Opinions on Spring 2015 Anime

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Shinoa’s the Xellos of Seraph of the End.

I have often commented that for a blog to be successful the blogger must read more than write; so, one can only expect that yours truly has broken this rule many times.  This season of anime, my opinions feel rather isolated despite at least three popular shows appearing in my lists.  Yet, I think that I have read plenty of blogs over the past few months.  Perhaps I have not read the right blogs?  But, I thought that I only followed like-minded people!  Shikata ga nai.  Angryjellyfish has six of these shows on his watch list (just missing Danna ga Wakaranai), but I cannot find another blogger with as similar of a list.  The end result is that the following opinions of mine feel more shallow than usual, as there are fewer sources of opinion from which to glean ideas.  Well, there is always next season, and my dear readers can satisfy my curiosity as to which of the following shows wound up as their favorites this season.

GS

7) Gunslinger Stratos

Interesting ideas about time and alternate universes fill this show.  I started watching it because it quotes St. Augustine’s Confessions at the very beginning.  The characters, unfortunately, feel sadly bland.  Actually, they’re not much worse than other anime characters.  Their very mediocrity must repel me.  As Ernest Hemingway says: “You should only read what is truly good or what is frankly bad.”  Perhaps my assessment of them will change ere the end, as I’ve only watched four episodes.

DanMach

6) Danmachi

Here’s a show of which I’ve only seen five episodes.  The first couple of episodes made me think that it would be a thrilling adventure series.  Unlike Gunslinger Stratos, it has awesome female characters.  However, that colorless protagonist maddens me to no end.  Recent years have made popular the Tenchi-esque approach of surrounding a bland hero with women that are far out of his league.  It only works when the plot can remove the audience’s attention from the hero; instead, the hero holds the prime importance over the much more interesting women surrounding him, which stands as a major obstacle to me enjoying Danmachi.

KoS

5) Knights of Sidonia II

This stands as the most unfair of my rankings.  Despite the first season making second place in my ratings a year ago, I somehow did not give this show a try until mid-season and have not seen more than two episodes.  (I can only suppose that the four shows below had thoroughly sucked in all my attention.)  One has to love the coup which took place and the dangerous scientific experiment of combining a human with a Gauna.  This series never ceases to surprise the viewer, and it cannot be reiterated enough how well the CG bolsters the foreboding and dark feel of the setting.

Tonight, my goal is to marathon this show.  I should not be surprised if it jumped two or three places higher in my estimation.

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4) Re-kan

After reading Cytrus’ article, I have come to the conclusion that one of my favorite shows this season falls into the yuri genre.  The characters often crack jokes about the closeness of the heroines’ friendship, e.g. Amami’s father and Inoue have the same petrifying fear of the supernatural, so one of their classmates jokes about how women are often romantically attracted to someone like their father.  The dynamic among this set of friends is incredibly amusing to watch, and the supernatural events deepen our understanding of the characters’ pasts and motivations.  So, one can say that I can’t get enough of these characters and the comedy, while the yuri-ness of the show falls well within the family friendly zone.

DGWN

3) Danna ga Wakaranai

I’m this close to claiming Kaoru and Hajime as anime’s best couple over Jinto and Lafiel of Crest of the Stars.  What else can I say about this favorite anime short of mine?  The first episode of this sequel made me worry lest it had lost its old spark, but the following episodes put my fears to rest.  I was a bit disappointed that they decided not to follow through with Kaoru bringing a baby into the world.  All the same, the cast of characters we know and love are all there, and the characters are as hilarious as ever.

ArSen

2) Arslan Senki

This show is the objective best of ones I’m watching.  It recalls Akatsuki no Yona in the similarity of its plot, how slowly it moves, and the likability of the characters.  The battles are quite intense, and the show manages to emotionally invest the viewer in the fate of Arslan and the Kingdom of Pars.  My favorite character stands as the vassal sans peur et sans reproche Daryun, then the bossy servant Elam, and next the roguish minstrel Gieve.  I may eventually warm up to the eccentric and taciturn Farangis as Arslan’s quest for the throne continues.

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1) Seraph of the End

Seraph of the End is essentially the Black Bullet of this season–the most anime-ish of this season’s anime.  It features some great anime lines and is quirky and flawed enough to base a drinking game on.  (Anything more potent than a session lager, and two episodes of this will likely kill you. xD)  Perhaps, I love this show as much for its imperfections as for what it does well.  The show starts very ambitiously and has so far failed to reach the level of greatness it promised.  Well, if only we had more over-ambitious anime not afraid of failing!

