KiraKira Treasure Box

Spring 2015 Anime first impressions

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We're officially a full month into the spring 2015 anime season, and with each series having about 4 episodes out each we've all pretty much decided by now which animes are worth following and which aren't. This season has actually surprised me with a great deal of series I'm hoping to watch at some point, but because my brain can only keep up with a certain number of storylines at a time I've selected only a few to follow weekly. Hopefully I've chosen wisely...

New projects


Seraph of the End

Owari no Seraph

Title: 終わりのセラフ
Studio: Wit Studio
Allotted episodes: 12 (+ planned second season)
Episodes watched so far: 4

Humanity has fallen... but not because of Titans. A virus of unknown origins gets released into the world, killing off every infected human over the age of 13. Now Vampires rule the world, and Hayakuya Yuuichirou, along with all the other children at his orphanage, get taken in by them and enslaved. After a series of tragic events, Yuuichirou escapes the facility where ha has been trapped in for four years. A further four years down the lane, Yuu has enlisted in the Japanese Demon Army and lusts for revenge: he will exterminate all vampires.
Owari no Seraph first caught my attention when Viz Media announced it would be licensing it. I'm a sucker for pretty artwork, and I'm very guilty of judging a book by its cover. Thus hearing it would be getting an anime adaptation I decided to hold back from reading the manga and wait for this release. But it's hard not to see the similarities this story shares with the very famous and incredibly popular Attack on Titan series, and if you haven't yet then you're just fooling yourself. Even the studio in charge is the same one, and the same music composer, Sawano Hiroyuki (god I love this man), is back to score the entire series. Far from accusing it of plagiarism, I've gotta praise Wit Studio for spotting a pattern in what audiences like: dystopia, chaos, and a fight for freedom. That's exactly what Owari no Seraph has to offer, and after blindly jumping into this anime not knowing what on earth it was about I have both been very pleasantly surprised and slightly disappointed. Pleasantly surprised by the unusual backdrops that seem pulled out of an 80s anime, the wonderfully fluid animation, the epic score (duh) and the very addictive opening and ending theme songs. Disappointed in the baka protagonist, and the amount of waisted potential in certain events that so far seemed very rushed... I get time is an issue when you've only got 12 episodes allotted, but would it really kill you to take some time with that scene right there and try to actually make me care about what's happening?
Though episodes 1 & 2 were incredibly hopeful it's clear after 4 episodes we'll be walking down a similar path as Sword Art Online with a ridiculously over-powered protagonist who so far has overcome everything that's been thrown at him with great ease. But there's a lot of mystery out there left to resolve, and I can't help but dare to speculate that Yuu will soon hit a wall, which would bump the rating up by a lot. But despite my criticism, this anime is highly addictive, and it's got the potential to easily become the next sensation after Tokyo Ghoul and Attack on Titan (if it doesn't fuck up bad that is).

The Heroic Legend of Arslan

Arslan Senki 

Title: アルスラーン戦記
Studio: Liden Films
Allotted episodes: 25
Episodes watched so far: 4

I must make a confession: I had not heard of Arslan Senki until I arrived in Japan and saw it on the cover of the magazine in which Hiromu Arakawa's manga adaptation gets serialised. I instantly recognized it as her drawing style and flipped... what do you mean Arakawa has a new manga out that I do not know of? A little bit of research led me to understand that The Heroic Legend of Arslan is a fantasy series of novels by Tanaka Yoshiki that has been going on since 1986, and it has been adapted to manga and anime before. So knowing this and catching wind of news that announced a new adaptation that would be riding on Arakawa's popularity, I was very hyped.
Arslan, the young and sensitive prince of Pars, has a lot to live up to being the son of the undefeated King Andragoras, and many around him doubt he has what it takes to become King. He lives a carefree life in the, but during his maiden battle at 14 years of age betrayal and a mysterious masked man defeat the Parsian army and throw his life into chaos, and according to Kodansha USA's summary, he's gonna have to gather up his allies and reclaim his fallen Kingdom. So, does Arslan Senki live up to the hype? Meh, sort of. Before you fans out there cast me into a sea of flames, let me say that my complains lie not in the story (which is right up my alley) but in the execution of it. I understand Liden Films seems to be a fairly new studio, but having marathoned through Unlimited Blade Works Season 1 and Fate/Zero recently has set my standards quite high when it comes to battle animation. We might not be dealing with magical overpowered familiars here, but that doesn't mean I don't expect fights to look cool and make me go FUCK YES. I find that many scenes don't carry the intensity I want them to carry, and I've gotta say it all feels quite sloppy, which ultimately leads to it feeling draggy. I won't be dropping it, but I fear this might become a similar experience to Golden Time, where, despite not having read the source material, a gut feeling in me tells me the anime doesn't live up to it, and I'll just be sitting there like come on come on come on!! only to watch it fall and flop when it's about to reach its goal. Though the music is brilliant, and I'm looking forward to seeing Arslan grow up, gather his allies, and become a real King (yes yes yes yes yes). Whether the directors manage to convey the power an epic story like this carries, only time will tell.


Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches

Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo

Title: 山田くんと7人の魔女
Studio: Liden Films
Allotted episodes: 12
Episodes watched so far: 3

After a very successful drama adaptation (which I have yet to see), Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches is now back in anime format. This anime had the word COMEDY splattered all over it from the get go, and I was actually quite exited to finally get to see it and giggle along with it. Yamada Ryuu is a good for nothing delinquent who is known as his school's worst problem kid. Shiraishi Urara is the school's ace student who never seems to crack a smile. These two fall down the stairs and accidentally kiss... and swap bodies. It seems like Yamada's got the power to swap bodies with whomever he kisses, and hilarity and misunderstandings ensue as those around him gather to be part of the show.
Liden Film's other anime this season simultaneously broadcasting with Arslan Senki has a very different vibe to it. Though Yamada-kun might not be the most brilliant and stunning story out there, it proves to be a very entertaining pastime. It reminds me of Witch Craft Works in more ways than one, other than the obvious witch theme. They're both entertaining, and they don't require much thinking when watching. Like Witch Craft Works, this anime will most likely turn out to be the type you forget about once the new season rolls over, but it's humour and silly setting will have you thinking of it fondly if it ever gets mentioned in a conversation. Is Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo an absolute must watch? Not really, but it's light story telling make it perfect to just disconnect and, you know, have fun with it's bright colours and stereotypically comedic characters. It's only flaw so far is probably that every now and then it tries to take itself too seriously and add in some unnecessary drama that doesn't fit the fast pace the episodes have, because drama isn't something you can just skim over. None the less, I'll be following Yamada-kun this season and perhaps reading the manga if it hooks me enough.

My Love Story!!

Ore Monogatari!!

Title: 俺物語!!
Studio: Madhouse
Allotted episodes: 24
Episodes watched so far: 4

Ore Monogatari!! is probably the anime I was most looking forward to in this spring season, mainly because it was the only new project I was 100% sure I was going to love the shit out of. It's taken me a great deal of patience not to rush to my local bookstore and grab the first few volumes, but I've been generously rewarded. I regret nothing.
Takeo and Makoto have been friends since god knows how long, but everybody seems to flip when they reveal this fact. Truth is, they don't match at all. Makoto is ridiculously handsome and mysterious, a girls ideal prince charming, whilst Takeo's looks suit a sumo wrestler more than a high-schooler. Still, Takeo is a friendly chap with a strong sense of justice who's sort of resigned himself to the fact that all the girls he crushes on end up liking Makoto. So when Rinko, a girl Taeko falls for after saving her from a molester on the train, seems to be falling for Makoto too, Takeo sets himself to cheer on their relationship.
My Love Story!! is excellent in that it doesn't beat around the bush and isn't unnecessarily awkward. It's here to make us laugh, and it knows exactly how to do it. But most surprisingly, it's here to teach us about appearances, about judging, and about the importance of bromance. Every episode of this unimaginably crazy rom-com has me going kya kya as I roll around on the floor. These candy colours? These cheerful tunes? These wonderful characters? As if I wouldn't fall in love with everything this series has to offer. Everything about it makes me smile. Of course, comedy is a very subjective element so whether this series cracks you up or not depends entirely on your sense of humour, but who can deny the sweetness of the plot? How can you not fall in love with Takeo the Big Friendly Giant with his gorilla looks and teddy-bear soul? I'll most definitelly be following this one religiously from beginning to end. It'll even be 24 episodes long... 24!! Thank you, kami-sama...

