Fantasy Galore: My Anime Picks for the Fall of 2014

My lack if focus resulted in this article’s long delay.  (We’re almost on the fourth week of the season!)  And so, this will be a brief rundown of why I decided on seven particular shows.  My dear readers might have noticed that this is one more show than I originally planned.  I Can’t Understand What My Husband is Saying is only three minutes long, so adding one more show did not seem like it would hurt.  Without further ado, let me start with the shows which failed to make the cut.

WT1

1) World Trigger

Bloggers have called episode one rather dull, and I’d have to agree.  Yet, the second episode delved more deeply into our heroes’ psyches, and I found the clash of their worldviews interesting.  You might say that Kuga has more of a cowboy ethos (go 1:28 into this clip to see what I mean; though, it must be confessed that Kuga is no John Wayne), while Osamu holds to a much more civilized morality of the rules protecting one, which Kuga believes only goes so far.  The war with the Neighbors reminds me of the conflict with the Nova in Freezing–only that the necessary power to defeat the aliens is not restricted to the fair sex.

Though other series proved to be more entertaining, I would not be surprised if I returned to this show later.

Let me also mention that I hate the main character.

Let me also mention that I hate the main character.

2) Nanatsu no Taizai (aka The Seven Deadly Sins)

I read through about half of the first volume of the manga before watching episode one of the anime.  That episode followed the manga with slavish exactitude.  For this series, I consider this unwillingness to differ  from the manga a bad thing: the manga strikes me as dull and uninspiring.  I did not even have to use my Japanese dictionary most of the time–a sure sign of a mediocre manga unless Rumiko Takahashi is behind it.

Perhaps the later episodes show why the manga won the “Kono Manga ga Sugoi” award, but the blandness of the beginning overwhelmed me.

Amagi1

3) Amagi Brilliant Park

The only anime which bored me more than this show’s first episode was X: the Movie.  With regards to X, I lasted five minutes and Amagi Brilliant Park bored me to tears in seventeen and a half minutes.  None of the gags struck me as funny.  This from the guy who gave us Full Metal Panic! Fumoffu?!  The passing of Shoji Gatoh’s sense of humor warrants a day of mourning for all fandom.

ero-hon inspector

4) Denki-gai Honya-san

Having seen episode one, I discerned some potential for this show.  The second half was funnier than the first.  However, an anime about the quirky workers at a Japanese bookstore had no chance of making the final cut.  Perhaps, I’ll watch this when I have more time.  (If you haven’t noticed, most of my decisions are rather cutthroat, which may be laid at the feet of the loss of leisure I’ve suffered recently.  C’est la vie!)

suit of armor

5) Garo: Honoo no Kokuin

This is perhaps the best show among the anime I’ve tried which did not make the final cut.  The world of this fantasy draws one in with manifold types of conflict: witches vs. demons, demons vs. humanity, and the state vs. witches.  Note well that witches are demon slayers in this world, but that demons have deceived the king into believing that witches are plotting against him so that they might use the might of the government to purge witches from existence.  Our hero was born during his mother’s execution, and a knight was only able to save the baby, whom he has raised for seventeen years when our main plot begins.

You better believe that I’ll pick this action-packed anime up as soon as I have the time. 🙂

Just Staring

6) Terraformars

Of the many things I loathe about this show, I shall limit myself to a select few of its flaws.  Most glaring is the sacrifice of the show’s unique premise and cool characters to the goal of making this a stupid and gory horror show.  One of the reasons I despise the horror genre is that most of its tales run on stupid people dying unnecessarily and in horrific manners.  At the end of the second episode, I became sick at seeing characters frozen in terror or merely contemplating the giant, ugly humanoid cockroaches instead of using the time to react in constructive ways.  (Reminded me of Shingeki no Kyoujin to tell you the truth.)  Episode three continued the trend, and I dropped it.

I think I need to go watch some Christopher Lee’s Dracula movies or Silver Bullet in order to cleanse the memory of this show from my system.

Shigatsu

7) Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (literally “April is Your Lie”; aka Your Lie in April)

This is another good show which I’m declining for the nonce.  The anime promises a good story, where a depressed youth rediscovers his joie de vivre through music and meeting a vivacious beauty.  This title will be saved for when I feel in the mood for a romantic, slice-of-life anime.  Thanks to David A and iblessall for the recommendation!

