminded of an article I read written by a survivor of the battleship Yamato on Space Battleship Yamato when it came out. I wonder what he would make of KanColle.

          @GYUZ: Thanks, it’s surprising just how heavily downvoted most everything in the comments here is. IMHO it should be reserved only for blatantly stupid/offensive/trollish posts.

          @WorldwideDepp: Nothing wrong with yours either, heck unlike me you weren’t even harsh on anything!

        • February 6, 2015 at 11:44 pmricz

          Just ignore them lol

          and about garo..Lara is the best girl!! but she T.T

        • February 7, 2015 at 3:58 amKirigiri

          Actually I kinda agree with your opinions especially on the KancColle side (I even gave you a thumbs up for that) but at least next time you tone it down on how you express your feelings on a specific show. I mean no one would want to see their favorite series being degraded by some people who’s not even a fan of the franchise itself.

        • February 7, 2015 at 6:21 amL

          I’ll give you my PITY UPVOTE since it matters so much to you.

        • February 7, 2015 at 9:35 pmIncognito

          People who can’t express themselves beyond clicking the “dislike” button are not worth wasting your time over.

          Don’t worry, I still like watching KanColle, but I have no reason to hate you for dropping it as you do raise some fair points without sounding like a jack*** (unlike some other fans I know).

          Besides, the golden rule of anime watching is and should always be:

          “Watch what you enjoy.”

      • February 6, 2015 at 3:33 pmpearthefruit

        upvoted lol

    • February 5, 2015 at 10:05 amKF

      When Slaine made that kill, my expectation for this show returns! It was so Lelouch-like to rid of unnecessary pawns.

      http://randomc.net/image/Retrospective%20Look/Aldnoah%20Zero%202%20-%202015-01%20-%20Large.jpg

    • February 5, 2015 at 10:23 amKabble

      I enjoy Shinmai because of the MC not being some copious nosebleed and often embarrassed loser or even a pervert. He just accepts stuff for the way it is and I dig it.
      The plot? Generic, but not badly generic and honestly it’s starting to break away from that a tad.

    • February 5, 2015 at 10:25 amWorldwideDepp

      I am watching:

      Shirobako +++*
      Kantai Collection +++
      Rolling Girls ++
      Akatsuki no Yona +
      Log Horizon +++
      Sanzoku no Musume Ronja ++
      Aldnoah.Zero +++*
      Maria the Virgin Witch +++
      Assasination Classroom ++
      Soukyuu no Fafner Dead Aggressor – Exodus +++
      Nanatsu no Taizai ++

      Explanation:
      + = Just to follow the Story
      ++ = Good Story and Entertainment
      +++ = Great Story, good Emotions. i would recommended to watch it
      +++* = Dude, you should really watch this, it’s Awesome

      :)

      • February 5, 2015 at 10:28 amWorldwideDepp

        Why Akatsuki no Yona got only +?

        Well, i have slowly problems with the Pacing of this Anime. The Show is good, the Jokes funny and well played. But the Pace in how the Show moves on.. I wish they could focus more only on the Dragons and move on. No they gave a General an entire Episode, is he that important?

        • February 6, 2015 at 8:37 amGYUZ

          I personally think that AnY has the best pacing out every anime coming out this winter season.

      • February 5, 2015 at 10:33 amWorldwideDepp

        Rolling Girls:

        I watch this Anime, but i think they should give more the Story a bit more serious touching. You playing with my understanding of reason. Show Spoiler ▼

        ???????? Hello, Tokyo-Train Station.. Train Reason will rush through halt, please stay away!! ????????

    • February 5, 2015 at 10:30 amsealouse

      What was with the ending of the last episode of Rolling Girls? Did they really just summarize a bunch of stuff? What was the point of that? I don’t know if it’s bad or not, but I was like “Hey I wanted to watch that.”

    • February 5, 2015 at 10:37 amSilke

      Based on the 19 series I’m watching, my top of January are:

      New Anime:
      Death Parade
      Maria the Virgin Witch
      Kuroko no Basuke

      Winter Leftovers:
      Parasyte
      Akatsuki no Yona
      The Seven Deadly Sins

    • February 5, 2015 at 11:06 amWarriorsHeart

      World Trigger – I might be in the minority, but I’m glad the black trigger retrieval arc is over and done with, because I’m actually more excited about the C rank wars and the later arc as we get to see more of Yuuma’s awesomeness. I can’t help but notice that the artwork in the last three episodes has significantly dropped in quality, but the next episode shows improvement. Still eagerly watching every week.

      Kuroko no Basuke – Cool, fun and flashy as always whether it’s to do with the characters defying physics, or the opening and ending sequences. It’s time for Akashi to show what he’s capable of. I’m also looking forward to the match between Seirin and Kaijou, because it was one of the matches that followed a slightly different pattern to the other matches. Even though it wasn’t my favourite out of all the matches, it had some nice moments.