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In any event, I love the “I am Legend” feel of the setting, and the characters are all likable–even the irascible Shiho and the once-milquetoast Yoichi.  Our hero’s brashness, loyalty to his comrades, and utter devotion to righteousness make him second only to Daryun among my favorite characters this season.  And, for the record, this show features the best opening and ending songs this season.

Shinoa's almost a better character than Yuichiro, though she is the most amusing character this season.

Shinoa’s almost a better character than Yuichiro, though she is the most amusing character this season.

Well, that wraps up the anime I’m watching from this season.  Stay tuned for my post on the older anime which have my attention.  Perhaps, I’ll write a little post on manliness first, since some modern errors and misconceptions on the subject have vexed me ever since I’ve started reading reviews of Mad Max.

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21 comments on “Opinions on Spring 2015 Anime

  1. David A says:

    Danmachi: I wonder if some producer would try to make a show like that, without the fanservice and characters like Loki (yuri insinuations).

    It would be popular? these light novel adaptations seem to be very similar. Long titles, a harem, the simple main character, fanservice…

    Re-kan: Only watched one episode. I thought the perverted cat, and the comments he made regarding the girls would be an indication of not going to the yuri direction. But you wrote that is more about friendship… family friendly yuri? there is simply not a thing like that, unless yuri doens’t mean lesbianism… and that would make that term pointless.

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    • Cytrus says:

      Actually, yuri meaning lesbianism would make it pointless, as there is a term for that genre already: rezu(bian),

      There are two common ways to differentiate between the two: one is a dichotomy where rezu works contain a portrayal of sexual affection and yuri works don’t (making them inherently ambiguous for many viewers), the other has the rezu genre as a subgenre of the wider (and more vaguely defined) yuri genre.

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      • David A says:

        According to what you are saying, it would be a wide category, including friendship, and having something that includes friendship alongside romantic and sexual attraction under the same term is just problematic and useless.

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      • Cytrus says:

        You are free to think of the term that way and use it, or avoid using it, as you please.

        I am afraid similarly problematic and useless terms exist in most languages. As friends are naturally affectionate towards each other, so lovers can shower each other with affection when the lights dim out…

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    • In my mind, all the best anime fantasy was made in the 90’s. If you haven’t watched Slayers, that show is exactly what you’re looking for. Though, it’s not a harem show, just a good old-fashioned fantasy adventure–swords and sorcery. If you have seen it, I’m sure that I can come up with other fantasy recommendations–Record of Lodoss War, perhaps?

      The role of the perverted cat gets smaller as the series goes on. My guess is that he was not a popular character. (I wonder why….) From the evidence Cytrus gave in the article on yuri, the word does cover certain shows with merely strong female friendships as well. One just has to accept that the word has broadened to cover that kind of slice-of-life story. This state of affairs makes it less useful as a red flag, but maybe it’s better that people think that they can write for the yuri audience without adding lesbian romance.

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      • David A says:

        Thanks. I get the impression thta the 90’s had various sci-fi and fantasy series.

        I guess these two you mentioned would be rather low on the fanservice department, right?

        In the first ep, I thought the cat was a way of the producers to take a jab at yuri fans.

        With the broad definition of the term (in reply to Cytrus too, since the reply button doesn’t appears after certain number of replies), the problem is that covers friendship and romantic and sexual attraction, being different categories. Also, is similar to the concept some fans have, that see friendships as (or as something similar to) romance, something popular among some “shippers” that look for any indication, even if there isn’t any. Although, in recent years many authors seem keen on the idea of blurrying the lines, specially in magical girl and slice of life shows.

        For being a tool for writers thinking about gaining readership from that audience, I think it could ending fueling more the phenomenom of shipping in these type of pairings. The wider definition of the term doesn’t seem to be very common in various sites and fandoms, and I guess a lot of people would associate it to romance.

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      • Very low in the fanservice department indeed. For some other 90’s fantasy, that’s not the case, but Slayers and Record of Lodoss War are very clean and classics to boot.

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  2. Jamie says:

    I also have been enjoying Re-Kan!–quite a lot, actually! I like the ghosts and their stories, and the humor is pretty good! 😀

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  3. Cytrus says:

    This season is horrendous and I’m following even fewer shows than you. Our only overlap is Danna ga Wakaranai.

    Then again, with how busy I’ve been recently, the extra time is most welcome. I am just thankful for the existence of Euphonium to keep me motivated.

    Next season, on the other hand, has like 7 sequels to stuff I watched…

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    • One can’t miss Danna ga Wakaranai. 🙂 I see what you mean about this season. I’m a pretty lenient reviewer, and I can’t rate anything I’m watching more than four stars. Even Arslan Senki, for all the things it does great, annoys the viewer by moving very, very slowly–the same problem Akatsuki no Yona had.