Anime that Made the Cut

Kowai

1) Inou Battle Within Everyday Life

The fifth spot in my watch list was opened for this show.  I have to watch Trigger’s take on a supernatural harem anime set in high school!  The first episode was highly entertaining in both its characters and the comedic scenario of members of a literature club gaining super powers.  As of yet, I wonder whether any of them are actually into reading books.  The literature club might as well be the GJ club.

pwned

2) Akatsuki no Yona

Like Knights of Sidonia, I did not particularly care for the manga, but I enjoyed the first episode of the anime.  I lay the responsibility for my renewed interest in this story on the voice actors, who bring the characters to life in a way that the mangaka could not on the page.  Let’s see how long this tale of war, intrigue, betrayal, and romance holds my attention.

Cute and Deadly

3) Madan no Ou to Vanadis

Reading Jusuchin’s articles on this show convinced me to watch it before I saw episode one, which confirmed my decision.  A perfect show for a fantasy lover: the characters stand out, and the show includes plenty of action.  Our hero and his captor have an interesting relationship.  Does Eleonora want Tigre for his archery skills or romantically?  Will she do anything about saving his fief of Alsace?  The Eleonora’s personality seems reminiscent of the eponymous protagonist of Medaka Box.  (No, I haven’t seen this show yet, but I’ve read a few articles on it and a few chapters of the manga.)  This show stands a high chance of rating a 9/10 if they do everything right.

SBG

4) Shingeki no Bahamut

I would not be surprised if this became the best show of the season, though it shall receive stiff competition from Hitsugi no Chaika (At least one of my dear readers is rolling their eyes, but I have faith that the second season will surpass the first!) and Psycho-Pass 2.  In episode one of Shingeki no Bahamut, I loved the references to Terminator 2Gun x Sword, and Devil Lady.  This action packed series boasts a good sense of humor and very idiosyncratic animation.  I look forward to watching this show.

Danna to Oku-san

5) I Can’t Understand What My Husband is Saying

At only three minutes long, this anime can easily fit into anyone’s schedule.  The married couple reminds me of Saki and Kousaka of Genshiken; however, Hajime is much more likable than Kousaka.  I look forward to watching this odd couple every week, though some gags fall flat.

Too rough

6) Hitsugi no Chaika 2

Psy2

 

7) Psycho-Pass 2

This article is already long enough, so I won’t describe how I feel about those last two shows.  I confess that my goal of determining which of the new shows I would watch preventing me from watching Psycho-Pass 2 at all and gave time for only one of Hitsugi no Chaika.  That will change shortly!  How does my watch list compare to yours?

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23 comments on “Fantasy Galore: My Anime Picks for the Fall of 2014

  1. Genki Jason says:

    Nanatsu no Taizai is pure shounen action and it didn’t grip my attention. It does the battles, schoolboy humour and gags we are all familiar with. It does look pretty, though.

    Amagi Brilliant Park… Hated the first episode and I didn’t bother with the rest.

    I watched the OVA for Terraformars back in September and I wasn’t impressed by the story or animation. Reading subsequent reviews on the net, I’m glad I didn’t pick it up.

    I’m watching Parasyte, Shingeki no Bahamut, Psycho-Pass 2 and Gugure!! Kokkuri-san. I’m pleased with my choices because they are all good looking, dark and have some profundity to them – even the seemingly silly comedy like Gugure!! is pretty dark. In terms of quality… it’s either Shingeki no Bahamut or Parasyte. Shingeki has the best looking animation this year but Parasyte edges it in terms of story and voice acting.

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    • Nanatsu no Taizai did feel overwhelmingly cliche. People new to the fantasy genre might love it, but it does not seem to contain anything original. In spite of that, I’ll probably still finish reading volume one of Nanatsu no Taizai if only to exercise my Japanese. 🙂

      When I read your comment on Amagi’s jokes not even being funny, I could not believe it and had to see for myself. And yes, you were completely right! How was the same person able to create perhaps the funniest anime ever produced?

