Fall 2014 First Impressions

Marlin-sama is blogging again! He always offers some interesting opinions–the most controversial of which being his claim that Madoka is a better Savior than Our Lord. (That resulted in the production of some very interesting posts on both sides of the issue!)
In this post, he briefly comments on the merits of this season’s shows and offers his recommendations. The most interesting of which is that Amagi Brilliant Park is perhaps the best series of this season! (Coming back from hiatus with another controversial comment! xD But, perhaps this show has more to it than I have given it credit for.)  I hope to read more of his posts in the coming weeks. Be sure to follow him!

Affinity for Anime

Hello everyone. I’ve been on a little hiatus for the better part of the past year, but I want to get back into blogging. I’m not sure how often I’ll be writing new content, but I have to start somewhere.

Here’s my thoughts on Fall 2014’s anime lineup followed by my recommendation of either “watch,” “maybe,”  or “don’t watch.”

Terra Formars – While I was intrigued by the idea of an anime that dealt with the subject matter of a terraformed Mars, in the end the first episode didn’t sufficiently hold my attention with its mediocre story and dark art style. (maybe)

26696609Denkigai no Honya-san – A wonderful mash-up of the best parts of Working!! (Wagnaria) and Genshiken, this series is set in an anime bookstore with a great cast of moe characters, romantic comedy and jokes any serious anime fan will enjoy. (watch)

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9 comments on “Fall 2014 First Impressions

  1. David A says:

    Yes, controversial and terrible indeed (first opinion you mentioned).

    Also, Amagi Brilliant Park the best series from this season?

    While a fun series, is still behind the high standard of other KyoAni series (basically, they went downhill after 2012-2013). Plus, is like a male oriented version of Free! (regarding the amount of fanservice and “anime nudity”, because for being a better analogy, it would have to be a series with shoujo-ai insinuations).

    Gonna be the Twin-Tails: A boy turns into a girl, and twin-tails are a power source…

    Shirobako: Some tasteless jokes in the first ep. I haven’t watched episodes 3 and 4 yet.

    But, Tari Tari empty? I disagree. Save for the few fanservice scenes in the first four episodes (and a brief one in ep. seven) , is one of the best shows I’m watching (I have it on hold, for the moment), it has beautiful animation, scenery, good character designs, and the characters are very likable and realistic, plus, it had some fantastic songs, also, the music plot was well done.

    Girlfriend Beta: Watched 3 episodes. Is not confirmed yet, but there is a girl that displays some hints that she likes girls… I was suspecting that something like that was going to happen, being a series without noticeable male characters, and the promotional image kind of gives it away (although it could be interpreted as an overtly affectionate girl), Other thing that I found a bit strange, is that there is lot of focus on the body of the protagonist, -plus the uniforms accentuate the breast area- specially for being a moé slice of life. But maybe is a carryover of the series being an adaptation of a smartphone dating game.

    The girls are adorable, thought. I like the accent of the french girl.

    I hope it doesn’t turn into a yuri show.

    Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru (Yūna Yūki is a Hero): (I’ve watched 3 episodes) I was really surprised that it turned out being like that. I like the aesthetics, characters, and interactions. Plus the ost sounds good too. I would like to know the lyrics. What I didn’t liked, a girl doing fortune telling with tarot cards, that two of the transformation scenes include pantyshots (or short-shots, in the case of one of them), and other of these, has a lot of focus on the girl breasts… it was more jarring considering the cute character designs. The stroy, for the moment, is looking good.

    Parasyte: After a visit to tvtropes I found that that series contains many distrubing elements. Plus reading some reviews, I found that the second episode contains a very tasteless joke… a penis hand (an alien inhabits the protagonist’s hand, and can change shape).

    Laughing Under the Clouds (Donten ni Warau): I watched the first episode, not bad, but not very good either.

    In Search of Lost Future(Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete): I like that one, it has a very interesting story. Although the animation sometimes includes cgi, but surprisingly, the transitions are rather smooth. For being a +18 VN adaptations, the first two episodes (the ones I’ve seen) are almost fanservice-free (except some censored nudity at the beginning and end of the first ep), the characters are interesting too.

    Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works: I’m copying something I wrote in a comment at Beneath the Tangles.

    “The Fate series. Since there is a new series I began to read more about that one, so,what I found:

    Originally, a +18 VN (I already knew that, but not what comes next)… with some highly questionable scenes… like yuri involving some protagonists (to add more insult to the injury, one of them is Rin Tohsaka, a Kirishitan), -and it seems that in the 2006 adaptations that scene is implied, (although they don’t go beyond Rin getting touchy with the other girl) plus the other sexual scenes.

    Also, the cosmology is rather neopagan and syncretic. Usually, I don’t care too much about that (I see some things like that, as similar to works like the Odyssey or the Iliad), unless there is Christianity involved into the mix.