      Shigatsu wa kimi no uso – It is beautifully animated and has a brilliant narrative, although it is plagued by a cast of extremely annoying characters. I can usually shrug them off, but they have completely outnumbered the amount that I can usually tolerate with. Kaori, whilst I pity her situation, she remains a downright horrible character, someone I do not want to associate myself with. By the way, what is her condition? However, I do like the dynamics between the rival trio: Arima, Takeshi and Emi, how they motivate and encourage each other.

      Aldnoah.Zero – Whilst the mecha battles remain the most underwhelming I’ve ever seen, I always look forward to this series and eagerly learn about Slaine’s motives and ultimate goal. He has changed from once the mild-mannered and naive child to a shrewd and ambitious young man who has had a difficult life. I like his development the most.

      Cross Ange – Although the jokes are getting dull and redundant, the story is getting more exciting with the involvement of the Dragon people and the final enemies. How would they defeat the omnipotent Embryo, I wonder.

      Zanzoku no Musume Ronja – The episode where the robbers kidnapped and beat a kid to a pulp was quite hard to stomach and was shocking on so many levels. I hope that was the last of that kind of scene.

      • February 5, 2015 at 11:41 pmJustpassingby

        Would you say that world trigger has been good enough that it can be picked up again? Dropped it during the Tamakoma arc because I just couldn’t stand seeing such a good material having such horrid adaptation. I mean it’s an action anime for ******.

    • February 5, 2015 at 11:07 amGYUZ

      The first half of Shigatsu made me dislike the characters a bit too much :( So even if it’s gotten supposedly better I don’t really enjoy the anime that much anymore and I’m only watching it for the visuals, music (I love classical music) and to see how it will end… and for Kashiwagi.

      • February 5, 2015 at 3:37 pmliebel

        Ugh, me too. I do not like Shigatsu anymore. I just can’t seem to care about the characters.

      • February 6, 2015 at 11:12 amCherrie

        I’m probably the exact opposite… I’m not a very musical person myself so when I watched the first half, it was just okay. It didn’t resonate that well with me and I felt like the characters were either too pushy or wallowing in self-pity. Over time though, this second half really showed some potential in development so I enjoyed it much more. It’s less focused on the music and more so the drama between the characters and I like that much more. I don’t find it forced or over-dramatic either so that’s always good.

    • February 5, 2015 at 11:16 amzeroyuki92

      Watching and recommending :
      Death Parade : This season’s idealistic powerhouse. Not sure if this show will sells or not, but you could feel a great care and love for quality poured here. Not to mention that it’s a very thought provoking series which is very good for discussion! p.s also have feels

      Parasyte : Moving closer to finale and stakes keep piling up. I am optimistic that it could ended up as a definite AOTY material.

      Shirobako : This should become a mandatory for everyone who is working/schooling in creative industry related area. Also a very good “life/job drama”, anime production documentary and solid slice of life in one package!

      Also watching: Saenai Heroine (at very least I get clever dialogues by WA2 author), Ansatsu, Aldnoah (turn brain off and enjoy!), IM@S CG, Koukufuku Grafitti.

      Dropped Rolling Girls. Planning to watch some other series after I get less busy.

      • February 6, 2015 at 12:19 amJames

        Parasyte (Kiseijuu) has only been getting better. It was my top last season and now this season.

    • February 5, 2015 at 11:20 amTassadar

      Where is Dog Days”..? No love for the doge?

      • February 5, 2015 at 12:33 pmStilts

        I’ve been trying to catch up, but I just moved and have barely had time to watch any anime. I’m in season two, should catch up eventually … hoping to at least include it in the final monthly impressions of winter, and maybe an END post.

    • February 5, 2015 at 11:42 amesdesu

      Watching:
      Parasyte – still the top
      Death Parade – the best among the new anime
      Akatsuki no Yona – I didnt like the focus on King SooWon
      Tokyo Ghoul – extremely disappointing
      World Trigger – getting better
      Shirobako – good as usual
      Shinmai Maou no Testament – the damn censorship
      Kuroko no Basket – enjoyable & fun

    • February 5, 2015 at 11:48 amWorldwideDepp

      It would not hurt this Site, if some of their Readers here or Fans, at last could write down the Shows he/she is watching. So we get a glimpse on how this Blogsite here is well accepted under their Readers/Fans

      So, give you a push. At last try to write down the name. You do not need to explain why, if you not like

    • February 5, 2015 at 11:51 amDime_store_Magic

      Stilts you shock me with your keeping with source material comment regarding the seven deadly sins :0
      actually I’m more amused cause the gowther arc was the most heavily changed part of this adaptation but in all fairness I would say the change was for the better considering who gowther was slumming it with before (hint: he wasn’t traveling with the amoured guy and he was living in the village the protagonist stop at). I thought it was a change for the best and didn’t take away from the big reveal moment plus I sort of figured it was for time constraint reasons.
      Some of these recommendations are looking good and I’ll be giving a few of them a shot.