      With Euphonium, I get the impression that one has to love playing a musical instrument or had positive experiences with one to get into the show. For a year of my life, I gave playing the trumpet a shot, and failed at it miserably; so, Euphonium would likely bring up many unpleasant memories for me.

      Wow, that many sequels next season? I’ll have to take a look at the summer season releases.

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  4. Interesting list! I’m hoping that Knights of Sidonia will indeed rise up in your estimation after you’ve watched a few more episodes – on top of the great action scenes and increasingly dark plot, the sequel gives a lot more attention to the characters. Danmachi also got way better from the sixth episode onwards, in my opinion at least.

    I wish I could gain as much entertainment from Owari no Seraph’s flaws as you claim to… panning stills and motion lines, in 2015? I’ve read manga with better animation than the previous episode! 😛 But cheers for the link to the ‘drinking game’ post, that made me laugh. 🙂

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    • I watched six episodes of Knights of Sidonia last night and thoroughly enjoyed them. I do like that we’re getting to know the characters more, and the action is spectacular. I still like Re-kan more; but, science fiction was never one of my favorite genres, and the second season of Knights of Sidonia hasn’t gone out of its way to force me to acknowledge its greatness in the same way that the first season did. A great show all the same, and I can see it taking third place by the end of this season. (I force myself to be more objective for my final evaluations. 🙂 )

      The panning stills and motion lines are probably part of what makes me love Seraph of the End so much. I absolutely love old animation, even if using such dated techniques annoyed most anime fans. Also, I was practically raised on Hammer Films’ Dracula movies, so my attitude toward any vampire show is one of great clemency and almost unlimited suspension of disbelief. And, Seraph of the End does have that quirkiness I love seeing in an anime, which also makes it the perfect subject of a drinking game. xD

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Genki Jason says:

    Sidonia’s humour has never interested me and I always longed for the battles and political intrigue but I think I’ve endured so much that I’m starting to like it in all its ridiculousness.

    My Youth Romcom, Kekkai Sensen, Ore Monogatari!!, and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure are my season picks although I may try Punchline. I enjoyed the first two episodes and expect some great twists to come in later in the series.

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    • Yeah, Sidonia’s humor really only succeeds in lightening the mood a bit without being especially funny. I’m hoping that episode 9 (that’s as far as I’ve gotten as of now) brings us more focus on the central plot and life and death battles.

      I haven’t seen any of those five shows; though, I have a friend of mine who keeps telling me to watch JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. There must be something great about a franchise which has lasted since the 80’s.

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  6. MIB says:

    Good post! 🙂

    I gave up on Dan Machi after three episodes as – typically – the original premise succumbed to the wonts and mores of the fan service brigade.

    Out of your list, Seraph is the only one I stuck with and while I am enjoying it, I am getting a Blue Exorcists feel to it, especially in the school set episodes. After a strong start it feels rushed with just 13 episodes but it’s one of the stronger shows this season.

    Re-Kan isn’t bad but sometimes drifts between good comedy and maudlin sentimentality a little too much for my tastes which brings the pace down. Plus the design of the two girls with they eyes showing through their hair bugs the hell out of me! >.<

    My faves however are Ore Monogatari, Hibiki Euphonium and Kyoukai no Rinne. 😛

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    • People tell me that Dan Machi gets better after episode 6. I haven’t found the fanservice in this show annoying as much as goofy. For example, a friend of mine has dubbed Hestia “loli-boobs,” which highlights how silly it is.

      Seraph of the End is cool for all its flaws. Is it only going to be 13 episodes? That’s a shame. I was looking forward to exploring its world more and the conflict with the vampires. Maybe they’ll make another season of it later if we’re lucky. Or, like so many shows, this one will turn out to be merely an advertisement for the manga.

      You like Kyoukai no Rinne? The manga frustrated me after 10 pages because it seemed like an exact facsimile of Inuyasha–especially the two main characters. But, people say the same thing about Ranma 1/2 and Inuyasha. You’ll have to tell me if this new show of Takahashi’s actually feels novel.

      I’ll second how weird it is to see a character’s eyes through their hair is. But, Re-kan’s style, the drifting between comedy and maudlin sentimentality, reminds me of another favorite show of mine: Gintama. Though, the moods in Gintama go all over the place from serious sci-fi action to toilet humor. xD

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      • MIB says:

        As I don’t really read manga, not have I watched Inuyasha or Ranma 1/2 I can’t comment on any comparison that may exists between them and Kyoukai no Rinne. All I know is it’s quite a fun little supernatural show and the cat is rather funny! 🙂

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      • Well, you’ve got me to think about watching it. Maybe after I get through of Urusei Yatsura, which is the funniest work of Takahashi’s I’ve watched so far.

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