My Experience with the Anime of Summer 2014

As you know, I wrote that I would try to marathon the anime which I stalled this season.  Having watched straight through episodes 8 – 12 of Aldnoah.Zero, I’ll be able to add my assessment of it to this post–making for a total of five anime.  Expect the reviews of the others to be published singly or in pairs.  Let me start with the two anime which I’m unable to rate due to their series not being finished.

One of the most beautiful images of the season of one of its most charming ladies.

One of the most beautiful images of the season with one of its most charming ladies.

1) Aldnoah.Zero – no rating

Quel finale!  If they had not promised to return for the winter season of 2015, I would have rated it 3 1/2 stars just for crushing the audience’s souls at the end!  (And before the last few minutes and finding out that it would get a second half, I thought about giving it 4 1/2 stars!)  The action sequences were truly awesome, the animation beautiful, and the plot compelling.  The characters were nothing to write home about, but Slaine and Inaho made for great protagonists and even the princess started to grow on me.

I cannot but confess that I found this takedown very cool.

I cannot but confess that I found this takedown very cool.

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As others have noted, certain parts of the anime evinced bad writing.  A few of the characters’ decisions made little sense, especially *MAJOR SPOILER* Rayet killing the princess.  But, that might play into the theme of envy and hatred being motivators for war.  I know Inaho disagreed, saying that there were always other main causes for war.  But, anger and hatred make war especially bitter and often increase the destruction of war and the willingness of nations to begin them.  Just think of Great Britain and France.

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FUTURE POST ALERT: How envy influences Martian politics lines up nicely with a book I’m reading titled Leftism by Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn.  So, the role of envy in modern politics and how envy squelches liberty and diversity will certainly feature as a post in the future.

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2) Akame ga Kiru – no rating

Akame ga Kiru got off to a slow start, but I feel that the second half of this season was much more exciting than the first–just as the case was in the manga.  I must confess that the manga does several things better; but, the way that the show handled the presentation of Esdeath’s character was rather adroit.  (I still prefer the fan translation name, Esdese.  That seems more like a girl’s name than that of an allegorical character, doesn’t it?)  Some of the fights could have been better, but episodes 6 and 11 more than made up for them.  You also need to love Akame ga Kiru‘s style.  It exudes a Renaissance setting, but a million anachronisms fill its scenes–especially the modern style of the clothing and the presence of modern firearms.

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Despite certain flaws in presentation, the adaptation made the pages of the manga come alive.  The voice actors in particular were very well chosen.  I look forward to the second season!

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FUTURE POST ALERT: Also, despite Esdeath being a unique character, I believe that I have discovered the base for her character.  Be sure to look out for my post on which character appears to have been the inspiration for Esdeath!

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3) Rail Wars! – ★★★

The likability of the characters save this show from being rated 2 1/2 stars.  In some respects, especially the tsundere, Aoi Sakurai, many of the characters fall into tried and true character types.  Yet, each character feels unique, e.g. the hoplophile ways of Aoi or Naoto’s obsession with trains.  As a matter of fact, even though Naoto feels like a the weak willed protagonist of a harem anime, he shows guts when the occasion demands them of him, which was another good point to this show.  The character relationships were also done quite well, even if those episodes which focused on this facet of the show tended to be rather fanservicey.

Rail Wars

Though the series can’t be called action-packed, episodes 10 and 11 stand out for the excellence of the fights, and who can forget the train ride from hell in the seventh and eighth episodes?  On the other hand, the final episode annoyed me quite a bit: in a 12 episode series, who needs an episode dedicated to saying good-bye to the characters?  At least, it had more to do with trains than many of the prior episodes.

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In case you were wondering, yes, I would certainly watch this again!

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4) Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun – ★★★★

A well-deserved four stars for this comedy!  I loved how closely the manga covered the process and struggles of writing good manga.  Like Rail Wars!, it boasts a great host of characters who are oddballs in one fashion or another.  As iblessall writes, this show’s ability to tag different people as tsukomi each episode stands as one of its salient features: each person has a turn at playing the straight man as others act ridiculous around them.  Though, Sakura seems to hold this position more than most of the other characters.  A truly great comedy!

