Summer 2014 – First Impressions (Part 3)

zankyou_no_terror-01-lisa-cell_phone-looking_back-scared-shocked-worriedThis post reviews: Hanayamata, Ao Haru Ride, Persona 4 the Golden Animation, and Zankyou no Terror.

I am debating whether I want to keep Re:_Hamatora and Fate/kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2wei! this season. While I did enjoy Re:_Hamatora, I only enjoyed it while Nice was gone. The dynamic without Nice was much, much better than anything from the first season and I was hopeful that the sequel would have him gone for most of the time. Looks like it’ll just be one episode. Oh well. If the series returns to mediocrity in its second episode, I won’t hesitate in dropping it. And it’s the same for Illya, too. I kept hearing that the manga gets darker and that it’s worth the wait. Well, it’s been more than one season now and the only thing remotely dark about Illya is now we have a tan-skinned Illya. If that’s what everyone’s definition of a ‘darker’ anime is, then I’m through with taking advice from anonymous anime fans. I can’t see how the anime will get better… and even if it does, it’s still a long way from good. It’ll get one more episode before it’s dropped for good.




hanayamata-01-hana-blonde-american-transfer_student-kimono-yosakoi_danceHanayamata had a solid yet unremarkable first episode. Although the anime is entertaining and engaging, primarily due to Hana’s vivacious and infectious personality, the actual content was rather ordinary and one-dimensional. The plot so far is fairly routine for an anime; it’s about a shy girl who makes friends through the X club at school. Been there, done that. But for Hanayamata, the X is what makes this anime special. I know nothing about Yosakoi dancing, so the subject of this anime will be unique compared to its peers, and I’ve always enjoy smooth and bountiful animation, something the opening sequence promises with various scenes of the quintet of girls dancing lively and beautifully. And though I bemoaned the anime for being conventional earlier, I see it as somewhat of a positive. That combination of being entertaining while having a dull story bodes well for Hanayamata seeing as it can carry itself through on entertainment value alone when not much is happening. Still, the first episode of Hanayamata was far from impressive, but it indicates that the series will soon improve, especially once the Yosakoi dance club forms and all the characters are together. What I’m looking forward to the most with Hanayamata is the comedy, the dances, and to see Naru grow as a character. If the anime can satisfy me in regards to these aspects, then picking up Hanayamata for this summer will be a success.

hanayamata-01-naru-nervous-shy-timid-shock-awe-blush hanayamata-01-hana-chibi-waving-happy-recruiting-school_club


Persona 4 the Golden Animation

persona_4_the_golden_animation-01-yuu-protagonist-glasses-reaching_hand_outTo me, Persona 4 the Golden Animation (P4GA) is different enough from Persona 4 the Animation (P4A) to warrant watching it. Even though the events of this anime will parallel P4A from start to finish, I’m fascinated to see how Marie factors into the story and how one new character alters the dynamic of the series. You could call it an experiment in seeing how much of an influence one character can have on a story. You could also say I’m curious to see how A-1 Pictures handles P4GA after AIC produced P4A. Yeah, even though the staffs are virtually the same between P4A and P4GA, I’m entranced by the fact that we get to see this story developed by two different studios. Sure, it might be a little like Endless Eight with slight alterations on the same story, but I wouldn’t mind reliving Persona’s story one more time, especially if the anime is abbreviate and only 12 episodes long. I doubt I’ll enjoy P4GA as much as I did P4A, but there’s enough new material and a new style to keep me invested in this anime for the duration of its run.

persona_4_the_golden_animation-01-yuu-yosuke-chie-fog-yellow-inside_the_television persona_4_the_golden_animation-01-marie-new_character-tomboy-blue_hair-hat-mysterious


