My Progress This Season

Well, I figure that my dear readers deserve to know how I have been occupying myself recently with anime, so I have decided to write a post on my general progress.  Some older shows with which I have been dallying are Hunter x Hunter, a series of shorts named Sparrow’s Hotel (completed in one evening), Majestic Prince, The Third: The Girl with the Blue EyeSolty Rei, and Tower of Druaga: The Sword of Uruk.  At last, I’ve almost finished with the original Hunter x Hunter, having just watched Kurapica’s major battle with one of the Spiders gang.  It was so pleasant to see the god-like and glorious victory over a certain murdering blackguard–whatever his name is–that I have difficulty putting my feelings to words.  Sparrow’s Hotel is a great comedy about a kunoichi working at a midsized hotel, which I heartily recommend to anyone needing a laugh.  I’m still trying to finish off Majestic Prince, which has to be one of the greatest mech shows of recent years–I place it next to Code Geass.   You might know that two of those last three shows figure on my top fifty list, and hence deserve their own posts.  Tower of Druaga is a great fantasy, and the first episode alone, which parodies fantasy anime in a grand style, suffices to give it a large place in any otaku’s heart.

tower of druaga

But, now onto some brief descriptions of this season’s shows.  I still have to get around to Samurai Flamenco and Coppelion, but I expect to accomplish this soon.  At any rate, my ability to keep up with new shows is much the highest since 2009.  That says something about the quality of this season!

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1) Arpeggio of Blue Steel (aka Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio) – 3 episodes

My long time readers will know that I am a huge fan of submarine warfare, particularly the WWII era.  So, it comes as no surprise that I am digging this show, despite the fact that the show exclusively employs CG animation.  As a matter of fact, I’m surprised in how unobtrusive they render this style of CG, which likely indicates that it will become more prevalent in the future.

It's based on a manga!  Now, I have to read that too!

It’s based on a manga! Now, I have to read that too!

Anyway, this show concerns aliens known as The Fog, who have effectively wrested the seas from humanity.  One of their vessels, a submarine, defects and gives humanity the chance to regain possession of the seas.  I find the fact that each ship’s personality is presented in the image of a cute young lady most amusing–all ships are feminine, you know!  The first sea battle was very exciting, and the submarine’s captain displayed that combination of intuition and sang-froid which renders submarine warfare particularly delightful.

Golden Time

2) Golden Time – 3 episodes

I was pleasantly surprised by this romance anime.  The dialogue tends to be rather sophisticated, and the characters entertaining.  A very enjoyable watch thus far.

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3) Hajime no Ippo Rising – 1 episode

It feels very much like the prior season.  As long as this show sticks to exciting boxing with interesting characters, I’m going to keep watching.  I’ve only seen one episode so far because I hope to watch the rest of the series with my brother.  He’s a bigger fan of the Hajime no Ippo franchise than I am!

ICBAH

4) I Couldn’t Become a Hero, so I Reluctantly Decided to Get a Job – 3 episodes

This show is hilarious!  Usually I steer clear of ecchi with shows like Freezing being a major exception.  The premise is that a prospective hero is forced to get an ordinary job after failing his exam.  While working in a magical department store, the demon king’s daughter decides to work there with him.  The effort he must expend to try to make this person use polite language and treat customers with hospitality is absolutely hilarious.  I might add that the girls are quite cute too.  Forma pulcherrimae!  When the tentacle monster appeared, I feared lest decency forbid me to watch further, but that scene did not exceed my tolerance, though it did exceed the grounds of decency.  This is a wonderful comedy if you don’t mind some fanservice.

NitBs

5) Infinite Stratos 2 – 2 episodes

Hmm…There’s not much to this season yet.  I’m almost tempted to drop the show, but then I should be denied Charlotte’s cuteness.  I’m not sure whether I’m ready for that deprivation.

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6) Kill la Kill – 4 episodes

This is indeed an interesting show.  My last post and the commentary below it make it clear that this is a very thoughtful work.  I’ll definitely be keeping track of this show, and I hope that the animators are able to keep the high action and amusing antics up.

Well, that adequately describes the shows which I have watched.  I can heartily recommend all of them except Infinite Stratos 2 and recommend Golden Time with the reservation that shonen fans might find it uninteresting.  Cheers!

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Fairy Tail and My Tendency to Avoid Long Series

As you know, my dear readers, I like catharsis in an anime.  Somehow catharsis has come to mean a kind of purgation of feeling which is supposed to follow upon watching drama; yet, Aristotle originally meant to mean conciseness in a story, as my Greek professor in college, Dr. Joseph Garnjobst, avers.  One of the surest ways for a series to lack catharsis is for it to stretch on and on.  Series longer than 27 episodes usually lose focus and contain plenty of filler episodes, which cause me to become annoyed and ofttimes drop the series altogether.  For example, without a friend of mine’s rabid love of D. Gray Man, I probably would have been fed up with the overdramatization which occurs around episode 60 and left off there.  In the case of the original Hunter x Hunter, I have less than ten episodes to go, but have somehow not found the opportunity to just sit down and finish off the show.