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I’ll also admit that I fell for Seo.  Watching her blunt honesty and inability to adjust to the feelings of others was a trip!

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5) Sabagebu! – ★★★★★

I bet you were not expecting me to grant Sabagebu! five stars and a place on my top fifty list!  Yet, it does so many things to make it the most brilliant comedy this year.  Unlike Nozaki-kun, this is a black comedy; so, I can’t recommend it to people who want nothing atrocious to happen to characters.  One needs to be able to laugh at characters who suffer everything from other characters shamelessly using them to shooting them dead in amusing ways.  (Fans of Looney Tunes are sure to love this kind of comedy.)  Our lead character, Sonokawa, in particular has no qualms about using others as stepping stones on her road to victory.  Fortunately, the violence and death only occurs in the characters’ imaginations–most of it anyway.

Sabagebu Sonokawa

But, this show could not have reached five stars had it not been for the excellence of the gun fights and its ability to parody 80’s action movies.  (The parodies of Predator and Mad Max made for some of my favorite scenarios.)  Episode twelve presents a mind-blowing finale to the show.  I must add that Miou was my favorite character; though, Sonokawa’s vengeful deeds are very fun to watch!

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Those are my thoughts for these five shows!  Stay tuned for more!  What was your favorite show this season?

What I’ll be Watching for Summer 2014

After watching many first episodes and reading many blog articles, I have decided on eleven shows from the Summer 2014 season to watch.  Medieval Otaku is mainly a blog for opinions and deep analysis on certain threads and themes found in anime, especially religious themes.  But, my dear readers might be curious to know which shows I’ll be enjoying and on which they’ll likely see some commentary.  Here is the list of shows with minimal commentary:

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1) Akame ga Kiru

I’ll confess that I’m one of those crazed, die-hard Esdese is mai waifu Akame Ga Kiru fans you’ve heard about.  The story has some hard-hitting action, likable characters, and interesting moral dilemmas and other shades of grey.  It’s fun to see the manga animated.  May the pacing and plot be better executed than Gokukoku no Brynhildr, the other manga about whose anime release I had been enthusiastic.

2) Girls und Panzer OVA

3) Aldnoah.Zero

From the same mind that gave us Majestic Prince, it also feels much like that show.  If it can be as good, I’ll be very happy.

4) Psycho-Pass Restart

Only a true Psycho-Pass junkie would wish to see the first season retold with a few additional details.  That pretty much describes me.

Sabagebu!

5) Sabagebu

What’s not to like about girls and guns?  This show has some great humor, awesomely detailed weapons, and fun action sequences (even if they are imaginary).

6) Rail Wars

7) Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun

8) ARGEVOLLEN

It was great seeing Yomi again--especially as one of the good guys.

It was great seeing Yomi again–especially as one of the good guys.

9) Tokyo ESP

That this show occurs in the same universe as Ga-Rei Zero came as a complete surprise to me.  The first episode is a little slow, and Tokyo ESP has much to live up to in order to be a worthy successor of Ga-Rei Zero.  Anyone else catch the Ryougi Shiki look-alike?

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10) Hanayamata

I don’t know how this show wound up on my list.  But, I found episode one endearing.  Let’s see how long it lasts.

11) Zankyou no Terror

Haven’t seen episode one of this, so I can’t claim enthusiasm.  Though from what I’ve read, it could be one of this season’s biggest hits.

Captain Earth may or may not be added to this list depending on the quality of the finale episodes.  To tell you the truth, I am rather shocked by how strong the summer season is.  Hopefully, a few shows will be good enough to be considered classics.  Also, I’m still watching El Cazador de la Bruja (I confess to stalling a little on that show) and am struggling through the Lincoln Island episodes of Nadia: Secret of the Blue Water.  May this summer’s anime be ten times more enjoyable than the spring’s!