Zankyou no Terror

zankyou_no_terror-01-arata-touji-nine-twelve-phone-partners-mysteriousZankyou no Terror is a dazzling display of how astute directing, insightful writing, and authentic characterization are the foundations for which to develop an unforgettable anime. These fundamental concepts were executed brilliantly in the first episode, starting at the very beginning with the Nine’s and Twelve’s raid, all the way through to the end with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building crumpling after the terrorist attack. Of particular note is Lisa’s character, who’s monologues and symbolism were perfect. Her descriptions of Arata and Touji provided invaluable insight into her perception of their characters and the scene where she jumped drew remarkable parallels to the earlier scenes when she was bullied by her fellow classmates. Zankyou no Terror is incredibly cerebral and intelligent and will continue to be fascinating as the series continues, especially after their first major attack. In addition to that, the anime features a vivid and pragmatic art style that dwells heavily in realism… and it’s gorgeous. The anime can go in any number of directions from this point forward, so it’ll be interesting to see how this series develop and how we come to understand the characters of Arata, Touji and Lisa before the finale. I’m already enchanted with the prospects of this series and can’t wait to see what happens next. Definitely a keeper for this anime season.

zankyou_no_terror-01-touji-twelve-sweaty-hot-summer zankyou_no_terror-01-arata-nine-phone-calm-glasses-mysterious



Ao Haru Ride

ao_haru_ride-01-kou-futuba-romance-awkward_moment-silence-stareWow, that art style… it’s just like watching Kimi ni Todoke all over again. Unfortunately for me, it’s not quite the same as Kimi ni Todoke. What elevated that shoujo romance over this shoujo romance, and also the main reason why Ao Haru Ride is in the Undecided category, is that I don’t see the charm here. Ao Haru Ride is decent at best, largely because the romance started off on a huge red flag – a stupid misunderstanding with neither side talking things out. Furthermore, I don’t think I’ll like Futaba and Kou as the leads for the romance in this anime. Futuba would be fine as a sidekick, but her artificial personality is already a bit tiring. Kou is a huge dick to the girl he once liked, so to see him act this way is a huge turn-off. And given the tedious personalities of these two, I’m not sure I want to see what the other characters are like, especially the male love rival who we already know will be blonde/light brown and nicer and whatnot. Yeah, I want to drop the anime after just one episode, but I did enjoy it and I am really fond of the animation and art style. It isn’t the same as Kimi ni Todoke, which featured a more charming cast and superior comedy, but Ao Haru Ride is a decent anime, and the first episode will probably be the hardest for me. If the series picks up in the second episode, then I’ll strongly consider keeping it. Otherwise, if it falls into the same pattern that every shoujo romance anime does, then it’s gonna be dropped.

ao_haru_ride-01-kou-looking_back-smile-name_change-mysterious_sexy_boy ao_haru_ride-01-futuba-smile-cute-new_hair-new_attitude-new_personality



Again, nothing was dropped from the shows covered in this post.

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  1. #1 by Michelle on July 13, 2014 - 4:49 PM

    Yeaaah, that’s the problem I started to have with Ao Haru Ride. Admittedly, I had high hopes after reading Strobe Edge, where the heroine is honest and sensible about her feelings and was disappointed sorely. You summed up what Ao Haru is pretty well: “a stupid misunderstanding with neither side talking things out.” It only gets worse later on (especially where the manga currently is) so yeah, drop it when you can. Quick.

    I haven’t watched any of the other animes listed here but Zankyou no Terror, which I’m iffy about. While I find Lisa endearing and her character valuable as how you described it, the story seems a bit pretentious and the way Nine and Twelve can pull off the feats they did is incredibly worth groaning at. If it’s that easy to cause destruction over there, I’m seriously questioning the way things work. I think the pacing is a bit off for me as well, but it maintains the mysterious airs well (unlike Glasslip, cough cough). Despite my skepticism, I do agree that this is a definite keeper indeed. 8)

    • #2 by avvesione on July 14, 2014 - 3:42 AM

      That’s disappointing to hear that about Ao Haru Ride. I often find myself enjoying romance-heavy shoujo anime like Chihayafuru, Kimi ni Todoke or Kamisama Kiss, so it frustrates me to hear that Ao Haru Ride only gets worse as the anime/manga goes on.