    Speaking of yuri, the spin-off Fate/Kaleid includes more of that, and the manga Fate/Extra CCC has some yuri scenes too.”

    Grisaia: The first two episodes were interesting, although with lots of fanservice (mostly pantyshots) and censored nudity. Is an adaptation from a +18 VN novel. I was reading about the VN, it features typical +18 scenes, some of these yuri, and incest, (but supposedly not part of the story). Regarding the third episode, i was reading that one of the girls, seem to engage in certain censored acts. (They are trying to sell more BD’s? the director likes to add perverted scenes?). Definitely not recommendable.

    Also, it bothers me a lot that the series has very high quality animation, backgrounds, coloring, etc, while a cleaner series like World Trigger doesn’t.

    Cross Ange: That one is so bad that even in various sites I’ve seen people disgusted by it. From what I’ve read, it has fanservice, a story about a princess losing her status and being subjected to a rape like inspection, and lesbian rape, more yuri scenes, etc. When I was reading about that series in the season previews, I thought it was going to be a more typical show of girls piloting mecha.

    Ookami Shoujo to Kuro Ouji: I’m watching that one, is surprisingly fun, although some people find it a bit cliched, but, I haven’t watched many shoujo series so some elements are not that old and tired for me. It had some vulgar conversations in the first ep, and a strange (fanservice for girls?) picture of the male protagonist at the op. Some situations the protagonist got herself into caused by her lies are funny, but the series isn’t expanding that aspect (some series overdo jokes, but I hope this doesn’t end underusing them). I think it could provide more fun moments.

    Celestial Method (Sora no Method): I haven’t watched that one yet, but it looks interesting.

    Gugure! : I watched half of the first episode. I didn’t liked the use of that kokkuri device as a plot point.

    Trinity-seven: I’m copying a comment I did on another blog.

    “Bad choice of topic for modeling characters from, that works better for villanous characters. From what I’ve been reading, is adapted form a harem ecchi manga, -in various sites is marked as “mature” (why they call that mature? as if drawn or written erotic stuff and porn was the sign of a mature mind)- I think I’m going to avoid it.”

    Naming them after seven deadly sins… plus some references to occultism in the names, etc. Strangely, the academy’s name has the word “Biblia” (Bible in Spanish) on it.

    Is intentional? or is another case of Japanese authors mixing western stuff they think sounds or looks cool?

    A Good Librarian like a Good Shepherd (Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai): Is interesting too. Another +18 VN adaptation, and it shows. For example, they made a plot point out of an accidental groping. The character designs are nice, although I prefer that the skirts were longer. There is alson an interesting concept, and is the gigantic school and clasrooms. The Shepherd character is intriguing too.

    About the other series mentioned there, I commented about them in the last post.

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    • Well, don’t reply here, but on Ashita no Anime! Marlin-sama’s responsible for this first impressions post after all. Though, he’s not as interested in the ramifications of fanservice or adult material. With as many infractions as anime and even regular modern TV shows commit, the subject can wind up belabored.

      Despite the divergence of our religions, I find Marlin-sama’s opinions rather interesting, and our tastes in anime often coincide. It’s nice to follow a blogger whose watch list holds similarities to one’s own.

      Like

      • David A says:

        Yes, I know.

        Precisely because of that I prefer to comment here, also, you have readers too, and maybe someone could be interested of reading said reply!

        I read yesterday the entire series about Madoka he wrote.

        Like

      • That’s true! It’s an interesting series, isn’t it? You might also be curious in Cyrtus’ response as a Buddhist (http://yaranakya.wordpress.com/2013/06/25/madoka-as-savior-a-rather-silly-response-part-1/) and Nick Calibey’s response as an Orthodox Christian (http://arathersillyblog.com/2013/04/23/the-problem-is-choice-mr-anderson/). Both great articles, and I came to the conclusion that Madoka Magika was written more from a Buddhist than Christian perspective. So, I’m happy that Alex created the topic, even though I disagreed with him most vehemently.

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      • David A says:

        Done. Both articles read.

        Another point of view, would be that said story has many Gnostic elements.

        The Incubators are like Archons (governors) or Demiurges (manipulators of matter), but instead of the Christian Archons, that are Angels at the service of God, the gnostic ones are not as good, they are serving the Demiurge, and trapping humanity in a creation filled with misery (in gnostic myths, the world isn’t the work of God, instead, is a construction of the Demiurge, some kind of low quality copy of the Pleroma).

        Incubators maintain a system that practically feeds on misery and suffering. But Madoka breaks that. Is she a self made deity? (Aion Autogenes from gnostic myths, but Autogenes is [or is part of] the Monad, and Madoka had a preexistence as a human), a self made deity in the sense of the gnostic concept of salvations, as an “awakening” to pre-divine status hidden inside man, by her own forces? she became a deity by her won hidden potential, or with the powers of the Incubators?