      • February 5, 2015 at 12:35 pmStilts

        Ah, well, I haven’t actually read the source material, but I’ve talked to people who have and nobody was rapidly ranting about changes, so I assumed it was faithful. I didn’t even consider changes for the better o.O What does it say when that would have been irrationally optimistic…

        • February 6, 2015 at 12:05 amDime_store_Magic

          It’s understandable considering you haven’t read the source material and honestly I didn’t think it was an issue either if they could roughly get the point of the gowther arc across which I think they did without keeping with the original storyline. The point being who the guy in the amour really is and what he means in the main schemes of the plot and character involvement.
          I only bring this up because gowther has always been an odd little duck in my opinion, so when they changed who he was emotionally involved with, I didn’t think it was handled poorly at all but actually was done well.
          Also personally speaking as a manga reader I didn’t think their presentation of the the original material was being handled well so I was pleasantly surprised when they pulled something decent off with their own ideas.

    • February 5, 2015 at 11:55 amArchiepiscopus

      Aldnoah Zero 2 was doing okay for the braindead popcorn entertainment that it is, but now Marito has shown up again to waste screentime on his pointless trauma that goes nowhere.

    • February 5, 2015 at 12:04 pmLonghaul

      I learned that Parasyte has a rabid fanbase, mentioning that you are not watching it gets your comments downvoted into oblivion.

      • February 5, 2015 at 12:12 pmesdesu

        ”rabid”
        Exactly the word I would describe Aldnoah Zero fans.

        • February 5, 2015 at 12:16 pmLonghaul

          See what I mean.

          I havent even said if I like or dislike either show.

        • February 5, 2015 at 12:22 pmesdesu

          And I haven’t even said whether rabid AZ fans are good or bad.

        • February 5, 2015 at 8:13 pmLonghaul

          Actually you have simply by name dropping them.

          But whatever, if you want to participate in some manufactured fanbase war that is your decision to make.

        • February 6, 2015 at 12:03 amDock60

          I have yet to watch Parasyte (I will marathon once it’s over) but I’m watching Aldnoah Zero and I have to agree that the fans are so rabid. The whole Slaine vs Inaho thing is just too much. I don’t get it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        • February 6, 2015 at 12:26 amJames

          Rabid, indeed. I once mentioned in passing that I liked Slaine and man, the amount of hate I got in return.

        • February 7, 2015 at 9:35 amJohn Hunt

          Fate/Stay Night out rabids any fandom in English speaking community IMO.

      • February 5, 2015 at 7:26 pmSlaine the Best Shooter (Captain of the Kuroko hype train)

        From the standpoint of someone who watches and enjoys both series, I would have to say Alnoah’s fans are 2x more rabid, especially on the other sites I’ve been to.
        But hey, rabid = passionate so it’s all good in my opinion.

        • February 5, 2015 at 8:22 pmLonghaul

          I would have to say Alnoah’s fans are 2x more rabid

          Exactly, which is what made the reaction to my asking what a screencap from Parasyte meant so surprising.

        • February 5, 2015 at 8:32 pmSlaine the Best Shooter

          There are rabid fans in pretty much every fandom, you’d be surprised. In this case, more in AZ but doesn’t mean there aren’t some from Parasyte. It is after all extremely popular.

          I learned that Parasyte has a rabid fanbase.

          So I don’t think you should make generalizations. It doesn’t apply to everyone.

        • February 5, 2015 at 9:29 pmLonghaul

          So I don’t think you should make generalizations. It doesn’t apply to everyone.

          You are saying this to me, or to your Alnoah’s fans are 2x more rabid comment?

        • February 5, 2015 at 9:38 pmSlaine the Best Shooter (Captain of the Kuroko hype train)

          True, my bad. I guess we both ended up making generalizations.
          You seem to be in the mood for an argument but I happen to be having a great day and will not ruin it by taking this seriously and getting into one.

        • February 5, 2015 at 9:59 pmSexyNoJutsu

          Wow, Slaine. So mature. You can say good things for once. =3

        • February 5, 2015 at 11:37 pmJustpassingby

          No truer words have been spoken. Man some Aldnoah fans are really rabid. I’ve seen friendships being broken just because they support the vers side. Minority, apparently.

        • February 5, 2015 at 11:59 pmLonghaul

          I think Slaine would prefer you to call him passionate.

    • February 5, 2015 at 12:13 pmos

      Shinmai Maou no Testament – the animation feels very wrong for a show like this. BTW, I think it may be better to make this into a hentai series.

    • February 5, 2015 at 12:31 pmsithstormjedi

      No comments on Fafner Exodus?

    • February 5, 2015 at 1:01 pmRuben

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      • February 5, 2015 at 3:47 pmTresBien!

