Summer 2014 First Impressions

Every show I was interested in seeing this season has aired, so lets go over the ones I watched. I haven’t seen all of them obviously, and I wont bother placing shows here that I’ve already composed posts on. So without further delay…

Persona 4 The Golden Animation: Episode 1

This episode caught my attention more than I expected, as I was expecting something close to a rehash, trying to cash in on fans such as myself who follow everything Persona. In many respects, this 4th telling of the Persona 4 story is the weakest yet attempted, yet in a strange way the show seemed to realise that, focusing mainly on Yu and skipping character introductions and many other key scenes throughout the episode. Yu is much more prominent, and he is also more confident than we have ever seen him before, at least at this point in the story. He’s also much more powerful, dispatching thousands of shadows upon first summoning Izanagi.

Many people have been speculating if this isn’t a new game plus version of the story, as in the game you could start a new file with all of your character’s social stats, personas, and levels. I would actually agree with this interpretation, although I’m not sure how much that will really add in the long run. Nevertheless, this almost feels like a sequel to me more than a remake.

Then there’s Marie, recently announced as a character for the fighting game spinoff. All I can say right now is that she’s very Tsundere and very boring as a result. Given the focus on her, is a brand new adaption really worth it just to see her? That’s some serious confidence (or perhaps arrogance) right there.

 

Tokyo ESP: Episode 1

I don’t see how this adds anything that X-Men hasn’t already. It was visually impressive, for sure, I liked how the animation portrayed blood, for example. Anime fans have grown used to the ‘slash, don’t show the sword actually cutting anything, wait a few seconds for the person/monster to start spurting blood’. Tokyo ESP shows the cut, and blood spills immediately. Refreshing, but still rather juvenile, and I was bored throughout the majority of the episode. Lots of weightless action and dull, black and white philosophy.

 

Zankyou no Terror: Episode 1

This was a good first episode, well paced, good balance of action and slow moments, plenty of themes. I can’t say that I’m necessarily enthused just yet however. Nine and Twelve don’t really feel particularly interesting as characters, at least in terms of their outward personas. I’m sure the show will get more interesting, and I’ll definitely be watching, but right now I’m just not all that hyped. Something tells me I’ll eventually be making full posts on this, however.

 

Ao Haru Ride: Episode 1

I’m aware two episodes for this show are available, but I found the first episode very dull. It wasn’t paced very well in the second half. There’s a big scene when Futaba and Tanaka reunite and the point is bludgeoned in that ‘things can’t go back to the way they were’ and then there’s a brief break before what almost feels like the exact same scene occurs in a different location. It’s only been one episode, yet I’ve already felt the repetition gnawing at my patience. I think I’m supposed to be sold by the cute embarrassment the two leads and Futaba in particular express, as well as the tragedy of a loss of innocence and nostalgia. However I don’t find embarrassment inherently cute (and I don’t find cuteness inherently engaging, either) and I care little for nostalgia or nostalgia as drama. A cut above the rest of these types of shows, as at least the show is aware of both character’s flaws, but it isn’t for me.

 

Akame Ga Kill: Episode 1

Utterly horrendous. It’s absolutely astounding how much I hated this episode, as I was expecting something at least somewhat enjoyable, after all, these types of shonens tend to be some of my favourite types of anime. This first episode however was a pool of unpleasantness, and I refuse to watch another episode.

To be fair, while I don’t like the humour, the show would be fine if it was purely an action comedy. For the type of humour it is, it’s perfectly serviceable in isolation, sexist boob jokes aside. Some jokes made me chuckle, such as when the village elder gives the hero a protective charm that he misinterprets the use of ‘when in a bind, sell it, right?’ If the show was just this, I could simply dismiss it as something that isn’t for me.

However it has to be juxtaposed with shocking violence that only exists to be shocking- no weight, no meaning. The little girl character tortures visitors to the city and is killed without hesitation by the hero when he learns that she killed his two comrades on his adventure. It’s meant to be edgy and hardcore, but it is immediately followed by more dumb jokes with no breathing room- the show tries to have it’s cake and eat it too, so much so that it tries to regurgitate the cake from it’s stomach, throwing it up all over the floor. Was that too unpleasant an image I planted in your head? I apologise, but at least you understand my reaction to Akame Ga Kill.

