Anime Discovery – TIME OF THE SEASON Summer 2014 Edition Wrap-Up

Summer is about to come for a close!!! And this time, I got some good things to say about this season because this was the most interesting season of this year although I did check out a show from the last season that I’ve missed out on and one I had to wait until it hit Netflix (that and it’s easier to watch in English dub). However, I really had to drop some shows due to either lack of interest or if I’m not amused at what I saw but other than that, summer delivered some shows that were better received than the spring shows and even returning ones that deserve a lot of praise and some that did lower in quality as they went.

And speaking of not being amused at what I saw………………..don’t expect a review or anything about Mushi-Shi on this blog because watching that lackluster show has already done enough for me. I get some people are really into this series but watching 19 episodes of the first season didn’t really get me hooked or interested to continue it. Hell, I can’t even tell what happened during those episodes due to me dozing off every time I watch it. I can see why FUNimation decided to not pick this up (aside from Aniplex JPN producing the show this time around) as this show has very limited appeal to audiences, even more so than Ping Pong last season and that show was actually worth watching the more I think about it. Most people will love this show and I don’t pity them but I’m better off not knowing about this show at all. I would say this is overrated but not too many people talk about this show that much, so it’s like that Oscar movie critics praised and praised but it’s still not that good or worth an re-watch (Ex. American Hustle, The Artist, etc.). In other words, this is a….High ACQUIRED TASTE (5.5/10) and not even something I would recommend watching to others. – animated by ARTLAND / Licensed by FUNimation Entertainment (Season 1), Aniplex of America (Season 2 and the OVAs)

Wait—- Did I just do a wrap-up on Mushi-Shi? OK. I mean for shows that were from Spring this year, I did watch that other show Chaika: The Coffin Princess…….
…….and for that show, it was merely OK. I wasn’t that super into it but it did grab some of my attention and seeing that a second season is coming in the upcoming fall season, I can give my time into seeing it. The 1st season gets a High OKAY (7.5/10) – animated by BONES / Licensed by SENTAI FILMWORKS.

Remember when I said that Captain Earth was the only good thing in the Spring season? Well, I said that because one show wasn’t legally streaming until it ran on Netflix and that anime is Knights of Sidonia and the show brought its all from good characters (although development is mainly scarce but thankfully there’s a 2nd season), great action and the 3D animation was good, too, although it took time getting used to as CG animation was never a big sell for me on some shows and the English dub from California (I don’t know what studio dubbed it. All we know it’s a Cali dub and Netflix is in California) was a solid effort from all the VAs around. This gets a High SOLID B. (8.5/10). –animated by POLYGON PICTURES / Licensed by NETFLIX

 

And now…..for the ones I’ve dropped because damn, these shows aren’t worth watching or catching up.

 

First up is Argevollen…..

Yeah, I stopped watching this after 7 episodes and I do get that the war commentary can get interesting with some thought to it but everything else……is so uninteresting and all humdrum. From the characters to the plot and storylines and even the action is mostly boring throughout and if you make a mecha series’ action tedious, then you ultimately fail to be remotely decent. This is just another entry of lackluster mecha shows this year and not even like last year where the most talked-about mecha show was a mere trying-too-hard campy POS. I’m not even going to bother continuing this as this gets a low ACQUIRED TASTE (5/10). – animated by XEBEC / Licensed by SENTAI FILMWORKS

 

DRAMAtical Murder had a good idea or at least that’s what I thought about it when I first watched an episode of it but 6 episodes in, I’d stop giving a damn with the monotonous characters, weak action and bad animation. Oh, the animation here is so bad and yet people bring out Sailor Moon Crystal as an example. Yeah, their animation is a bit wonky but at least it’s better than DRAMAtical. This is also another show not worth continuing and the rating for it so far is a high NOT FEELING THIS (4/10). – animated by NAZ, currently unLicensed

 

As for Shonen Hollywood……yeah, I didn’t went past episode 1 due to lack of curiosity and first episode didn’t leave me wanting more. Hell, I’m not even going to give it a rating. Animated by ZEXCS / licensed by FUNimation Entertainment

 

Now, let’s get to the shows that I did watch and continue with this past summer……

 

PERSONA 4 GOLDEN THE ANIMATION – animated by A-1 Pictures / Licensed by Aniplex of America

Yeah, you are better off watching the original anime or if you’re not a fan of the original show, you can play the games. This is definitely a remix of the original series and while it isn’t entirely a bad thing, it really didn’t grasp on to me. Also, didn’t really care for Marie that much and whatever new material they brought out wasn’t as memorable or hard-hitting as before. The animation was consistent as I didn’t even notice the difference between A-1 and AIC Plus. Overall, it’s forgettable but not awful. It gets a VANILLA (6/10).

 

TOKYO GHOUL – animated by Studio Pierrot / Licensed by FUNimation Entertainment

I expected some cheesy shonen mess of a show but what I got from it is actually a decent gorefest show, much like Deadman Wonderland. Yes, I understand some of the parts are rushed from what I heard about it but the way it’s handled, I never felt like they skipped something important and if you wondering if this might continue, it does. A second season has been announced after the last episode aired, scheduled in the Winter 2015 season and good thing, too. It did look like more should be explored in this series. It gets a low SOLID B. (7.5/10).

