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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
In case you were wondering, yes, I would certainly watch this again!
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!
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!
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.
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!
Those are my thoughts for these five shows! Stay tuned for more! What was your favorite show this season?