I have decided on a line-up to watch and write about this season. Not included in this list are the comedies Kill Me Baby and Daily Lives of High School Boys. I’ve also been debating whether to keep Brave 10 and Senki Zessho Symphogear after their underwhelming second episodes and my personal time constraints during this season. They’re both decent anime and if I can budget my time each week, then I’ll probably keep them but they’re the first to go if I start running into trouble in the next couple weeks. For now, they’re on my watching list.
Another (Episode 1) – Every anime that I’ve analyzed the hell out of has been a series I loved. That fact speaks volumes for what Another might end up being but it’s not that simple when it comes to this anime. I’ve also had trouble getting into the ‘true’ horror genre which Another seems to identify itself in, so there is a contradictory here. Another shows both elements I love and don’t care for in an anime. I believe the mystery aspects of the anime are what appeal to me, such as trying to figure out what’s going on with this setting, rather than the poignant atmosphere and the nonsensical (at least at this moment) and often abrupt cuts to still of dolls as the current level of horror. If the anime retains this mystery element throughout the series, then I should end up loving it like any other excessively analyzed anime but if the series dabbles too much in horror and such, then I fear my spark with this anime might go out.
Brave 10 (Episode 2) – Before the season began, I had a craving to watch a serious samurai anime with charming characters and an intriguing setting. Brave 10 isn’t the match I had hoped for but it provides something in the entertainment department with its fights revolving around ninja superpowers, insane magic, and character specialization. I always have a weakness for anime with fights like these where there are multiple skilled fighters and a brawl or battle in every episode, so I’m happy with the anime there. Furthermore, the anime does satisfy some of what I was looking for with parts of its setting (which has been little more than forgotten backdrop) and a few of the characters (Yukimura and Isanami). I do hope the anime improves in terms of setting and characters shortly but the entertainment in Brave 10 is enough for me to keep it as a weekly anime this season.
Chihayafuru (Episode 14) – You may think Chihaya only needed to recruit three new members for the karuta club but she actually successfully recruited four. Taeko Miyauchi, the teacher who became the karuta club advisor, is a member of the karuta club that I consider as the ‘sixth’ member. Her role is often overlooked since she was the last to join the club, was previously critical of it and of Chihaya, and doesn’t even play the game, but she’s a member all the same in my eyes, especially since she was converted to karuta after seeing the students put their heart into practicing for the tournaments. Her role has expanded since then and we see how much she cares for the students now, leading them to the national tournament and filming the matches among other duties. Her leadership toward the students will likely come into play later since she has the reputation for being strict and direct, which will turn out to be an advantage for the players when the time comes. Taeko might not be the most popular character in the anime for her role early on but since her transformation mid-season she has quietly become a pleasant character and one I hope more people appreciate as the second season continues.
Future Diary (Mirai Nikki) (Episode 14) – I can’t tell if Yuno being in her underwear the whole episode was there to represent her insanity or there mainly for fanservice. Earlier in the series, the appearance of her psycho behavior was limited to scenes where her pallid eyes and twisted facial expressions would show her emotions. Her voice has also been successful in expressing her madness, too. And let’s not forget her murderous rampages either. All three devices were effective in displaying her insanity earlier in the series, so now why the underwear in this episode? Is it a new level to her craziness showing that’s she getting worse? Is it because she’s believed her relationship has progressed with Yuki to the level where they’re intimate? They both work and are probably some of the intended consequences of the scenes but I can’t help but think this was primarily for the fanservice. At least that’s the way it seemed to me, even though the anime did not focus on her bra and panties at every opportunity. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about seeing Yuno in her underwear either, just it seemed to come across as more gratuitous than meaningful in my eyes.
Mouretsu Pirates (Bodacious Space Pirates) (Episode 2) – I typically dislike it when a protagonist, usually a cute high school girl, with no background in a specific field, this being space privateering, is thrust into a major role suddenly and expected to perform like a pro. But what makes Marika so much more tolerable about this is that we see she has qualifications that will eventually lead to her sitting in the captain’s seat aboard a space pirate ship. This episode showed her decisive nature during the electronic warfare segment and her philosophy on leadership which is choosing the best option available and believing in it. I wasn’t expecting that either Chiaki but apparently Marika has that attribute and it’s essential in being a respected leader. Additionally, we saw Ririka take Marika out to the boonies to fire giant lasers at the ruins and teach her a lesson about accountability and when to make a decision. These, too, are required for a leader to be successful and I appreciate the Space Pirates for taking the time to develop Marika from an ordinary schoolgirl into the eventual captain of an intimidating pirate vessel. Will make that transition smooth and enjoyable for someone like me who.
Persona 4 the Animation (Episode 14) – What drives Yuu to complete all these social links is truly a mystery. In the video game, it’s obvious. The player is attempting to max out these social links for later in the game when these Personas might be used in a dungeon or for getting 100% completion in the game. But for Yuu, what are his motivations? Why does he go out of his way to take care for all these people? His enthusiasm and feelings are often hard to interpret sometimes so it’s tough to say. I feel that this was left in for the fans of the video game to see the social links incorporated in some way (probably the only reason it’s in the anime) but I’m looking beyond that and at the character himself. The best I can come up with is that Yuu is a loving person and cares for everyone around him. There are others but they’re not as fitting or satisfying as this one, so I’m content to accept this as the answer on why Yuu is just such a great guy all the time.
Rinne no Lagrange (Episode 2) – The clear skies, clean water, and tropical setting create a relaxing almost calm backdrop to the intense mecha battles and battle for Earth’s future. It’s like we’re getting two different messages here. What could be a factor is that these first few battles, the ones introducing the cast and mecha to us, aren’t as intense as they might seem which is why the anime has been as sunny and cheerful as it has. The only time we ever had any darkness was when Madoka was lost in the base and regretting her decision to pilot Vox under the water (light obviously indicating mood in these scenes). But everything else has been bright including every mecha fight we’ve seen. I do wonder if that’s what I’m supposed to read from the setting in this anime at this point or if these battles are supposed to be meaningful beyond introductions and easy opponents. Should be interesting to see how the environment changes during the future battles but I must say I am damn impressed with the sky, oceans, and scenery in this anime and am really pleased with the views we’re getting from these cockpits. And I say that as there is a layer of snow outside my windows.
Senki Zessho Symphogear (Episode 2) – I wonder how much we’ll eventually learn about the invading and murderous Noise and what their reason for global conquest is. So far it seems there is no way of communicating with them but I expect the heroes to contact them in some way or another, through their singing probably, to learn why they’re here and what they’re up to. Either that or one of the characters will learn about it while doing some research or something. Still, whatever way we learn about it, I do want to know why the Noise are here and why they’re killing the people. We’ll probably have to wait until the finale or near-finale of the anime before learning their purpose but it’s the aspect I’m looking forward to the most with this anime.
Thermae Romae (Episodes 1+2) – Never thought I’d be so thrilled or enthusiastic to watch an anime about naked men bathing but Thermae Romae is impressive in that it can pull that off and be wildly entertaining at the same time. I particularly love Lucius’ view and critiques when he’s in Japan and how he takes these inspirations that he doesn’t fully understand back to ancient Rome and reinvents them in the best means possible for the benefit of the Roman people. It really comes together to make it one of the most entertaining and enjoyable anime of the season. Can’t wait to see what else Lucius learns and how he implements these technologies to the baths of Rome.