        I hear that comment every season. I think there are always good shows if you’re willing to broaden your horizons and try genres that you don’t normally watch.

        • February 5, 2015 at 5:41 pmRuben

          Give me an example

        • February 5, 2015 at 11:52 pmJustpassingby

          Durarara, Death Parade, Ass Class, Saenae. I’m guessing You’re one of those people who want to see something different. If you’re an action lover, then I wouldn’t need to list stuff for you, anything else pandering to a specific taste needs your opinion on the matter itself. Truthfully though, this season is weaker than the last one or the next one.

    • February 5, 2015 at 1:45 pmRockmanshii

      Thanks for the post.
      Gundam G no Reconguista’s still my favorite show airing by far. Everything it does is so great.
      Cross Ange still is really funny but the plot was pretty disappointing these past weeks, Show Spoiler ▼

      Hopefully it’ll get better before the end.

    • February 5, 2015 at 1:52 pmDvalinn

      Too bad you’re not covering Yoru no Yatterman, Samu, because I find it to be one of the few shows this season that really makes me go watch it as soon as it comes out. The juxtaposition of the silly old Yatterman vibe and the oppressive dictatorship that is the world around them is pretty well done, I’ve grown a liking for most of the cast (though Eri Kitamura could tone the chirpiness of het voice down a bit) and I’m quite excited to see where it goes next. Definitely the big surprise of the season for me.

      Saekano is pretty fun too, and I dig its Monogatari-vibes. It’s a show of people talking a lot and not much else, but it’s well written enough that I find it rather interesting. The deadpan remarks from Megumi are comedy gold too. My only wish is that the main char grows up a bit, he can be kind of aggravating.

      Junketsu no Maria is my fantasy food for this season, and I like that is manages to build its own face. The setting’s interesting, I like the artstyle, the story’s engaging and the dilemma’s compelling. The comedy can get kinda dumb, but among original shows it’s pretty strong. Same for Death Parade, really. I’m not as enamored with it as some people are, but it’s definitely worth a watch. Especially the fourth episode reached new levels, and I hope they can keep that up.

      As for the last two non-sequel shows, they’re pretty fun. Yuri Bear Storm doesn’t reach the quality of Penguindrum, but I like the weirdass world it takes place in, and now that it puts the spotlight on more and more characters, the narrative grows ever more compelling. And Assasination Classroom, eh, it’s okay. Despite it’s weirdass premise it’s a pretty typical shonen in a lot of respects. Most of those types are slow burners though, as Nanatsu no Taizai has proven as well. Because damn that show is a fun romp. Worried about the conclusion though.

      Jojo is Jojo, Sailor Moon is still mediocre, Parasyte is still awesome and Log Horizon is still a really good show, but its budget problems are really obvious and it also had the worst episode of the season a few episodes ago. Too bad about that hiccup. Durarara is mostly more of the same (though a bit rushed, I feel), Aldnoah got even dumber but is still amusing and Shirobako is still managing to hold my attention, but only barely. Now that I’ve come this far, I might as well finish it, but there’s a reason it’s the last show I watch every week. I find it to be a bit slow, and the characters aren’t always very compelling.

      Finally, I’ve ditched Tokyo Ghoul. The show just lost me after the rushed transformation of the main character, and I can’t say I honestly care about anyone in the show anymore. I don’t make a habit of dropping sequels, but if I’m just bored and uncaring I might as well quit. Same for Rolling Girls, though not that negatively. It’s just kind of okay, but I can’t really see nor care about where it’s going and what they’re going to do with it. It lacks direction, really.

      And that’s about it, really. Not a stellar season, hell, it’s a crap one, but I’ll live. I’m busy these next few months anyway, so I don’t mind a smaller list of stuff to watch. Especially not with Monster Hunter coming out next week.

    • February 5, 2015 at 2:09 pmSlaine the Best Shooter (Captain of the Kuroko hype train)

      My top 3 right now:
      Aldnoah Zero (So shoot me)
      Kuroko no Basuke
      Parasyte

    • February 5, 2015 at 3:24 pmdamrod

      Cherry, the reason there is a succubus in shinmai is most likely for the sole reason of explaining stuff.
      That contract thingie that makes our red head all hot and all when she is disloyal towards her master, succubus magic is the explanation.
      The stuff where basara has to endure a certain kind of jokes like the adult game of this episode, the succubus serves as the explanation.
      Probably done so that basara wouldn’t have to be the token pervert as well.

    • February 5, 2015 at 4:01 pmzztop

      Trivia on Yona and Deadly Sins:

      1) Yona’s mangaka said in her author’s notes that General Geun-tae (from the war games episode) was her first attempt at drawing a hot older guy.
      His wife is also much younger than him (she was in her late teens; and he was in his late 30s when they married).

