This is the first blog post I will have written while I am out of town on business. Forgive my delay in watching and writing about these anime. When I return home, I will finish reviewing all the new anime and adding in one or two more First Impressions posts.
Although I was originally pessimistic over Plastic Memories based on the synopsis and PV, I feel as though it has a strong chance of being my favorite new anime of the season. The charming and lighthearted palate of comedy blends pleasantly with the heavier, melancholy scenes, satisfying my appetite for an entertaining and endearing anime. The two outlooks of this anime complement each other, helping to alleviate the depressing moods with soft jokes and assisting in the humor by adding some weight or significance to the setting. Really, I am impressed with the presentation of the main themes of this anime and am excited to see where it goes. The one deficiency I have with this anime is that the characters seem rather plain and mediocre outside Isla. Not only does this demoralized robot carry the story, but she’s also the most amusing character, too. What will take this anime to the next level is how it manages to improve its cast and how well it develops Isla’s character beyond being discouraged and anxious. If it manages to do so, this could end up being one of my favorites of the year. If not, it should end up being a solid anime to watch for Spring 2015.
Owari no Seraph (Seraph of the End)
I’ll admit that I am impressed with the first episode of Seraph, but only the first episode at this point. Based on my knowledge of the series, and what I’ve gathered from the next episode preview, the flashback is over and everything from here on out is at the end of a timeskip. Yuuichirou is now enrolled at some school and… I don’t really need to continue, do I? I am treating the first episode as a foundation for the series to build off of, but unfortunately, that series seems to be at a school where he hunts vampires with his katana. So… I can’t really judge the heart of the series until I see how the school setting goes, so it’ll be another episode before I can decide. What is encouraging about this anime are the aesthetics and animation, both among the best this season. The painted backgrounds are remarkable details for an anime of this caliber, and a memorable positive for an anime like this. The characters and story didn’t really leave a lasting impression with me, which does not bode well now that the flashback is over, but I believe the directing covered for the weaknesses in the content with this first episode since it could’ve easily been boring and bland otherwise. Really, I feel mixed about this series at this point, which is better than I expected, so it’ll take another episode or two before I can decide whether to keep or drop Owari no Seraph.
Shokugeki no Souma (Food Wars)
I expected Shokugeki no Souma to be subpar before I watched it, so I wasn’t prepare for the anime to take an immediate nosedive before the first scene concluded. Every food-induced orgasm scene was bad. Like, the worst. And like, that’s it. Without those scenes, Shokugeki no Souma isn’t much more than shounen fighting clichés with foods and ecchi eating scenes instead of superpowers and interesting fights. I will admit that there is some thought and detail into the culinary science of the dishes, such as the scene with the bacon-wrapped potato dish was served, but otherwise, this anime has nothing for me.
I really want to like Re-Kan!, but I just can’t. The anime is just too low of a quality for me to enjoy. Just… everything about the anime seems deficient. The main character, Hibiki, is just too nice and innocent that she comes across as flavorless and unexciting. Narumi is only slightly better, but her personality breaks at the first hint of a ghost, meaning that she breaks down in every scene. The story might be interesting, but the writing and dialogue in each scene was too straightforward and simple. The humor, outside of the perverted cat that always wanted to look at their panties, was weak, and the perverted cat that always wanted to look at their panties was absolutely the worst. The art and animation was very basic – maybe even a little too basic – but the CGI background were a nice touch, though it did make it feel like the characters were out of place in full-body shots. Really, there’s nothing terrible about this anime (outside the cat), but there’s nothing great about this anime either. I can’t really find a reason in continuing to watch this, so I guess I’m done with Re-Kan! for now.
Gunslinger Stratos has a fascinating idea and an appealing setting, but it lacks the execution and quality to convey these aspects properly, thus leaving the anime to be poor in just about everything. There’s no putting it nicely, the character art of the anime is just bad, even becoming a distraction as early as the first school scene. The animation wasn’t much better, but that isn’t necessarily saying much given the quality of the art in the first place. I still enjoy the idea of the doppelgangers from an alternate reality fighting against the present one, but the characters were never interesting enough to make me care about them or their issue. Maybe, once the cast expands, I’d find someone I like, but I doubt it at this point given the characters shown at the battle at the end. And that art… wow. For a first episode, that was the quality of the art? That leaves me with a haunting question, how bad will it become as the season progresses? I’d love to find out, but there is no way I’m watching another episode of Gunslinger Stratos.