Winter 2014 – First Impressions (Part 2)

toaru_hikuushi_e_no_koiuta-01-kal-claire-romance-fall-catch-water-wet-staring_into_eyesThis post reviews: Nobunagun, Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta, Hamatora, and Hoozuki no Reitetsu.

I realize that I’m pretty late on everything since the second episodes of all these anime have aired, but these are still just my thoughts on the first episodes alone.  I’ll have some thoughts, opinions and whatnot on the second episodes when my Weekly Anime post comes out, hopefully sometime this weekend.

 

Watching:

Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta

toaru_hikuushi_e_no_koiuta-01-claire-surprised-emotional-scared-cute-hair_in_windWith great potential to be the best new anime of Winter 2014, Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta flies high with it first episode thanks to an tremendous, creative setting, a powerful and intricate story, and a sophisticated cast of characters that are based on emotions and personalities rather than clichés and archetypes.  There were literally no faults or negatives with this first episode and, prepare yourself for this shocker, I actually enjoyed the genuine romance between Kal and Claire.  Really, it was somewhat sudden and forced but the scene was innocent and heartwarming, especially sailing through the clouds and playing in the water after crashing the bicycle.  Moving onto the setting, I doubt I will see a better setting than this for 2014.  Not only is the world gorgeous, with its dazzling scenery, and detailed, with it cryptic history and steampunk-ish aviation, but the way the setting is used in the story is phenomenal.  I absolutely love the floating island and searching for the ‘End of the Sky’ and whatever secrets it will reveal.  The setting is a strong reminder of one of my favorite anime with Last Exile, so there’s no doubt I would fall in love with this when there are so many parallels.  The cast thus far has been outstanding and the chemistry between the characters is perfect, especially between Kal and Ariel.  The anime isn’t terribly heavy either, despite the dramatic implications from the beginning and from when Kal saw Nina Viento, but The Pilot’s Love Song has been somewhat lighthearted and fun.  There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll continue this anime, though I do wonder if 12 episodes will be enough for a series of this caliber.  I guess we’ll see how quickly the story advances and how thick the plot is, but I’m sure it will be great whatever happens.

toaru_hikuushi_e_no_koiuta-01-kal-pilot-goggles-cap-cockpit-panic-wind-flying toaru_hikuushi_e_no_koiuta-01-ariel-copilot-happy-carefree-cheerful-friend

 

Hamatora

hamatora-01-murasaki-nice-duo-private_investigators-detectives-cool-poseHamatora isn’t the best anime I watched or even a favorite of mine, but it’s a solid anime that’s worth watching.  The series is brimming with positives, ranging from its colorful cast to its appealing set-up as detectives to the striking and vibrant art style to the use of various superpowers to augment the action.  But perhaps the best thing about this anime is its potential.  There are so many things that this anime can do that it can really branch out in any direction and be an engaging and fun anime.  The cast of characters, the set-up and the setting can literally turn this anime into anything it wants, and I’m excited to see where it will go.  And given the episode nature of this first episode, I can see this anime dipping in various genres like comedy, drama, mystery and even adventure.  I can’t say that I’ll always like where this story goes or what the characters are doing, but I think I’ll enjoy this anime more often than not.  And it’s for that very reason why I’m keeping Hamatora this season.

hamatora-01-murasaki-colors-psychedelic-taser-electricity-superpower-glasses hamatora-01-art-police-smile-handsome

 

Undecided:

Nobunagun

nobunagun-01-shio-pointing-finger_gun-smile-bangNobunagun was actually one of the anime I felt highly of before the season began.  From what I saw in its previews were some brilliant and creative uses of colors, a crazy yet charming main character and a story that seemed to enjoy itself for being silly.  Then the first episode came along and I began to have my doubts over this anime.  While it delivered in terms of its directing, using a dazzling array of colors and overlaying patterns on the characters, the art and animation were a subpar and I’m beginning to think the use of diverse colors is a way to mask the low budget.  Still, anytime an anime can utilize various colors for an artistic or dramatic effect is a strong positive for me.  The little words that kept popping out and describing stuff was a nice, unique touch, but it did feel a bit excessive at times and I wonder if I will tire of it before the series is over.  The main character is wonderful with her awkward and innocent personality but she’s the only one I think and the only one I think I’ll like as the series moves forward.  I’m not sure if she can carry the anime on her own if I decide to keep it but she might.  The story is silly but only somewhat entertaining since it seems to want to take itself seriously with this first episode feature some questionable drama.  I hope the series realizes how crazy it is and just goes nuts with its story, not caring for how brainless it is, but that’s not what I saw with the first episode.  The anime reminds me quite a bit of Symphogear, another anime I felt heavily conflicted about.  Considering that I’m already watching a dozen anime, I won’t feel bad if I drop this is the second episode is another disappointment.  Otherwise, I think I’ll keep this anime.

nobunagun-01-shio-smile-happy-friendship-flowers-texture-artistic_motif-colors-emotional nobunagun-01-shio-shock-scared-fear-emotion-colors-blue

 

Hoozuki no Reitetsu

hoozuki_no_reitetsu-01-hoozuki-calm-serious-stoic-sternHoozuki no Reitetsu will be a hit-or-miss anime for me.  Some of the skits will hit; some of the skits will miss.  The question becomes, will there be more hits or misses for me with Hoozuki no Reitetsu?  Or rather, will there be enough hits for me to warrant keeping the anime for the entire duration of its run?  That’s what I hope to find out with the second episode of Hoozuki no Reitetsu after the first episode was a hit followed by a miss.  While I am interested in the setting and find a subtle charm in the stoic, hard-ass nature of Hoozuki, the second half of the first episode felt entirely listless and monotonous despite a few jokes I smiled at.  I do realize that Hoozuki is supposed to be a bit boring in his personality and nature, but it doesn’t help when that bored radiates all the way from Japanese Hell and affects me, too.  Still, the first episode had more positives than negatives, particularly on its unique art and style, so I’m thinking I’ll be keeping it.  It really depends on how the second episode performs and whether there are enough hits to justify keeping it around.  If the second episode is a couple of misses for me though… well, let’s just say I won’t miss it.

hoozuki_no_reitetsu-01-hoozuki-stare-pondering-lost_in_thought-goldfish_plants hoozuki_no_reitetsu-01-hoozuki-enma-animals-ferocious-red_eyes-scary

 

Dropped:

Nothing new has been dropped, though I did scan through Super Sonico and Wake Up, Girls! just to see what they were like.  I never had any intention of keeping them, so I don’t feel inclined to write about them but both were about what I thought they be.  Didn’t expect there to be so many panties in Wake Up, Girls!, so I wonder if that was some “first-episode fanservice” to bait and hook an audience and then have nothing sexy later on (besides maybe some skimpy idol outfits).

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  1. #1 by Artemis on January 19, 2014 - 5:52 PM

    Ooh, bold prediction there for Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta. I wouldn’t say it’s my favourite new title of the winter season, and I doubt it will ever become that, but I do like what I’ve seen so far. Perhaps surprisingly, I too am very much enjoying the romantic aspects of it, which I think is one of the things that help set it apart from Last Exile. (And while I also like the latter series, it wouldn’t have been good if Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta had been a carbon copy of it.)
    I tried Wake Up, Girls!, but… meh. It’s not terrible, but clearly I’m the wrong kind of audience for the show to begin with, given that I don’t usually like idol shows anyway and have little liking for actual idols (though the Japanese idol culture can sometimes be interesting, from a non-fan perspective).

    • #2 by avvesione on February 2, 2014 - 12:07 PM

      After the first episodes of each anime, I found Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta to be the most impressive and to hold the most potential moving forward. It has a wonderful cast, an interesting story, a gorgeous and unique setting and seems to be moving in the right direction. Compared to everything else, this is the anime with the least amount of flaws or faults… at least right now. And yes, the strong vibes from Last Exile (the first one) are a huge plus for this.

      And yeah, Wake Up, Girls! was disappointing, but I never really planned on watching it anyway, so I guess I can say it met my expectations.

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