Spring 2014 – First Impressions (Part 3)

hitsugi_no_chaika-01-chaika-coffin-crying-tears-cute-comedy-gothic_lolitaThis post reviews: Black Bullet, Soul Eater NOT!, No Game No Life, and Hitsugi no Chaika.

Since I never really talk about short 2-5 minute anime, I figure here is probably the best area to cover the few new shorts airing this season. Of the new shows, both Mahou Shoujo Taisen and Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san are quick yet enjoyable comedies. Neither are unique or special in any way but are worthwhile if you want a couple minutes of amusement. Puchimas!! makes a return with a sequel that’s more of the same (which are episodes too short for more than one or two jokes). There’s no need to watch the first season of Puchimas! or The Idolmaster in order to appreciate the show, but it doesn’t hurt to know who the girls and their chibi counterparts are. In summary, looks like all the shorts are decent to good but still nothing phenomenal like Teekyuu.

 

Watching:

No Game No Life

no_game_no_life-01-sora-shiro-siblings-lost-crying-tears-comedyAlthough the setting and scenario of No Game No Life is not out of this world for anime (typical Japanese teenager [plus little sister] are transported into and stuck in a mysterious fantasy realm) it is the main character, Sora, that makes the difference between this anime being fair and being good. Whereas virtually all other anime where characters are trapped in these imaginary worlds with no chance of returning, we see Sora embrace his new home as it proves to be more interesting and agreeable than the modern Japanese society that he previously resided in. What this means is that the story will take a different direction than what’s expected, with Sora wanting to stay instead of finding a way back home. Additionally, Sora is interesting in that he does not behave like a typical protagonist in that he strives to satisfy the common good or his ideals of justice. Sora is a true competitor, even becoming a cheater, and doing whatever he wants to get what he wants. It’s satisfying to see a character like this in anime and even more rewarding to see him as the main character. Furthermore, the anime does feature a number of other positives, including a gorgeous and vivid fantasy world and a pleasant art style to complement it. I’m curious to see where the story will go as it has captured my attention, but I can see the story going either up or down at this point depending on what happens with Sora and Shiro. Still, there’s plenty to look forward to with No Game No Life and I’m looking forward to watching it this season.

no_game_no_life-01-sora-older_brother-cloak-games-different no_game_no_life-01-shiro-sleeping-sucking_thumb-child-loli

 

Undecided:

Soul Eater NOT!

soul_eater_not!-01-meme-tsugumi-anya-death_weapon_meister_academy-new_studentsSince I am unfamiliar with the Soul Eater franchise (haven’t not watched the anime or read the manga), it’s taking me a bit longer to properly assess and evaluate the spin-off, Soul Eater NOT!. I don’t think I saw enough material and characterization in this introductory episode to give the anime a fair assessment, so I’ll delay my decision until after the second episode. The take-aways from this first episode though do bode well, as I am intrigued by the dynamic with the three main characters and their evolving relationships. Of particular note was the scene at the end of the first episode with Anya clinging onto Tsugumi’s sleeve and appearing conflicted, rejecting her superficial personality and stepping out of her character into stay with Tsugumi. That was the best part of this episode and I want to see where she goes as a character, as well as how Meme and Tsugumi develop as characters, too. I can’t really speak on anything else since I have a limited knowledge of the setting and scenario, but the art and animation are fine and I enjoyed some of the comedy. But really, I don’t think I’ll have anything meaningful to say until after the second episode… so until then, I am undecided on Soul Eater NOT!

soul_eater_not!-01-maka-happy-excited-energetic-enthusiastic soul_eater_not!-01-anya-royalty-conflicted-ambivalent-frown-tears-concerned-holding_onto_sleeve-cute

 

Hitsugi no Chaika

hitsugi_no_chaika-01-chaika-coffin-gothic_lolita-mysterious-quietHitsugi no Chaika had an underwhelming first episode, but the anime flashed signs of potential towards the end, that it might be something more than what this introductory episode showed. Whether this anime improves or not remains to be seen, but that uncertainty should be answered before the end of the second episode. The main issue with Hitsugi no Chaika is its lack of anything interesting or remarkable, whether it be the characters, story and setting. Nothing about this anime seems extraordinary or exciting. The whole first episode was dull and predictable, with this being the thousandth time (probably an underestimate) when we’ve seen a random guy meet a strange girl for an anime adventure. The highlight of the episode, which I’m guessing was supposed to be the battle with the unicorn, was simple and unchallenging… and, in terms of excitement, was mundane at best. The character personalities are all cookie-cutter, so there’s nothing encouraging there. The setting has some basic creativity, but nothing that makes it memorable. I will admit, however, that the final scenes during the mansion break in were significantly improved compared to everything that had occurred prior, so the anime does show some promise that it can be better than what it showed for most of the first episode. If the anime can continue on this trajectory and carry this momentum into the second episode, then Hitsugi no Chaika might prove itself to be a worthwhile anime this season. If it reverts back to the uninteresting, unexciting garbage of the first episode, then that will be the final nail in its coffin (haha, puns).

hitsugi_no_chaika-01-tooru-transformation-iron-blood-red-superpowers-military_uniform hitsugi_no_chaika-01-akari-sister-sword-unhappy

 

Dropped:

Black Bullet

black_bullet-01-rentarou-enju-initiator-running-comedyBlack Bullet will probably be remembered as the most frustrating and disappointing anime of the season. While I did not have high hopes for Black Bullet, even calling it ‘generic’ in my initial assessment for my Season Preview, I did not expect this to flop so quickly and be dropped in just one episode. Perhaps the most infuriating aspect of this anime are the characters with the second-most being the writing. Nothing about the characters seemed realistic or believable, especially with how they acted or reacted, with the loli being the worst offender. The dialogue was elementary and abysmal, some of the worst I have ever seen in an anime. The funniest part about this anime is that it attempted to include comedy, which is something humorous to think about.  The fanservice was awkward and unwanted.  The world isn’t terribly interesting with its monsters and methods for fighting them, but it probably doesn’t help that all the action sequences sucked in terms of pacing, directing or satisfaction. Nothing about this anime was original or innovative. Instead, it was cliché after cliché. It’s as if Black Bullet is the bastard child of all the negative aspects of all the sci-fi anime from the past 5 years. There’s nothing good I can say about Black Bullet or that I am done with it.

black_bullet-01-kagetane-mask-smile-comedy-antagonist-villain black_bullet-01-enju-initiator-cursed_children-toast-jam-happy-loli-twintails

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  1. #1 by Artemis on April 16, 2014 - 2:07 AM

    Weirdly enough, I actually quite like what I’ve seen from Black Bullet so far. It’s clearly not going to be anime of the season, and I think it’s far from a perfect series, but the first episode was good enough for me to watch another, and the second actually gave me some solid motivation to watch more. Even the resident annoying loli didn’t grate on me anywhere near as much as I thought she was going to. I’m definitely going to keep up with this, at least for now.

    • #2 by avvesione on April 23, 2014 - 10:55 PM

      Yeah, I just couldn’t handle Black Bullet, even though I hear from multiple sources that the second episode is much, much better than the first. I just don’t have any hope for the anime. There was nothing about the characters or the story or the setting that gave me hope that the anime would be something that I would look forward to watching or that would even be remotely mediocre. I’m glad to hear you’re able to enjoy it since I thought the first episode (and the rest of the series) would be a waste of time. I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts on the anime as a whole when you finish it.

      • #3 by Artemis on April 23, 2014 - 11:08 PM

        Well, so far so good. I agree, the first episode hardly set a great tone for the rest of the series, so I was pretty surprised by how much better the storytelling in episode 2 was, and how much more intelligent it seemed. The recent episode 3 is again far better than that first episode had me anticipating.

        • #4 by avvesione on April 23, 2014 - 11:33 PM

          I don’t think I’ll go back and pick up Black Bullet, but I’m curious to see how it does in the general anime community now. Then again, I don’t know many people still watching it since most of the people I know dropped it after one episode.

  2. #5 by Guang Min Lye on April 17, 2014 - 2:24 AM

    About No Game No Life;

    Well, this anime surprised the hell out of me, from the covers of the original Light Novel I just assume this is just some harem bullshit. The fact that the MC has a little loli sister beside him just confirm it for me.

    Then I saw the 1st episode, then the 2nd one, & being a weak-willed fool that I am – I went & brought the 1st four volumes of the LNs. & it IS AWESOME. I’m pretty sure Avvesione will at least find the 1st four episodes very good if not great. Being a fan that read the LNs I do worry the later episodes might become too chaotic or info-matic if its not handle with care. That’s because–

    —a little spoiler-ish–

    —both the MCs remind me greatly of L (the sis) & Kira (the bro) from Death Note. So yeah, things went horribly impossible (in a good way) very fast. One can say they are both best & worst examples of what technically possible for the human mind.

    • #6 by avvesione on April 23, 2014 - 10:59 PM

      I’m thrilled to hear that the first third of No Game No Life is supposed to be good, especially since I was impressed by the second episode and have high hopes for the anime moving forward. I’m especially interested to see in what direction the story goes since Sora isn’t the generic nice-guy that most shounen leads are. I like that he’s a jerk and that he’s a dick with some minor (major?) character flaws. That and the color and comedy help make the anime more beautiful and amusing than many of the other anime this season. I’m really looking forward to what No Game No Life will do this season.

  3. #7 by Ramona Tudor on April 27, 2014 - 10:39 PM

    I haven’t decided yet whether to watch any of these, I am still waiting for more episodes to appear (trying to avoid ongoing animes lately), but I have put my eyes on No Game No Life from when I first watched the trailer. Your opinion is very encouraging -although it is not really my type, I think Iwill enjoy it. I’ll give it a try this week, for sure.

    Your review on Black Bullet makes me almost sad -I was looking forward to this anime, even though I haven’t tried it yet. I was rather excited and thought it would be a good watch. I am certainly going to ckeck out the first episode, but less enthusiastically!

    • #8 by avvesione on May 10, 2014 - 3:09 PM

      No Game No Life has really been the surprise of the season for me. I’ve been more than happy with it, but the anime does have some negatives and I think one of them might be that it’s a bit too ecchi for some people. If you can get passed that part, the anime is actually one of the better ones this season.

      Black Bullet was a huge disappointment for me, though I know that some of the people who kept it have said it’s improved. Still, I think there’s plenty of other anime this season that would better than it. I hope you still give it a shot, but it just wasn’t that good of an anime in my opinion.

  4. #9 by The Masked Neko on July 20, 2014 - 11:27 AM

    wooow i agree with absolutely everything you wrote about; especially the Black Bullet part, i feel like someone finally understands that it´s not a good anime!

    • #10 by avvesione on July 20, 2014 - 7:11 PM

      Thanks for the comment. I actually know quite a few people who did not think Black Bullet was a good anime including a number who watched the whole thing. Then again, I’m sure there are some people out there who loved it. Guess it really depends on what you want from an anime and what you’re willing to tolerate.

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