      As for Zankyou no Terror, I don’t think we the main message was to analyze how they were able to steal the bio-weapon or how easily they orchestrated and executed their terrorist attack. You’re right in your conclusion that the events of this episode were too easy (I remember getting angry with out easily they exited the bio-weapon facility), but I don’t think that was the point of this episode. To me, the episode was more about establishing these characters as outcasts who are pushed to the extremes. We know little about their histories or their motives, but we can quickly tell that Nine and Twelve are responding as best they can for the sins that were committed against them. For Lisa, however, the only sins she’s had against her are the bullies at school who ridicule her because its fun. I’m drawing the parallel between the two are one that is realistic (Lisa) and one that is the far, far extreme (Nine and Twelve). But those are just my thoughts on the first episode, and I have no idea where the anime will go from here.

  2. #3 by Artemis on July 13, 2014 - 5:09 PM

    Looks like Zankyou no Terror is at the very top of everyone’s summer watch-list – and rightfully so, I’d say. It sounds great, it looks absolutely fantastic, and once again Watanabe shows a major flair for writing and general direction. Sure, I’m a biased fangirl, but I feel like that bias is totally deserved at this point.

    I’m also completely with you on Ao Haru Ride. I think the series has some definite potential, but I’d already like the show a lot more if the main male lead wasn’t a broody asshole. I just know he’ll be getting a free pass on his behavior as well, most likely excused by past trauma and/or a tragically broken heart.

    • #4 by avvesione on July 14, 2014 - 3:50 AM

      Not just you, but I think everyone is biased toward Shinichiro Watanabe. After all, his previous works and his reputation have earned him that distinction as one of the best in the industry. And as long as he continues to make anime like Zankyou no Terror, his name will continue to command that power.

      And it’s too bad the male lead is a complete dick in Ao Haru Ride. I think the biggest indicator of whether I’ll like a shoujo romance anime is dependent on the personality of the male lead. That and misunderstandings. I absolutely hate it when misunderstandings are used as the foundation for drama and growth. So with Ao Haru Ride committing both sins, I’m ready to drop it.

  3. #5 by donkangoljones on July 19, 2014 - 2:19 AM

    I’ve heard good things about Hanayamata. Hell I just want to watch it because it’s so damn pretty! It looks like it uses the bloom filter more than I do in Picasa! The other choice I would have if Free! and I don’t watch that because I’m one awkward away from dropping it forever.

    I feel really silly for not knowing who the director of Zankyou no Terror is, I’m sure that I actually put in one of my posts that I think there’s a good director and writing team on this project. I immediately facepalmed. It’s like going to see a movie and telling your friends that you think the director has talent, and they tell you Oliver Stone did that movie.

    And I’m actually interested in Ao Haru Ride, though it could easily be just as boring and bland as it could engaging and adorable. I just rather see two other series just like it that already aired. I don’t blame you for thinking that the two main characters could get really annoying, either. Still, it looks like we’ll have plenty to watch when it comes to new anime this summer.

    • #6 by avvesione on July 20, 2014 - 7:09 PM

      If you’re interested in the visuals from Hanayamata, I strongly recommend giving it a try. It was one of the most pleasant surprises in the first week and has continued strong in its second episode.

      And don’t feel too bad when thinking about the director for Zankyou no Terror. A majority of the time, the director isn’t a big or well-known name, so fans won’t know who you’re talking about unless you provide a few other titles they’ve done to go with it. To me, I can only tell about 5-6 directors names off the top of my head and even then, I forget about them every once in a while.

      Glad to hear you’re watching Ao Haru Ride, but I gave up on it after the second episode. Just isn’t the show that I want. That and I’m already up to 20 anime this season which is probably a new record for me.

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