From stickfigureparadise of deviantart.com

From stickfigureparadise of deviantart.com

But, there have been a few other long series which I have enjoyed: Rurouni Kenshin, InuyashaDeath NoteDragon Ball, and Shijou Saikyou no Deshi Ken’ichi (Kenichi to the English speaking world) come to mind.  Of the big three, the manga drove me away from Naruto after five volumes, Bleach became so dull around episode 100 that I dropped it, and I remember opining to my brother that I would rather watch four episodes of Sailor Moon than one of One Piece.  For those of you who are curious, this would require watching all the television episodes 12 1/3 times–but, I would be more than willing to do than than watch through One Piece once!

Sailor Moon

Yet, a new long series has enthralled me: Fairy Tail.  I have ever been a devotee of fantasy literature, and Fairy Tail, which derives from the pen of the author of Rave Master–a manga I really should get down to reading one day, contains that balance of lighthearted comedy and dire situations which I find most appealing in a story.  The characters, whether the quick tempered Erza, the motion sick prone Natsu, or Gray the exhibitionist, are all very likable.  Of all these, Erza stands out as my favorite.  This is doubtless partly due to her long red hair, beautiful figure, and the ease with which she smites hordes of enemies, but I also can identify with her compassionate nature and unwillingness to open herself up to others.

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And so, I have found a new series with which to while away my leisure time.  Hopefully, it will spawn some excellent editorials for you in the future.  Any other fans of Fairy Tail out there?

Where’s the Anime Gone?

Some of you may be wondering whether I still watch anime or if I have become disenchanted with modern anime and started to focus solely on manga, like xxxHolicWing of Chronical Holic.  May she find reasons to get excited about anime again, since I have always enjoyed reading her articles–though I admit having to catch up.  Fear not, my dear readers!  I have a tidy list of shows which I happen to be watching on and off.  You may expect some reviews in the near future.  Also, a few more for manga: Bartender, Break Blade, Fuyu Hanabi, Guardian Dog, Gunka no Balzer, and Hinekure Shisho no Mikaiketsu Jikenroku have caught my attention in particular.  I might have reviewed Break Blade already though.  I’ll check later.

My favorite current manga for its dynamic characters, period detail, and political intrigue.

My favorite current manga for its dynamic characters, period detail, and political intrigue.

At any rate, Girls und Panzer and Future Diary provided excellent entertainment with the later raising some interesting moral questions.  I rather enjoyed both, though I admit to Future Diary being somewhat of an acquired taste.  At least, the points where I disagree with it furnish apt material for editorials.  Unfortunately, I can’t write anything else about Girls und Panzer besides what people have already written: it’s a unique show which excels at action.  Watch it!

Who knew that a show combining high school girls and tanks could be so fantastic?

Who knew that a show combining high school girls and tanks could be so fantastic?

Having been intrigued by a review of Dusk Maiden of Amnesia written by Marlin-sama of Ashita no Anime, searching for a good comedy yesterday finally led me to watch it.  Three episodes into the show, the comedy has remained spectacular, the fanservice not over the top, and the overall tone wonderfully touching.  So, you can expect an article from me on the show in the future.  On a friend’s recommendation, I have started to watch the Break Blade movies.  As a fan of the manga, I was happy to see that they have kept the story faithful to the original story and that the animation is quite stunning.  Then, there are a couple of other shows which bloggers’ articles have led me to watch: Charles of Beneath the Tangles recommended Kotoura-san, and John Samuel of Pirates of the Burley Griffin’s series of articles on Bodacious Space Pirates drew me to watching that show.

Another surprisingly good show led by high school girls, the ambassadors of Japanese culture.

Another surprisingly good show led by high school girls, the ambassadors of Japanese culture.

Then, there are a few others which I’m currently enjoying: Gintama, Hunter x Hunter, Inuyasha: the Final Act, Psycho-pass, and Ys.  Gintama rates highly among comedies, as its six season run attests.  It’s a rather frenetic show, going everywhere from high-class, dramatic series of episodes to episodes of low-brow toilet humor.  Sometimes I wonder whether a different show has insidiously taken Gintama‘s place.  I’m watching the original Hunter x Hunter, and just can’t seem to find the time to finish it.  If I did, I’d probably turn to the remake, which has received a lot of good press.  Inuyasha: the Final Act shows remarkable improvement from the original show in regard to animation quality, and I can’t wait to see the demise of Naraku in color.  Psycho-pass has frequently horrified me by the bloodiness of the crimes, and, in the last episode I watched, outraged me with the scene showing a brutal murder in a crowd with the onlookers merely spectating.  Yet, it offers an interesting view of human nature alongside its utopian society.  I should pen an article for it pretty soon.  Lastly, the fantasy Ys deserves a very harsh, mocking review.  It proves that not every anime from the 90’s is as good as I’d like it to be.  The characters’ actions are so artificial that it makes me feel like I’m watching video game cut scenes!

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Oh, and I have also been watching Shin Sekai Yori.  That sums up my anime watching history over the past few months.  Look forward to some nice reviews!