 

BLACK BUTLER: BOOK OF CIRCUS – animated by A-1 Pictures / Licensed by FUNimation Entertainment

Hmmmm……OK, Black Butler Season 3, you were one of the best things this summer or at least something that has high on my good list. Well, it was harder to watch since I’ve never watched it subbed before but it did managed to be equal to the first season from its mysterious aspect to the enchanting characters and storyline. I know an OVA is set to come after the series’ end and should offer more of what we like in the show. The Book of Circus gets the grade of SOLID B. (8/10).

 

GLASSLIP – animated by P.A. Works / Licensed by SENTAI FILMWORKS

This was about glassblowers, right? Or was it chickens? Either way, I’m going to give this show’s rating early in the recap and it is VANILLA as hell from its slice of life set-up to the animation to practically almost everything. The one thing that stood out was the whole ‘seeing into the future’ aspect but even that part gets less important as it goes along. Overall, this is actually mediocre, one that I would probably forget in a few weeks after it’s over. (5/10).

 

ALDNOAH.ZERO – animated by A-1 Pictures + TROYCA / Licensed by Aniplex of America

You know, at the start of this series, I was really getting into this show and I was getting to even love the series as being of the greats this year but after the Urobuchi-written episodes and maybe the latter half of the show, quality started to dip down (from generic plot twists to ‘oh no, that character is dead or are they’ – and that happened twice.) Then again, up until that, the one problem I got with the show is how much of an emotionless character Inaho is. They would be fine for a supporting character but yet he’s the main character!! Thankfully, characters like Slaine, Asseylum (which is still a dumb name) and Rayet kept my interest in there. I know people aren’t too pleased with this show as of now but for me, this is the one of the few mecha anime that I’m actually invested in despite that ending (oh boy, that ending, man.) and yes, this is a split-cour so expect more the coming January and I want to see where it ends up, Urobuchi or not. In other words, this isn’t a zero and it’s damn sure isn’t a hero but more like a High OKAY (7.5/10).

 

SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL – animated by TOEI / Licensed by VIZ MEDIA

I’m still on that Sailor Moon high from a few months ago as I happily enjoyed the classic series, along with the new dub and as for this series? Yeah, this is on the same wavelength of enjoyment I’ve gotten from the show with those animation problems people have said in the past (It’ll be fixed on those JPN Blu-rays soon enough) and I will say there is some differences between the original and this reboot, mainly that the first 6 episodes is just introducing the Sailor Guardians and Tuxedo Mask, the pacing is quicker than the original with no fillers in between and while the whole airing schedule is not favorable to some people, I actually don’t mind it since I review and look at a lot of anime anyway. Once again, Sailor Moon gets a SOLID B. (8/10).

 

AKAME ga KILL!! – Animated by WHITE FOX / Licensed by SENTAI FILMWORKS

This is also another show that many people have talked about, although most of it was very mixed on it as some elements of the show, such as humor and characters, are not written well into the series and I do get the feeling that it tries too hard to be grim dark and edgy where I can’t tell if it’s being serious or way too over-the-top. On the bright side, the action animation was excellent and there were some times I actually care about what happens to the characters, although I really couldn’t care less about Tatsumi at all. To me, this is a show where I know some things are horribly executed but I still want to watch more and this isn’t even a hate-watch for me. I actually do somewhat enjoy this series. So far, I’m giving it a Low OKAY (6.5/10)

 

CAPTAIN EARTH – animated by BONES / Licensed by SENTAI FILMWORKS

I admit that the quality of the show has gotten a little down since the latter half started and it all got confusing and mind-boggling but however, I still think that this is one of the best mecha shows this year. For its glorious animation to its cast of intriguing characters (which everybody gets their moments, so don’t complain about them not doing shit! They don’t have or need to be some generic badass every time.) And most of all, it brought out all the right emotions into the show as that’s what a good and interesting show is supposed to bring out to you, not some instant gratification of monotonous action. To me, this show should get some praise than all the flack it gotten from critics and fans alike and this show shall be remained a SOLID B. (8/10)

 

TOKYO ESP –
animated by XEBEC / Licensed by FUNIMATION

Hey, it’s a Xebec show that’s not as humdrum this summer and in actuality, I overlooked this show a while back and from what I saw from it, it’s actually entertaining in terms of action and suspense (also a penguin sidekick!!! And best of all, it doesn’t have a front tail like….well, you know.) But for characters, it’s a bit mixed all around and the same can be said for the plot. The show is probably better if you waited a while to marathon blocks of but it’s still decent for the most part. It gets a mild OKAY (6.5/10)

 

YAMISHIBAI: JAPANESE GHOST STORIES 2 – animated by ILCA, currently unlicensed

Luckily, I did ended up watching Season 1 of this and reviewing it for Another Castle (the site I work for now. Oh, BTW, you should totally check out my review of the first season *wink wink*) and I actually wanted to see how Season 2 turned out to be and luckily, the series’ length is an hour so I binge through that and it was very consistent with the first season. It still has that creepy yet appropriate atmosphere with a good normal pace of storytelling and the results are favorable than ever. This seems like the show people should be watching in terms of horror stories like this, instead of Pupa or Mushi-Shi in terms of ghost stories. I do recommend this show to you and I give it a SOLID B. (8/10).