      2) Sins’ mangaka said in an interview he envisions 3 story arcs over 20 volumes, although he’s been considering adding a sequel arc expanding it to 30 volumes. He also says he still has a lot of ideas left and wants to continue drawing manga until his deathbed.
      The manga has also sold over 10 million copies as of the latest volume 12.
      http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2015-01-19/the-seven-deadly-sins-manga-1st-of-3-planned-arcs-ends/.83434

    • February 5, 2015 at 4:39 pmstarss

      I cannot understand The ROLLING GIRLS. I never know when to pay attention to one thing above another thing, when to take it seriously or not (until the event is over, at which point it’s too late), and am constantly puzzled why they put THIS thing or whatever in here!

      • February 5, 2015 at 8:46 pmKon

        Pretty much the reason why I dropped it.

    • February 5, 2015 at 5:16 pmdaikama

      This… has not been the best season for me. :/ Comments about a few shows:

      Ansatsu Kyoushitsu: This turned out to be a pleasant surprise for me (and I could use one this season). So far it’s done good job of balancing the comedy with more serious topics/life lessons, etc. Checked out the manga and if the adaptation remains good, this should be a fun, entertaining watch. Looking forward to it.

      Junketsu no Maria I suspected this might turn out good and IMO so far it has. It’s not AOTY or perhaps even AOTS, but to me it’s a solid show with some depth from the religious debate topics (e.g. why does God let bad things happen to good people, etc.). So while it may not do anything exceptionally well, it does several things well enough, and in a weak season, that’s noteworthy IMO.

      – Four Harem+Magic+HS LN thingies & Isuca: I thought this would be an ecchi season, and it is. Then again, it’s not really ecchi if I end up dropping shows. For me watching these shows is like a contest where everyone is trying to lose rather than win. :/ I dropped World Break after Ep 01 largely due to chew-toy squeaky “imouto”. Just not a good character IMO. Also dropped Juuou Mujin no Fafnir as I found it overly dull/generic. That leaves Shinmai Maou, Absolute Duo and Isuca.

      From what I recall of Shinmai Maou source material, the anime is getting a pretty faithful adaptation which can be good or bad depending upon one’s perspective. For me it’s more negative than positive. The fan service plot device that is the “contract” is overdone IMO. Might as well just make a straight-up hentai series at some point. The characters are pretty meh – only Maria (the succubus) has much personality IMO. It doesn’t help that this series reminds me a lot of HS DxD which I think is much better. Not sure if I’ll be sticking around with this one.

      Absolute Duo is probably the “winner” IMO, or perhaps losing the least to be more accurate. Things just… kind of happen at times (e.g. Bunny-Sensei sticking around). The rest of the time it’s quite generic. For some reason, it reminds me of Blade Dance which frankly is looking better in retrospect. :/ Overall, it’s very much just there /”OK” rather than anything I find all that interesting. Given how this season is playing out, I’ll probably stick with it. Probably.

      Isuca – Lesson #174 on how NOT to make an adaptation. I honestly wonder if ARMS is working off a one page series summary written by an intern, an unpaid intern. The basics are there, but wow are they rewriting a lot of the events… for reasons. And amping up the “fan service” for a series that’s already pretty loaded with fan service. In short, this is a bad adaptation IMO for a series which should NOT be hard to adapt. ARMS is phoning this one in with minimal care and effort. Weak season is weak so I’ll give it one more shot for the ‘ol 3 episode rule, but 99% sure this is a drop for me.

      Aldnoah.Zero: Not the best start given how last season’s “cliff hanger” was resolved, but at this point, whatever. Is what it is, but people better STAY DEAD from now on. It’s also still tightly following the batle script from last season = Earth side is stuck in rut thus far and kind of boring to me. However, things have picked up on the VERS side which helps. Despite its flaws, the show manages to be entertaining which isn’t something I can say for other shows this season.

      Kantai Collection: Short version = IMO the show is making some strides (along with a few missteps along the way) though clearly still aimed at the core fan base (i.e. game players such as myself). Room for improvement remains including properly handling game references among other things. Ep. 05 was the best episode so far IMO (including limiting/integrating game references) which makes me cautiously optimistic going forward. The anime adaptation has its flaws, but given the premise, I think it could have turned out a lot worse.

    • February 5, 2015 at 5:30 pmflCer

      Weekly hype list as of Feb 2015:

      #1 Kancolle/Aldnoah/Saenai/FafnerExodus
      #2 Cross Ange – they ran out of budget…
      #3 The rest!

    • February 5, 2015 at 5:40 pmWhatTha

      I am actually surprised that there is no ongoing blog post about Binan Koukou Chikyuboueibu LOVE! It is so funny and hands down one of the more original series this season. I just love how it shamelessly makes fun of the magical girl genre while full heartedly embracing it as well.