      I might find myself Gugure!! later–especially if the latter proves to have some great humor. Sci-fi isn’t my favorite genre, though it can have some great stories. So, I doubt that I’ll ever get around to watching Parasyte. And we all know that the best talking hand is Vampire Hunter D’s!

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  2. David A says:

    World Trigger: Is sad that this anime got that mediocre animation… but I think the story and characters are interesting, although the pacifism of one of the protagonists is tiring at times. A plus for me, is that there is no fanservice.

    I’ve been reading opinions about that show, I find a bit disconcerting that the protagonists (specially Osamu) are being disliked in a rather strong manner.

    It reminds me of some opinions (from western fans) about Star Saber from Transformers: Victory (the one in my current avatar). So virtuous characters (like Star Saber), or at least characters trying to be decent like Osamu are found as boring… well, it seems some people is too attached to their favorite immoral or morally ambiguous characters and the celebration they received in lots of productions.

    Nanatsu no Taizai: I wrote about my impressions from reading about that one here: https://medievalotaku.wordpress.com/2014/09/18/fall-2014-anime-to-try-out/

    Amagi Brilliant Park: With Free! Kyoani got into the market of fujoshi bait fanservicey series… with this one, they made a more “conventional” fanservicey series. I think Kyoto Animation hasn’t made a show like this, -or similar- in years. Not recommendable, I think, although personally, isn’t an ocassion of sin for me.

    Isuzu reminds me of some characters from other series, but I can’t pinpoint exactly which ones yet. Regarding character design, speaking of human or humanoid characters, looks like an amalgam of recent styles they’ve tried. And, about the mascots, the eyes are strange. Only irises, but detailed ones.

    Denki-gai Honya-san: I was reading about the first eps… wow, another otaku pandering show, celebrating the unsavory aspects of the fandom… an episode around manga porn. Terrible.

    Garo: Honoo no Kokuin: I was reading about that one. Who is doing the persectuing, a Church, or the State? looks like a cliched stroy about the “dark” ages, with a Church persecuting “poor” heathens are heretics that are the heroes, etc, etc.

    Terraformars: I only watched the OVA. I haven’t watched the series.

    Speaking of Black Bullet… how it was? they added more sex-crazed little girls? what about fanservice, or yuri (these recent seasons have been including lots of shows with that), etc?

    Inou Battle Within Everyday Life: Is interesting and has some hilarious moments, the characters are nice and varied too. And surprisingly for a show of that style, mostly fanservice-free, except for some details, like the breast bouncing animation form a character in the op (the black haired one), and a partial pantyshot (although these looked like some type of shorts). What is bothering me is the older brother of the red-head, with the references to demons… I hope it doesn’t turn into a case like the second season of Chuunibyou (that I dropped because the yuri and what I’m mentioning next) where the new girl in a water park episode did some sort of “pleading”, mentioning demons by name.

    Akatsuki no Yona: I want to watch that one, looks very interesting.

    Madan no Ou to Vanadis: I’ve been reading about that one. Is the fanservice too bad?

    Shingeki no Bahamut: They featured the immodestly dressed nuns and female clerics from the cardgame? what about the other girls?

    I Can’t Understand What My Husband is Saying: Watched the first ep, they skipped some of the worst and more vulgar jokes from the manga. That husband… has her wife, and still had what were implied to be porn magazines around. Some parts were hilarious though. I think they could have made a better critique of the worst parts of the “otaku” lifestyle.

    But, I was reading about the second ep… I didn’t watched that episode. They included trap character that makes porn about his brother. Why the ruin the series like that?

    Hitsugi no Chaika 2: I’m watching that one too. One of my favorites from this season. Is a series with some fantastic aesthetic choices. Some of the character designs are very interesting, although I would prefer if some of the girls were more modestly dressed. I like the naming style too. Some names are very impressive and nice sounding. And Chaika is so cute!

    Psycho-Pass 2: I was reading about the first one… another show where they got a couple of lesbians, and even implied some sexual scenes. It seems that Urobuchi likes these type of characters. Other thing I find bothering about that, is when they do that in a series that seems to be of high quality and with an interesting story.

