Given the results from this post and the information from the last two First Impressions posts, I can safely say that Spring 2015 will be the smallest season in terms of anime for me since… maybe Spring 2009? It’s been a while since under 10 anime in a season, and depending on whether I keep Mikagura and Yamada-kun, I’m likely to be at or under 10 TV anime for this season. I’ve been close a few times, with 11 or 12 TV anime in a season, but it feels weird to be at this low of a number for a season. Then again, part of the reason why it’s so low is because I have less time to watch and write about anime than any other year, as evident by the number of posts the last two seasons compared to this time last year, but it still feels odd to only juggle 8 or 9 shows right now. Maybe now I’ll be up to date on my Weekly Anime posts… except I’m already a week behind to start. Oh well.
Ore Monogatari!! (My Love Story!!)
I often default to the opinion ‘romance is my least favorite genre’, but with every new shoujo romance anime I watch, I feel the need to reevaluate this opinion based new information. While it is still true that I don’t enjoy most romance anime, I am frequently finding myself watching shoujo romances like Ore Monogatari!!. Perhaps it’s derived from common traits, such as the perspective, focus, delivery, and writing, but there’s something inherently better, to me, about shoujo romances over non-shoujo romances. And whatever those traits are that I like about romance, Ore Monogatari!! has.
What I enjoy the most about Ore Monogatari!! is the perception and personality of Takeo, a character who is the perfect embodiment of a gentle giant. Often, shoujo romances center around a male lead who is an asshole with one of the central themes being how the female lead tries to change him. Thankfully, the three main characters of Ore Monogatari!! are decent, respectable people for whom you could cheer for each individually and all as a collective whole. I appreciate that. The visuals in Ore Monogatari!! are positives, essentially using the same crew who did Chihayafuru before, but they’re not so powerful or persuasive that you’d watch the anime alone just for that. The school setting is a slight disappointment since it is so prevalent in anime, so hopefully the anime can find something unique to focus on besides a general and boring school life. Overall, Ore Monogatari!! had one of the most impressive first episodes of the season and is easily a keeper for the Spring and Summer anime seasons.
Ninja Slayer From Animation
The spiritual sequel to Inferno Cop, Ninja Slayer from Animation takes Trigger’s own inane genre of still characters in absurd comedies and takes it to a whole new level. The style might be jarring or unnerving or alarming to people who didn’t watch Inferno Cop before, but it’s a style that works extremely well for a comedy of this variety. To me, brainless and silly comedies like this are among the most enjoyable comedies to watch because animation can have a heavy influence on the content and delivery. And naturally, anime are heavily dependent on the art and animation, so Ninja Slayer from Animation can utilize this medium to enhance its humor and amusement to its full advantage. Sure, I wouldn’t mind if it were animated differently or were in another medium (manga or live-action), but having still characters fight each other and explode like this has a special affect to it that you couldn’t properly exploit in any other type of medium. Beyond the comedy and the animation style, I don’t really have much praise elsewhere for Ninja Slayer. That isn’t to say the rest of the anime is bad, but rather, I don’t have a strong opinion yet or enough information to form a strong opinion. But then again, this is a comedy, so it’s not like these other factors have significant weight besides enhancing the comedy or augmenting it with other bonuses. Really, Ninja Slayer from Animation is a keeper because it made me laugh, and I expect it to continue to make me laugh throughout the season.
Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku (Mikagura School Suite)
I often don’t care for anime where one character carries the entire show, but when you have a character as enjoyable, energetic, dynamic, and hilarious as Eruna, I might make an exception. Still, there’s a mighty gap to cover, between the good and the bad, that I’m not sure if Eruna can cover by herself… meaning that I need to see the anime improve with its other cast members or story for me to keep Mikagura. None of the characters come close to Eruna, all feeling flat or one-dimensional in comparison to her vibrant and amusing demeanor. And to make things worse, I’m not sure what the rest of the cast can do to catch up considering they all free like generic, cookie-cutter personalities that will likely remain shallow throughout the series. And that cat… oh, how I hate that cat. I usually side in favor of fighting anime, but school-centric battle anime between clubs with arbitrary rules aren’t my cup of tea, but I need to see one actually occur before I can decide whether I think I’ll enjoy them or not. The first episode did a sufficient job of setting up a foundation for a plot to occur, but I’m not sure if I want to sit around for 12 episodes to see Eruna befriend a girl that she fell in love with after looking at her photo once… in fact, a plot like that seems much, much, much more shallow than any other anime plot in a long, long time. Hopefully the second episode can reverse my opinion on this anime and provide me more reason to watch this anime than Eruna alone, because as it stands, I’m doubtful for keeping Mikagura.
Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo (Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches)
Yamada-kun was better than I expected, but that still might not be enough for me to keep this anime. With the first episode of Yamada-kun, I’ve come to the realization that I tend to enjoy comedy derived from body-swap anime or scenes, with the opening arc of Kokoro Connect being a relevant example. That being said, I’m not sure what else I enjoyed from this anime and what else I would enjoy from a series devoted entirely to this and other forms of magic between its characters. Then again, pretty much the entire episode revolved around Yamada in Shiraishi’s body, and the focus was on comedy more than anything, so I came away happy with that aspect. The voice acting, especially with how they expressed the personalities during the body switch was superb and really gives me high hopes for a quality anime. However, beyond those positives, I don’t see much substance with Yamada-kun, which is the basis for why I am unsure if I’ll continue or not with this series. The characters seem pretty basic, and I’m not sure what type of narrative will occur besides ‘witches’, ‘harem’ and ‘comedy’, but it doesn’t seem to have a plot that entices me. I am curious to see where this continues, but keeping Yamada-kun might depend on how the comedy develops more than the story or its characters.
There are dumb anime and then there are dumb anime… and unfortunately, Punchline is both. It takes a dumb concept that, with the right planning and proper execution, might be something fun, something interesting but no… it doesn’t… it’s just dumb. Maybe the dumbest part of the anime is that it can’t decide whether Yuuta can see panties twice before destroying the world… because he’s done that twice now, destroying all of humanity a couple of times, only to get a second chance two times now. It completely undermines the entire concept of the plot if there are no consequences to him seeing panties; there really is no challenge or conflict when you have an unlimited amount of chances to get your soul back in your body like that. However, that part isn’t the worst thing about Punchline. No, that is reserved for the talking cat ghost thing. I rarely hate an anime character, but that cat is easily, easily the worst thing I’ve seen all year, and it’s not even close. And at about this time, I’d transition over to talk about the good things that were in this first episode of Punchline, but… …I have nothing. I don’t think you can really say anything good about this first episode – it’s just that bad.