 

And now to present to you the two worst shows of the season. One that is getting finished and one that is still airing and frankly, both deserve to be called the worst of the season for a reason.

And here’s a hint: both are licensed by ANIPLEX OF AMERICA.

That’s right!!

MAHOUKA (THE IRREGULAR AT MAGIC HIGH SCHOOL) – animated by MADHOUSE

&

SWORD ART ONLINE II – animated by A-1 PICTURES

Yeah, you heard me. Both of these shows are the worst of the season, possibly the worst of the year as the two have very much in common in terms of characters, story, and both being based from light novels.

For Mahouka, the latter half was mostly uninteresting and full of the same shit we’ve seen from the 1st half. Tatsuya is still a Gary Stu and his actions are still not worth engaging or even talking about. Hell, I can barely remember what happened in this half and that’s even worse for a bad show if you have nothing worth mentioned that can be viewed as unintentionally funny, then you just sucked overall.

And of course, SAO II, I didn’t even expect to watch this but curiosity got the best of me and guess what? It’s still the same shit I saw from the last series and that isn’t a compliment. Sure, this isn’t worse than the Fairy Dance Arc but the former arc wasn’t actually that good. Kirito is…of course, him and still has his woman Asuna (by the way, for those that say she’s useless here…..well, that’s wrong. She was useless way before SAOII) and his harem of side-chicks in ALO and here comes Sinon, who did had a good storyline about her past and how fucked up it is but eventually, it’s setting up to look like one of Kirito’s cheerleaders from her finding out his identity as he first masqueraded as a girl (to be fair, it’s less dumb than when Suguha/Leafa founded out) then act her tsundere ways of not liking her at first but she will, eventually.

I know some of you out there think I’m hating of the show for the sake of it. First off, you can go to hell with that nonsense because this is an honest opinion and not everybody has to like this show. They complain because they see legitimate problems with this show and you need to suck it up. I need to see how this show is myself and I didn’t went in hating it but alas, SAO failed once again in writing and characterization. They better hope in the latter half it can be even slightly good. If not, then fuck it.

Both shows get a CLOWNSHOES (2/10) for both and even for the first season of SAO. Yup, I’m changing my score of the first season from NOT FEELING THIS to CLOWNSHOES. Also, now that I think about it, .hack/sign goes from AN ACQUIRED TASTE to an LOW OKAY as I think I now have a newfound respect for that show and LOG HORIZON……..I’m glad that show is coming back as Season 2 could not have come soon enough.

 

 

And now for the best of the season, the true anime titles that deserve the high praise it gets from fans, critics and myself and thankfully, both of these shows got one thing in common. The man called Watanabe. Oh, actually another thing in common as both of these are licensed by FUNimation.

 

SPACE DANDY S2 – animated by BONES

&

TERROR OF RESONANCE – animated by MAPPA


That’s right, that bounty hunter with the badass pompadour and Japanese terrorists remained on my “Best of” List as both anime managed to be the best summer shows of the year.

Terror of Resonance was both intriguing and fascinating in terms of all the aspects from story from the mystery of knowing Nine and Twelve’s motives behind their terrorist acts and I did like they weren’t just stereotypical evil terrorists but had a well-explained motive behind it. I never felt if many character is useless although for Lisa, she just felt like the least important character of the show (although some points of that might be valid about her being useless but she never became problematic) and the whole mystery about Five and her introduction was also satisfactory. This became so close to being on my Hall of Fame but some things but instead this gets a grade of High FIRST CLASS (9.5/10).


As for Space Dandy, this season manages to be even wackier and crazier than the first season and I loved every minute of it from the alternative universe episode to the musical episode (which was actually a good episode even to me and I don’t like much musicals) as they wasn’t an episode that I didn’t like (well, there was some that was merely fine than hilarious) and some of the more serious episodes were well-done, too. This is practically the most fun I had in an anime since Kill La Kill in terms of funniest moments and not only that, quite revolutionary with it airing with an English dub on Toonami before Japan airs it. The dub is still spectacular with a lot of ranging guest VAs appearing in almost every episode. Overall, I just love this show from beginning to its end and people, sometimes good things have to come to an end. There may not be another Space Dandy and that’s a good thing. I highly give this the top honor of HALL OF FAME (10/10)!!!!!!!!!

 

And there you go. Time of the Season Summer Recap has come to an end…just like SUMMER!!!

 

Prepare for the upcoming final season of the year, the FALL season!!!

And until then, this is MAK2.0 aka The Blue Hybrid, bringing all the elements in one format.

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