Here I conclude my opinions on the anime I watched from Spring 2014 with my top five shows. Enjoy!
5. Black Bullet – ★★★½
One might characterize this show as having all one would wish for in a shonen anime: plenty of action and brushes with death. It also had many things one could make fun of: examples may be seen here and here. The Joker-like villain was a great foe for Rentaro, though I must confess to disliking our hero. Rentaro’s a little inconsistent. Shooting someone’s finger off in revenge for cruelty and stabbing someone for threatening to run? Fine. Killing a parricidal brother whose actions caused the death of thousands more? O immane facinus! In Rentaro’s defense, he might have been more disturbed by Kisara’s conviction that she needs to become evil in order to defeat evil. She should familiarize herself with Jesus’ sermon on a house divided against itself. But, I have an article on that scene in the works.
This show has everything an otaku needs: great action sequences, anime lines, likable characters, and a harem with girls fitting any taste. Worthwhile for any fan of action also.
4. Soredemo Sekai ga Utsukushii – ★★★★
I almost feel generous in giving Soredemo Sekai ga Utsukushii four stars, but it had two of the strongest characters this season. (Thanks again to Lee Relph for recommending it to me.) Of the shows I’ve seen, I can’t find a stronger female character than Nike or a stronger male character than Livius. Normally, I don’t watch romantic shows, but this one had a good dose of court intrigue to make things more exciting. Nevertheless, the salient features of the show stand as the love between Nike and Livius and the many tribulations they endure for the sake of their love. The show also has some great humor.
Whether one likes comedy or romance, one should not pass this show up.
3. Tonari no Seki-kun – ★★★★
This was the most popular short comedy during both this season and the last one. Its gags are sure to provoke vehement guffaws, and the show contains some likable characters–especially Yokoi. The way entire episodes are narrated from one point of view, usually Yokoi’s, also make this work unique. Yokoi’s voice actress, Kana Hanazawa, does a brilliant job of narration–whether it be her thoughts on Seki’s bizarre games or her own outlandish fantasies.
Though there might not be that much to this show besides the comedy, I highly recommend it.
2. Knights of Sidonia – ★★★★
Much better than the manga. This is a particularly dark story where the characters die in great frequency. One gets the impression that no one is safe, which reminds me of how the makers of the old TV series Combat! would place the characters’ pictures on a dartboard to decide who would kick the bucket in certain episodes. I thought that Knights of Sidonia had a slow start, which nicely described the atmosphere of Sidonia and humanity’s present existence. The CG worked perfectly in this high technology setting with backgrounds reminiscent of steam punk anime. The ending was just about perfect. Unlike the series mentioned before, this suffered from having somewhat uninteresting characters though the plot and pacing were excellent. If the characters–especially the main character–were less bland, I could easily see this show as being worthy of a full five stars.
Definitely a great dark, sci-fi, which I would watch again.
1. Hitsugi no Chaika – ★★★★
I loved that the story was set in the world of Scrapped Princess. Ichiro Sakaki has his usually deft touch with characters, action, and humor. This show is much darker than Scrapped Princess, and one can see influences from Strait Jacket, a prior work of Sakaki’s. (That OVA is not for the faint of heart.) I must compare this show to Scrapped Princess in that the same kind of trio forms up and soldiers are again seeking to capture a princess; however, it delves more into themes of identity, loyalty, and humanity than justice, trust, and family.
If anything is keeping the show from the higher ratings, it lies in the story not being complete. Otherwise, it’s a great anime.
Now, I need to figure out what I ought to watch for the summer season–besides Barakamon, Zankyo no Terror, Akame ga Kiru, and Psycho-Pass.