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    • Well, Osamu is a rigid moralist. Puritanical characters are never liked. There is always the impression that they are trying to stand above their fellow men. Even Jesus Christ, though perfectly sinless, doesn’t strike one as a rigid moralist standing above his fellows like the Pharisees, which is why He is eminently approachable.

      In the first episode, the history of the witches struck me as like that of the Templars. Not really a commentary against the Church, but more against fickle kings. And, Black Bullet was a lot of fun. You can gather as much from the few articles I dedicated to it.

      Madan no Ou to Vanadis and Shingeki no Bahamut have a certain degree of fanservice, but not enough to detract from the story in a notable way. They’re fun fantasy epics, and I’m looking forward to them.

      Chaika is fulfilling all my expectations. I’m hoping for the second season to have a tighter plot. I’d recommend Psycho-Pass to you as an eminently good show, unless very gory scenes would bother you. (They are quite shocking and usually not lingered on for too long.) But, I thought the story and themes were awesome.

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      • David A says:

        Yes, he looks like a try-hard too. But what is bothering people? the concept of a moral character? his try-hard style? or what?

        During the years, I’ve noticed that instead of uplifting characters, people is liking more and more “relatable” characters that instead reflect their miseries. Plus the popularity of certain immoral characters (of course, for some people they aren’t being perceived as immoral unless said character is bad in a still unpopular way (abusers, violent characters, etc). There is a need for certain variety of characters, but what we are having now, are self-reflecting series an “art” that doesn’t uplift the spirit.

        Regarding Star Saber, from the few episodes I’ve watched from Tf: Victory, he is just a virtuous character, but without too much “dept” since is a children oriented show, even compared to other Transformers series. But still, I think he works as a symbolic character, and is a style of character that could be explored more in recent series. While Autobot leaders share certain similarities, Star Saber seems to be different in style compared to Optimus Prime, for example. There are lots of things to write about with such a character, so much potential.

        What was bothering me from Shinkegi, were the immodestly dressed nuns and female clerics. But I don’t know if these are going to appear, or appeared yet.

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  3. David A says:

    Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso: Watched the first ep, and a part of the second… I dropped it. It was really, really sad what they did. When one girl is going to do her musical presentation, she makes a prayer… I searched about the meaning of these two words together. The results, point to a very disturbing origin.

    These appear in the name of a Hayate the Combat Butler episode, a videogame, and a yaoi fan manga… and, these come from a book about occult topics, from some sort of invocation or ritual.

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  4. MIB says:

    Interesting choices, some which we agree on, some in which we differ! 😛

    My watch list for this season are:

    Parasyte
    Shingeki no Bahamut
    Psycho-Pass 2
    Gugure!! Kokkuri-san
    Shinbako
    Garo – The Animation
    Ookami Shoujo to Kuro Ouji
    Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso
    Terraformars
    Sora no Method
    Denki-gai no Honya-san
    Hitsugi no Chaika 2

    A mixture of funny, light and fluffy and hard hitting fantasy action as you can see. 🙂 I deliberately avoided those shows which were or looked to be harem shows since they are ten a penny and get old very quickly.

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    • That’s a very strong list! A part of me does regret not putting Garo on mine, but I suspect that I’ll pick it up at the end of this season or if one of the anime on my list ends up being disappointing. Parasyte and Shirobako also looked interesting, and I want to see what other bloggers write about them.

      The funny thing about harem shows is that so many exist because they can be so entertaining. And yet, that only increases the chance that they’ll be stuffed with cliches. But, I hope that Trigger makes Inou Battle within Everyday Life work.

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  5. David A says:

    Later I’ll comment about the other shows I’m watching that you didn’t mentioned here. 🙂

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  6. David A says:

    I was checking Shinkegi wiki… immodestly dressed female angels, and a plot about demons, angels and humans siding against a dragon… plus religious syncretism. Usually, If the productions are like the Ilyad, or fantasy series (like Chaika), without syncretism between Christianism and paganism, I don’t see a problem. But this… even they got a St. Jean D’Arc character. At least it wasn’t fanservicey.

    It reminds me of Shaman King, another syncretist show… and that’s just a part of its problems. (I finished the manga almost 4 years ago).

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    • I’m curious to see what they do with the religious syncretism. One can’t really know for sure if it will be absolutely negative or just unorthodox until watching several episodes. I’ve only seen one so far, but it was great!