Continuations


Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works Season 2

Title: Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works] 2nd シーズン
Studio: Ufotable
Allotted episodes: 13
Episodes watched so far: 4

I very much knew of the popularity the Fate/Stay Night franchise was blessed with, but I never understood why. Mainly because I had no clue what the story was about, and wasn't even sure who the protagonist was (AMVs had me suspecting everybody of being the MC). When I came up and confessed this to a terribly fanatic friend of mine he came this close to sticking my head down the toilet... but instead he decided we would marathon through Unlimited Blade Works and Fate/Zero, and thus here I am (alive and well, thankfully). There's little to say about this release: those of you who stuck around with the first season know what you're in for. Ufotable keeps up with the crazy visuals and high budget animation that has me wiping the drool off my face every 5 seconds, and the soundtrack is as mind-blowing as ever. Heck, Aimer is singing the opening. If that's not a good reason enough to keep watching, then get out of my face right now.
The story continues as Shirou decides to make the Holy Grail War his business despite losing his position as Saber's Master, and my Rin/Shirou ship is sailing itself into the night sky (I DON'T THINK YOU UNDERSTAND HOW MUCH I LOVE THESE TWO). This season started with a hard blow to our hearts, and it doesn't look like it's quite done yet. After all the suffering Fate/Zero has brought me I really just want this season to end well. Not happy. I just need it to end well. It's all I'm asking for, please. I'm keeping myself away from all sorts of spoilers, so I literally have no clue where this is heading towards, and I'm loving it. Everything about this season has me on edge, and I want it to stay like that for the rest of the ride, because it's been a very long time since an anime got me this pumped. I'm pretty sure this entire franchise was made to obsess me.

Nisekoi:

Title: ニセコイ:
Studio: Shaft
Allotted episodes: 12
Episodes watched so far: 3

Shonen Jump's most popular harem series is back for a second season, enjoying a lot of popularity these days. But though everybody seems to be loving the female cast of the series I must confess I've grown a bit tired of it. To be perfectly honest with you I wasn't really planning on watching this, but seeing as it'll only be 12 episodes long... mehh, why not?
The reason for it being that I've been following the manga for a few years already, and though I found the beginning hilarious and loved the humorous reactions and over the top comedy, Nisekoi has ever since forgotten what it's own title meant and become very episodic, with nothing new to offer. Though the "mysterious first love with whom I've made a promise to marry" malarkey sounds rather cliché, it actually was a very interesting force to pull the story forwards... until it reached the end of its rope, and the only option left was to keep introducing new female characters that kept falling for Ichijou Raku, our hopelessly plain yet ridiculously popular protagonist. The first season adapted all the volumes where I still found Nisekoi enjoyable, but from here on out it's the stuff I've been reading to kill time. I was hoping the anime would enlighten me and show that Nisekoi after the Romeo&Juliet arc wasn't a lost cause after all, but the first three episodes haven't really changed my opinion, and to top it all off we've already had a few instances of sloppy animation. Even the opening isn't as good as season one's openings... Still, they say humans are silly pitiful creatures, and here I am waiting to receive a sign from god to prove to me this series is still worth my time. Hopefully I won't die before that happens.

So that's it peeps! What are you pretties watching this season, and does your opinion differ from mine on these six contestants I've selected? Below are the series I'll most likely marathon through once they're done airing or possibly watch if the reviews are positive, but if you've got any recommendations, any series you think I should absolutely follow weekly, feel free to state them!!

Marathoning:
Blood Blockade Battlefront
Food Wars! Shokugeki no Souma [ will probably pick this one up once it's halfway through ]
Kyoukai no Rinne
My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO!
Sound! Euphonium

Depending on the reviews:
The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan
Plastic Memories
Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?



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