    • February 5, 2015 at 7:58 pmSexyNoJutsu

      My top 5 so far:
      Kuroko no Basuke
      Death Parade
      Parasyte
      Shirobako
      Akatsuki no Yona

    • February 5, 2015 at 8:50 pmKirigiri

      Best Shows this Winter season for me(not including the leftovers):
      Death Parade
      Saekano
      Junketsu no Maria(too bad no one blog this series)
      DRRRx2
      IM@S CG
      Rolling Girls
      KanColle

    • February 5, 2015 at 9:13 pmPaladinJoe

      Parasyte is still my number 1 this season it has been very consistent in all areas. Aldanoah I am watching as well it does have flaws though. They still have yet to explain space wind.

      • February 6, 2015 at 12:45 amLeDouche vi Britannia

        GOOD:
        Parasyte
        Nanatsu no Taizai
        Kuroko no Basket
        Durarara!!x2

        OKEY:
        Log Horizon
        Death Parade
        Ansatsu Kyoushitsu
        Aldnoah Zero

        WORST:
        Tokyo Shit √A
        Yuri Kuma AraShit
        Shigatsu wa Shit
        Absolute Shit

      • February 6, 2015 at 1:10 amJustpassingby

        Space wind. LMAO. Aldnoah is a physicist’s nightmare. Projectiles returning due to orbital motion, kataprakht deficiencies, gravity detection satellites. The list is long. Aldnoah is meant to be popcorn entertainment. Using logic will just infuriate you. Do you question plausibility in most action movies? Aldnoah is the same.

    • February 5, 2015 at 10:22 pmAtalla

      Samu is my hero.

      Ace of Diamond
      Yowamushi Pedal: Grande Road
      Gundam Build Fighters Try

      I’m really enjoying Ace of Diamond at the moment. The last game was a bit too long for me, but had some incredible parts to it. What gets me smiling is the new coach, too. A great addition – and he called out the one guy for worrying too much!

      • February 6, 2015 at 2:26 amSamu

        Thank you! They’re all really good shows that know exactly how to play to their own strengths. Thank god for the carryovers this season, tbh.

    • February 5, 2015 at 10:50 pmCorin

      Mm. As far as new shows this season, I fully enjoy Maria, Durarara, and Saenai, but I was already favourably disposed towards all of them from the source material. Death Parade I appreciate intellectually, but it’s still not yet quite resonating on an emotional or visceral level for me.. perhaps when the main cast develop a bit more. Koufuku is a good watch for relaxation and life contemplation, and gives me the same kind of feel Aria did, even if it’s not at that level yet.

      On the other end of the spectrum, Absolute Duo is still a paint-by-numbers with too many numbers, World Break is like a chuunibyou’s fanfiction, and Isuca, which I already thought was pretty bad from the source material, somehow managed to be even worse. Literally the only reason I have to even check out the first two any more is for Tamura Yukari and Yuuki Aoi’s respective voice work, and the latter is seriously wasted on her role in that show. Of all the series of this type this season, surprisingly the only one that turned out watchable for me was Unlimited Fafnir.

      Speaking of Fafnirs, it’s a crime the mecha Fafner doesn’t get more attention. It’s not actually surprising, though, given that right from the first episode it was less than accessible for anyone who wasn’t familiar with the loooong-ago first season, or at least the movie. Kantai Collection is also reasonably well-written, but tries too hard to appeal to its base game fanbase.

      …but I have to say so far the biggest disappointment for me is Rolling Girls. Yuri Kuma Arashi is needlessly heavy-handed on the imagery for what really seems so far like a pretty simplistic story, but that’s the director at work, so eh. But Rolling Girls meanders around with a main cast that act like moe caricatures, indulges in horribly forced melodrama that one can see coming from beyond the furthest horizon, and largely wastes a reasonably interesting premise. For me, Rolling Girls really is all flash and no substance, as of this point.

    • February 6, 2015 at 3:22 amAjaxRTO

      IMHO — absolute duo is slowly becoming like another “inobattle” anime… an anime that was dropped at 1st episode just to be found out that it have better story and taste than you have expected. and heck, absolute duo is better than that anime (forgot the title) where you gain power based on your past life

      unlimited fafnir, was just a throw in to fill my watchlist… i am not expecting much but it have a better story than that anime (forgot the title) where you gain power based on your past life… and also for the reason that it got tropes that i like >>>> a proud imotou (mitsuki), a clumsy bishoujo, the fact that they become grotesque dragons (cute to ugly) and some more (sex wars?)

