How are my dear readers enjoying the new anime season? On my side, I’m enjoying all my picks, though one show notably falls short of the rest in quality. At any rate, these kinds of posts tend to run long, so let’s jump right into the anime.
1) Aoharu x Machinegun
Here’s a lighthearted comedy with just enough seriousness to make the plot interesting. The first episode featured our heroine, Hotaru Tachibana, being dragged into an airsoft team after picking a fight with an innocent host, who happens to be her neighbor. The matches thus far have been quite suspenseful. Even though the characters are not terribly original, the anime manages to immerse the viewer in their struggles and keeps the viewer eager to watch each new stage in our heroine’s journey. Another plus is how much it reminds me of my favorite show of last year: Sabagebu!
For some reason, American mob films have never appealed to me; however, I’ve yet to run across a bad yakuza anime. Curiously, of the shows Anime-Planet users recommend to fans of Gangsta!, I’ve seen all except Michiko to Hatchin and have enjoyed the rest. Gangsta! sets itself apart from other yakuza anime in having better world building. Only Gungrave comes close to it in this regard. The heroes fascinate one by how they try to live in a world of violence and exploitation with some honor. The sword vs. gun fights are utterly unrealistic, but most of the fights are very exciting. However, fans who don’t like bloody violence, sexual situations (the show has eschewed explicit sex thus far), or nudity should give Gangsta! a wide berth.
If any show on this list might deserve to be rated poorly, Gate would be it. Many people have picked on the over-the-top nationalism present in the show, but I won’t here. (Also, excessive nationalism is better than it’s opposite: oikophobia. See Scruton’s usage. Who knew that hatred of one’s country had a name?) This show had an intriguing opening episode which introduced us to a great main character. The second episode depressingly reminded one of WWI with the massive casualties inflicted on the fantasy race. (By the way, the fact that there were no survivors is utterly unrealistic: there are always more wounded than dead on a battlefield, even in modern warfare, unless the enemy deliberately finishes them off with a bullet or the bayonet.) The three member female harem strikes me as interesting, but I’m eagerly awaiting the episode quality to become better. Be sure to read Jusuchin’s blog, as he’s also reading the light novels* in addition to watching the show, which gives him an interesting perspective.
4) Rokka no Yuusha
This show has the most common good vs. evil plot there is and some rather typical characters, but it still manages to be quite fun. It has great fights, a good sense of humor, and well integrated CG. The discord between Flamie and the other braves as well as the question of who the fake brave is add layers of interest as well as the Incan feel of the setting. A very interesting tale despite its simplicity.
5) Ushio to Tora
If you like the monster-slaying genre and are a fan of Inuyasha, this is the show for you. The action is quite fun, but the show truly shines in how well it crafts the monster Tora. Tora might be called a cross between Inuyasha (abrasive personality) and Pikachu (lightning attacks), but his personality feels decidedly inhuman. He’s constantly attempting to eat the hero, but at the same time bails him out of bad situations. I’m almost tempted to call Tora a tsundere youkai.
Now, on to a couple of shows from the past which I have picked up in addition to the new shows above.
6) FMA: Brotherhood
Most of my viewers have seen this classic. I’ll just write here that I’m pleasantly surprised by how close it has been following the manga, even though the plot moves too quickly at times. Some of the changes in animation irked me. Other than that, I have no complaints.
7) The Rose of Versailles
Am I happy that iblessall recommended this show! A ton of research went into crafting the setting of Pre-Revolutionary France. Who knew that Marie Antoinette could be made into such a sympathetic character? Also, we have a very interesting heroine in Oscar de François de Jarjeyes, who was raised as a boy because her father lacked a male heir. Her education included how to handle a sword (Small sword, colichemarde, or infantry saber? Not precisely sure what the anime wants to depict), and her closest friend is her fencing partner and servant Andre. The plot feels very much like an Alexandre Dumas novel (my favorite author) with its court intrigue and exciting duels. Excepting the cut she delivers from horseback, the swordplay has remained pretty accurate, which adds interest for me. You’ll likely hear much more about this anime from me later.
*Correction: Jusuchin is reading the manga actually, not the light novels. It still offers a unique perspective.