 

Aldnoah Zero: Episode 1 + 2

This is another good show, but like with Zankyo no Terror I’m not fully sold yet. I think the problem is that the show hasn’t had as much breathing room as I’d like so far, it’s very densely put together, whereas other shows from Urobuchi have always had time to build atmosphere. The characters feel like non entities to me, Inaho is supposedly the protagonist, but he barely registers. Is he avoiding cliches? Yes. Is he an example of how the youth are disconnected from important events happening in the world at large? Possibly. I haven’t really seen anything to that effect yet, but others have apparently. Aldnoah throws lots of pretty animation at me and plenty of bombastic insert songs that would usually make me shiver and get all excited, but I’m just not feeling this show right now.

Slaine is memorable for some reason, as I guess he thinks the earthlings killed his princess friend who actually isn’t dead… so… that’s dramatic? Slaine could fix things for me, somehow. Yeah.

Sword Art Online: Episode 2

I got more out of the first episode, personally, even if it had that stupid Death Gun and that half-baked philosophy on how gaming is real. I like how episode 2 didn’t focus on Kirito, the source of all the show’s woes, but I don’t think I learned anything more about Sinon, Gungale, or anything else other than that Sinon is strong and that Kirito will still probably be stronger.

Otherwise, this episode would have been engaging if it had more… purpose, outside of just showing us that Gungale and Sinon exist. It certainly feels like the action highlight this summer, lots of tension, plenty of room to breathe, grounded stakes, at least in terms of the conflict itself if nothing outside of the conflict. It really is like a video game in that regard, where the only stakes are ‘I want to win because winning feels good and losing feels bad’. I guess the online serial killer can’t be the source of all the stakes, but one seems clearly more important than the other.

Rail Wars: Episode 1

Jack of all trades. A little bit of harem hijinks, some action, some humour, some fanservice, and the extra something for a niche audience, in this case trains. It’s not too offensive I guess. It’s as sexist as any other harem, but it almost feels pointless to point that out. It’s just the symptom of sexism, not the disease itself. More offensive, sexist stuff can be found in shows with less fanservice such as SAO season 1, for example. Oh, yeah, this is about Rail Wars.

This show bores me. That is all. Next.

 

Argevollen: Episode 1

Dry, formulaic, uninteresting, it’s Code Geass with precisely none of the many elements that made Code Geass enjoyable, a show where the main character could use a magic thing in his eye to force people to obey him. The titular Argevollen is simply slightly larger and shinier than the rest of the mechs, and according to the show, that’s enough to hook the audience.

It has no energy, no originality, and for some reason I look at the animation and feel like everyone and everything is a puppet being held aloft by strings… From what I’ve seen, it’s easily the most dull and boring show of the season.

At least something as bad as Akame Ga Kill had one joke that made me chuckle. At least the way it makes me cringe proves that it provokes a reaction. Argevollen leaves such a small impact that comparing it to air would be charitable.

 

Glassip: Episode 1

I’ve been really bored this season, which is not a good sign for someone like me trying to start a blog. Maybe I should pick up some shows that I hate just so that there is some variety to what I’m talking about.

Glassip is a slow burner without any real point to it. I can appreciate the atmosphere and the gorgeous visuals, but it feels like a painting- it’s just there. Some people like looking at paintings for twenty minutes. I do not. I hear the second episode has future foresight, that sounds slightly more interesting than this first episode, but I’m honestly not all that inclined to continue.

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4 thoughts on “Summer 2014 First Impressions

  1. Thadudette

    Too bad I don’t watch any of the other animes you have listed here besides SAO; you have really good things to say that always makes me go “ohh that’s true” 😀 keep posting! i’ll be watching! (that sounds creepy)

    Reply
  2. Zethoro

    Oh boy, I didn’t expect (but enjoyed) such a harsh reaction to Akame Ga Kill. That was a fun analogy.
    …I don’t have anything else to say. Good work?

    Reply
    1. alberenza Post author

      Thanks for commenting! Glad you’re reading!

      Yeah, I didn’t expect to hate it as much as I did, either. I was expecting it to be fun in a competent sort of way. I thought Tokyo Ghoul would be the stupid show.

      Ah well, such is life.

      Reply

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