    • February 6, 2015 at 3:37 amricz

      I’m enjoying Yatterman and Rolling girls for the new series

      Saenai is not bad and I’m still enjoying Shigatsu,Log horizon, Yona and Garo from the previous season

    • February 6, 2015 at 5:40 amMgMaster

      When it comes to winter season, I’m happy enough to have one anime that I’m really hooked on to go along with a few great carry-overs from fall. For me this was Junketsu no Maria that’s one of those surprise-surprise, dark horse of the season shows. It offers a pretty accurate representation of medial Europe with witches to boot which makes the religious aspect of the show more interesting. Even the sex discussions feel reasonably natural and well-integrated into the setting. It looks pretty good too and although it looses to Bahamut in style, in wins when it comes to substance. There’s quite a bit of gray in Junketsu no Maria, who will most likely surface through the decision making of our main character, Maria – no black & white here so far.

      Otherwise, I’m ever-so-thankful for the wonderful 2-cour offerings of fall, namely Parasite, Cross Ange, Akatsuki no Yona annnnnd I didn’t think I’d say this but Shigatsu as well(although to a lesser degree).

      And of course, the return of Aldnoah in all it’s trainwreck glory. As for this 2nd season of Toky Ghoul, I’m starting to think that it would’ve been better off just trying to go off the rails as Aldnoah, even without those visuals.

      Not as much into Death Parade as others but it’s entertaining enough and I think it’s starting to grow on me :P

    • February 6, 2015 at 5:46 amMisserable

      Shirobako and Death Parade are the only two anime series that could stop me on doing anything(including sleeping, taking a crap, making love…errr…forget about these!) right on when the new episodes are available!

    • February 6, 2015 at 7:55 amJoao Carlos

      About Nanatsu no Taizai. “Probably it’s straight from the source material; Nanatsu no Taizai appears to have been adapting faithfully for the most part.”

      They cut out one character and one side plotline, but what happens is straight the manga: they hush to the giant sh!t hit the fan. With King Arthur, Excalibur and everything (well, we all know that Merlin is with Arthur, right?), the battle against the villains will be big saiyajin style.

    • February 6, 2015 at 8:05 amJ_the_Man

      Parasite, Yatterman Nights, and Death Parade make up my top three this season. This really has been the most enjoyable season of anime I’ve experienced since watching it.

      Really, if you aren’t watching Yoru no Yatterman you really should.

    • February 6, 2015 at 8:54 amKamijou Konata

      HAHA, I’m only watching Nanatsu no Taizai at the moment, of all the anime that have mentioned [busy with RL, no choice]. It’s really good, I wonder why only a few knows about it.

      I have given up on Tokyo Ghoul. It’s a mess, it’s practically littering around and I don’t want to get more confused.

      • February 6, 2015 at 8:57 amKamijou Konata

        I forgot, I’m also into Kuroko, so make that two titles. HAHA

      • February 6, 2015 at 10:33 amWorldwideDepp

        you wrong, Nanatsu no Taizai has its fans here, and other shows

    • February 6, 2015 at 12:40 pmDwarg

      I’m experiencing deja-vu reading these first impressions, it’s like they were copy pasted from earlier posts or something

      • February 6, 2015 at 1:42 pmStilts

        Sometimes we have new things to say, but other times the monthlies are best used to either give a different perspective (usually Cherrie talking about a show someone else is blogging) or to summarize the past month for readers who may not read every post.

        Besides, there’s an old marketing adage: “Don’t worry about repeating yourself. You’ll be lucky if someone listen to you twice.” I’d warrant a lot of this is new to many readers, those among the silent majority if not among our more engaged commenters : )

        I’m not really arguing with you, by the way. Just explaining the logic behind it. If you’ve been reading all the weekly posts for a series, you’ll probably find some repetition here.

    • February 6, 2015 at 3:35 pmpearthefruit

      How are all of you guys watching like 10+ series… I barely have time for 2-3… lol

    • February 6, 2015 at 10:03 pmberrish17

      Thanks to all the staff for the Jan, Monthly impressions!

      Cherrie, thank you for your opinion on Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso. I respect your previous thoughts since every individual has their likes and not but really glad you feel different now :)

      • February 7, 2015 at 9:47 amCherrie

        I was actually hoping it would start developing the characters outside of Kousei and they did =) I wasn’t expecting Kaori to get sick so that was definitely interesting. Now I only hope they don’t use as a cheap plot device and make something good come out of it.

    • February 7, 2015 at 2:25 amDyour homework!

      Kinjou and Makishima have always been the two least interesting of the team for me, and by fan art and general popularity they don’t seem to be loved as much as many others.

      Makishima is THE most popular character of Yowamushi Pedal, refer to the popularity polls for one, among many other things. Please do some research before shooting off wrong statements based on your intuition.

      • February 7, 2015 at 3:44 amSamu

        Doh! I meant Tadokoro. Don’t ask why I get their names mixed up between those two but I do all the time… (I think he just looks like a Makishima?). Obviously that’s what I meant, since I know Makishima is the most popular among the cast (along with Onoda). Kinjou and Tadokoro do however seem a lot less popular, as I was meaning to say. ;)

        • February 7, 2015 at 7:36 amDyour homework!