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      • David A says:

        The premise already gives some insight into the concepts that are being used.

        They are featuring a concept that has been appearing in various productions: good, evil and chaos. For example, Angels, demons, and strange creatures, that could be based on cephalopods (a popular choice) and are chaotic or incomprehensible.

        In this case, they have: Angels, humans, demons and a dragon.

        Other bothering element is the design of the Angels.

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  7. David A says:

    I saw the four available episodes of Madan no Ou to Vanadis, the story and characters (specially the protagonists, and friends) are very interesting. Although it has fanservice, -undetailed nudity, exposure of undergarments, and immodest outfits-, but the chapters don’t go around these scenes, thankfully.

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    • Yep, Madan no Ou to Vanadis is a great show. I’ve yet to see the fourth episode, but the battles and our hero’s skill with archery are particularly entertaining. The hero and the heroine have a great relationship. Actually, this show has an awful lot to like about it. It just might turn out to be my favorite this season, though three shows are giving it stiff competition: Psycho-Pass 2, Hitsugi no Chaika 2, and Shingeki no Bahamut.

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      • David A says:

        I though it was going to be more generic, but it resulted way better than what I was expecting.

        I like that Tigre’s character design looks manly (in what the style allows), since many male anime characters have certain androgynous look. Also, the three main girls shown (Ellen, Limlisha and Tiita) are beautiful., although I would have preferred more modest clothes for them. These armors and costumes look a bit ridiculous with the vacuum sealed-looking chest area.

        The relationship has various refreshing elements, instead of dragging the hints of attraction, they show these since the first episodes.

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  8. There’s some overlap between our watching lists, though that was inevitable considering the amount I pick up each season. 😛

    I dropped World Trigger after the underwhelming first episode, and although I gave Nanatsu no Taizai the benefit of the doubt, it’ll have to improve considerably over the next episode or two for me to keep watching until the end.

    Denki-gai Honya-san didn’t appeal to my sense of humour, though Amagi Brilliant Park certainly did, and has continued to entertain me for 5 episodes.

    Garo and Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso were probably the best shows I didn’t pick up; I’m not sure what it was about them that didn’t win me over, but I’ll likely return to them at a later date.

    I also dropped Terraformars early on in episode 3, though it was due to the censorship as opposed to the violence and gore – if the screen goes black every time something major happens, I might as well not watch it at all. Not that I particularly wanted to see what was behind the censorship (I agree it was over the top, and probably won’t revisit the uncensored version), but it’d be better than watching nothing at all, which is basically what the censored broadcast amounted to.

    As for what you’ve picked up, Hitsugi no Chaika and Psycho-Pass were among my most highly anticipated Autumn offerings, and so far they haven’t disappointed. 😀 Shingeki no Bahamut is one of the few non-sequel shows that has managed to compete with them in my rankings, the other being Parasyte.

    Akatsuki no Yona, I’ve also picked up, but it’s fairly middle-of-the-road for me so far. Could be good once it gets going (i.e. once all the flashbacks and flashforwards are out of the way, and the focus remains in the ‘present’!)

    Inou Battle Within Everyday Life bored me to tears, no doubt similar to your reactions to Amagi Brilliant Park – humour is definitely the most subjective of genres! Madan no Ou to Vanadis wasn’t bad, but I felt my list already had enough fantasy for one season. And as for I Can’t Understand What My Husband is Saying, I tend not to watch short-episode anime weekly, so I’ve yet to check that or any of the others out.

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    • It’s interesting that you and Marlin-sama found Amagi Brilliant Park funny. As you said, humor is very subjective. You almost make me want to watch the second episode.

      Yeah, the amount of censorship in Terraformars just gave me the impression that the show should never have been made at all. (And this is coming from someone who watches Akame ga Kiru.) But, they way they focused on the gore seemed to ruin a great premise.

      Hitsugi no Chaika and Psycho-Pass are great. The funny thing about the former is that I’ve realized that I watch it most for Frederica and Akari rather than our two main characters. I nearly fell out of my chair when Akari claimed her brother could imitate a cockatrice while naked! xD And it is nice to see how Akane is much more mature in this season of Psycho-Pass.

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