        Another thing that I would like to know, is what is the Law of Cycles, depending of that, I could work on a better interpretation.

        Now, on the recent movie. Homura traps Madoka in a constructed reality… now, that sounds like the Demiurge trapping divine seeds into corporal bodies, and keeping them ignorant of their divine nature.

        Another thing is that they choose a Good Friday for the airing of the last episode. Why?

        So, what kind of “savior” is Madoka?

        There is also something bothering me, and is the yuri symbolism. Yes, people (specially Chrstians) argue that there is nothing explicit shown, but the references to older yuri series, the complementary material, the author opinions, the pairings supported by people from the staff (like the character designer) points in another direction.

        So, Madoka: Filial and Agape love.

        Homura: Erotic love, specifically, something that isn’t according to the certain parts (reproduction) of its telos… lesbian attraction.

        But, Madoka gives her a red ribbon… the red string of fate that unites lovers?

        The “space hug”… a very important moment in the series… and references older yuri anime. So, a glorification of yuri?

        Back to the reproduction part, gnostic sects, and gnosticism in general, is against it, the perpetuation of the flesh, the “work of the Demiurge”, etc.

        Instead, in Christianity, we recognize that Christ was incarnated, and procreation has a positive aspect.

        What do you think?

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      • I must confess that I have not seen Madoka yet. I made two attempts and found myself unable to watch past the first episode. xD So, you might say that I love reading more about what people have to say about the anime than the anime itself. Perhaps one day in the future, I’ll be able to add it to my watch list.

        For certain, Christianity has a much more positive message about the body than people would think. It was redeemed along with the soul of mankind after all. (Though, we naturally still need to restrain concupiscent desires.) So, while the body is still inferior to the soul, the body becomes a tool of the soul to do good works. Procreation itself is one manner to build up the Body of Christ.

        You know, one great thing about reading George Bernard Shaw is how much he recognized that the Catholic Church was for life. Curiously, he felt like life and those things which maintained it were not the highest things, but rather pleasure and beauty. We see the same problem with other opponents of the Catholic Church; yet, they way in which they pursue beauty and pleasure simply leads to ugliness, pain, and death.

        I had not known about the yuri elements of that series. That’s new to me. And, I usually find myself leery of arguments which would place sex where it might not have been the author’s intention to place it. Some people, for example, would argue that all friendship is sexual, an idea which I think has many problems! I’ll have to see the show for myself in order to come to any clear conclusions.

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      • David A says:

        I like to read about shows I haven’t watched too.

        From Madoka, I watched aproximately four episodes back in 2011 (after the anime had ended). But when I was trying to pick up again, I began to read more and more about it. Lots of articles from various perspectives, opinions in blogs and forums, etc.

        Some people insist that between the girls there is only friendship, but others instead “ship” them in a variety of pairings.

        But this series presents a different case compared to other productions where people look too much into relationships between characters, misinterpreting and misrepresenting them. The author, in an interview basically confirmed certain feelings on the part of Homura towards Madoka. Plus the elements and references to older yuri anime they included in the composition of various scenes. The character designer, seems fond of some parings between the girls, and some of the voice actresses point to romantic elements being involved.

        The manga and videogames seem to drop hints too, in one of them, for example, Hitome, (ironically the character that suspects Madoka and Sayaka of being a couple in an early episode) talks about how beautiful she finds Homura, and when asked if she likes girls, she denies it, but says she is a little interested.

        Something like that could be explained as fanservice, but the other things are there too, presented in a way in which people could interpret them in one or other way. Since most of the hints in the series, per se, are more symbolic, some people holds to the friendship interpretation.

        Creativity and procreation have certain uplifting purpose, and because of that, when used badly, they have tremendous consequences.

        People tend to see the directions towards the restrain of concupiscence as something heavy, but in fact, is liberating.

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      • I suppose if one takes a shortsighted view of any virtue, the burden seems heavy. After all, Aristotle lists four different states in regard to virtue (actually, a fifth too, but that’s essentially complete depravity): vicious, incontinent, continent, and virtuous. Only to one in the last state is virtue actually enjoyable and liberating, and certain virtues take a whole lifetime to attain. Fortunately, Christianity places faith, hope, and charity above all the rest, and the practice of charity usually covers most of the others. Indeed, the other virtues have no value without charity! And so, I can keep my eyes on one virtue, hope that God perfects charity in me along with all the others, and that charity itself makes the others less burdensome.

        It’s interesting that so much type has been expended on Madoka, covering such a wide variety of topics. I really will have to make a third attempt some day on that show; though, I expect that all the yuri themes will go right over my head!

        Like

  2. David A says:

    Regarding Girlfriend Beta, I forgot that I only watched half of the third episode, so I don’t know if they dropped more hints regarding photographer girl’s affections.

    Like

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