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Happy New Year! Did you have a good one? That’s nice. Mine was alright.

So how about that autumn season, eh? There was some alright anime in there. Parasyte has been excellent. Mushishi Zoku Shou was predictably breathtaking. Happiness Charge Precure! had some great episodes. Shirobako has been equal parts informative and surprisingly engaging/fuck Tarou. Garo has been unexpectedly great. Shingeki no Bahamut is pretty good – I’ve fallen behind on it though, and hear the ending is insane. Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso keeps being powerful. All in all – pretty solid. Some disappointments, some utter crap, but I’ve avoided the worst of it.

Red, orange, green, I'm sure you know what they mean

Red, orange, green, I’m sure you know what they mean

I’ve seen some people pegging the upcoming winter season as “the season of sequels”, because holy crap there are a ton. Some people knew were coming. Some that people wanted to happen. Some no-one ever thought would happen. Some that no-one knows why they’re coming. But: a lot. Helps make deciding what to pick up a lot simpler.

Without further ado, here’s what I’ll be picking up for the first season of 2015!

  • Ansatsu Kyoushitsu
  • Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love!
  • Death Parade
  • Durarara!!x2 Shou
  • Go! Princess Precure
  • JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders 2nd Season
  • Junketsu no Maria
  • Kamisama Hajimemashita◎
  • Koufuku Graffiti
  • Rolling☆Girls
  • Yuri Kuma Arashi

And as ever, some thoughts on them going in:

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Amagi Brilliant Park

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KyoAni! But there was something a bit different from my usual KyoAni excitement for Amagi Brilliant Park – the author of the light novel that this is adapted from also wrote Full Metal Panic!, and the director of KyoAni’s Full Metal Panic! adaptations also directed this! Now, Full Metal Panic! is one of the very few KyoAni series I haven’t watched, but I’ve heard a lot of good things even from people who don’t particularly enjoy KyoAni’s regular output – hell, they ended up quite excited for Amagi Brilliant Park as well! Naturally, this got looking forward to it too.

Amagi Brilliant Park revolves around the failing eponymous theme park, and the efforts of one Seiya Kanie to reinvigorate the public’s interest and draw in 500,000 visitors before July 31st, lest the park be closed down. Also fairies and magic are involved.

I keep wanting to call this series "Amazing Brilliant Park" for some reason

I keep wanting to call this series “Amazing Brilliant Park” for some reason

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TRIGGER comfortably proved themselves with their inaugural TV series, Kill la Kill, easing concerns that they may not be able to live up to the legacy they were taking from GAINAX as well as setting up a lot of anticipation for any of their future work. And didn’t we feel surprised – and a little blessed – when it was announced they had another show in the works for the end of 2014! It seemed so soon, although in retrospect expecting a greater than year-long gap between shows was kind of silly from a business perspective, but we were all grateful regardless.

Even more so when you consider that their follow up to Kill la Kill is an adaptation of Inou-Battle wa Nichijou-Kei no Nake de (When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace) a high school romantic… comedy… light novel.

Hrrmm.

Going from an incredibly distinctive and original action/nonsense epic to adapting a light novel – one of the most trashy, banal and derivative aspects of otaku fiction – sure is… bold, I guess?

I’m not going to lie, I pretty much had no intention of even picking Inou-Battle wa Nichijou-Kei no Nake de up, but some reasonably positive early reactions combined with TRIGGER led me to biting the bullet. And here we are.

asd

This probably wasn’t meant to happen

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Top 10 Anime of 2014

2014! It’s been quite the year for me, pretty much entirely because I graduated university. I’m like, an adult or something now, it’s horrifying, but it hasn’t stopped me watched my foreign children’s cartoons!

And it’s not been a bad year for anime. Masaaki Yuasa and Shinichiro Watanabe directing TV series, the start of the most popular part of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Mushishi returning after 9 years without the slightest dip in quality, there’s been some pretty notable stuff going on. I can’t say there were any major surprises or new franchises that I feel are going to stand out as classics beyond Kill la Kill and Space Dandy, and the latter is chiefly because of how hard it was pushed on western audiences (not a knock on its quality, of course), but there were still a good clutch of series and films that I enjoyed greatly.

Before I indulge in a stunning display of originality and discuss my top 10 anime of the year, a quick reminder: a series counts as being from 2014 if it ended this year, even if it’s a long runner. Split cours – a single series that has seasonal gaps between chunks of the series – count as whatever year the last cours ended in (hence the exclusion of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, because it technically hasn’t finished yet). Neither of these are strict, but it’s a good enough guide. The edge cases don’t matter because they were never going to be on the list.

With that out of the way, here’s my top 10 anime of 2014!

Happy new year!

Happy new year!

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Denki-gai no Honya-san

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Working!! had a third season announced earlier this year! I absolutely adored the first two seasons, along with the adaptation of the mangaka’s similar work, Servant x Service. The combination of really tight character/workplace comedy and romance between eccentrics works remarkably well, as the two elements feed into each other – the ridiculous characters make for great comedy when stuck in professional settings, it’s likely to involve more than one character forcing them to get closer to each other, and the forced close proximity and cooperation between romantic interests leads to more dumb stuff happening on the job, and so forth – so it’s strange to me that it’s a relatively unexplored setup, especially considering the success of the aforementioned series.

Enter Denki-gai no Honya-san. The synopsis basically bills it as “Working!! in a doujin/manga/general otaku store”, which is mostly accurate. It’s undeniably what the series aims to be. Not that that is a problem – even if it only serves as a fun stopgap before the next season of Working!!, even if it only manages to scratch that itch a little, that would be more than enough. There need to be more series in this vein!

Working hard or hardly working?

Working hard or hardly working? Hyuk hyuk

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I graduated from university this year.

I actually did pretty well. 1st class MEng in Computer Science. I even have a job and everything!

Overall, I’m reasonably satisfied. I made friends, had fun, learned a lot about my chosen area of study and about myself, and generally changed for the better. I left with regrets too, of course. I wish I had joined the rock climbing society. I wish I made more of an effort to go out more. Romance passed me by.

But overall, I’m reasonably satisfied.

Obviously, I miss a lot of it. I miss all my friends there. I miss the city. I miss getting to learn weird esoteric stuff. I don’t miss the omnipresent pressure. I miss the campus.

But I can visit friends, or the city, or the campus. I can read Wikipedia anytime. I don’t feel guilty about not working all the time, which is nice.

What I won’t get to re-experience, though, is my time at the anime society.

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I mentioned in yesterday’s post that Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren was almost everything that I wanted out of a KyoAni romance.

Tamako Love Story actually was.

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It’s everything I wanted it to be. It’s everything Tamako Market should have been. It’s warm, it’s sincere, it’s tender – it’s a film about young love, made with love.

Tamako Love Story delivered on something I’ve been wanting for a long time. In a way, I needed it to come out, although I didn’t realise to what extent until after I watched it. And I’m very, very happy about it.

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