          I think he just looks like a Makishima?

          …Yeah its as if they are twins, right? Anyway thanks for not getting riled up and taking my comment generally positively.

        • February 7, 2015 at 2:49 pmSamu

          I meant that Tadokoro would suit the name Makishima (imo anyway), and that’s why I often get mixed up.

      • February 7, 2015 at 11:21 pmguardian enzo

        Actually there have been 4 character polls, and Onoda has won all but one of them (where he was second to Makishima).

    • February 7, 2015 at 6:11 amShikaOwl

      go for death parade !!!

    • February 7, 2015 at 9:26 amJohn Hunt

      Seasons pretty much typical Winter. Lots of boring harem shows I have no interest in watching, a couple of suspense/thriller action titles that are okayish, but nothing special. Right now all I’m really following from this season is Death Parade and the second half of Stardust Crusaders which are so far just alright in that at least they entertain me and can hold my interest every week. Everything else I’ve either already dropped due to a lack of interest or had no interest in in the first place so never watched. Just not much else to comment on as not terribly too much to watch other than some carryovers from fall like Shirobako and the Gundam series.

    • February 7, 2015 at 5:36 pmjoestar

      I can’t remember the last time that an anime season didn’t have at least 3 or so shows that I genuinely looked forward to, but for this season it’s just Junketsu no Maria. That’s fine though–it’ll just make the spring season taste even better. And hopefully the harem overload will tire people of the genre a bit.

    • February 7, 2015 at 10:14 pmIncognito

      Might as well post my own impressions of the handful of anime picked up this Winter…

      Shows picked up this season:
      Shinmai Maou no Testament – For a show that’s supposed to be an “appetizer” for the new season of High School DxD this spring, it doesn’t…feel so appetizing anymore and I would rather skip to the aforementioned main course. Maybe it’s because I’ve become jaded towards ecchi anime that came after that and To LOVE-Ru (Darkness in particular).
      The only things that are keeping me glued to the show is the excellent character banter between seiyuu best buds Yuuichi Nakamura (Basara) and Tomokazu Sugita (Takigawa), hot school nurse Chisato Hasegawa, the still-ongoing reluctance about watching Absolute Duo (*cough*8bit*cough*), and the personal principle of finishing the list of shows I watch every season (good or ill). Still, it’d be nice if things got more interesting again.

      Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata – Personally, this was more of a fallback series in case Shinmai Maou no Testament did not measure up. But the clever writing and gags (occasionally a shout out to an anime/light novel/visual novel or a take that to the more unsavory aspects of otaku culture) help this show to stand on its own. (And that alternative character interpretation of Megumi Kato brought up by some fans also helps.) I’m actually looking forward to see this series realize its full potential.

      Kantai Collection – Despite not being part of the core target demographic of KanColle game players (Seriously, you don’t want more people to watch it?), I still enjoy this show as a military history buff since it sparks interest in the actual WWII ships the shipgirls are based on. Heck, I’d love to watch a new Robert Ballard documentary where he searches for WWII shipwrecks of Japanese warships like the Musashi. To a lesser extent, it would be awesome to see KanColle cross-promote with the upcoming World of Warships videogame (just like Girls und Panzer did with World of Tanks).
      Of course, it won’t change the fact that Imperial Japan did some rather nasty stuff during World War II–and I prefer to remember, in order that those same mistakes won’t be repeated. But modern (post-WWII) Japan has–in a way–atoned for and acknowledged those mistakes, and has done a lot to contribute to the global community (financially, technologically, and entertainment-wise) so Japan “sneezing funny” isn’t as bothersome as before. What concerns me more right now is another country that once suffered during the war, yet is on the path to become the next Imperial Japan… I’m talking of course about the “People’s Republic” of China. But I digress.
      Anyway, I can’t help but wonder if (spoilers for those who haven’t seen episode 3 to ep. 5 yet)…
      Show Spoiler ▼

      The iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls – There was some apprehension that Cinderella Girls would suffer the curse of having to live up to the success of the original iDOLM@STER anime. But the “noblebright” spirit of The iDOLM@STER still manages to shine on in Cinderella Girls, though like every candlelight, there’s always the danger of it flickering out.

      Carryovers from the previous season:
      Gundam Build Fighters Try – Slowly but surely, Try is starting to recapture what made the original Build Fighters enjoyable in the first place–the awesome battles, the mythology gags, the ship teasing/shipping wars, and the funny moments. Plus they can now use the mobile suits from Gundam 00 season 2 and Gundam AGE (if that’s your thing). The only thing lacking is for Try to get special permission to have a cameo appearance by a mobile suit or character from Reconguista In G (also airing this season).

      Gundam Reconguista In G – The story’s progressing, but Reconguista In G feels like it hasn’t left the world-building stage. (To be fair, a lot of things may have changed since the Universal Century era, though some things still stay the same.)