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Archive for the ‘Fall 2014’ Category

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For those of us who have watched Nodame Cantabile there’s a shared sense of despair that there will never be more, despite the existence of as-yet unadapted manga content. We fell in love with Noda and Chiaki as their unconventional, classical-music backed relationship grew over the years, so it’s understandable that Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso would draw our attention come the autumn 2014 season.

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso – or Your Lie in April – positions itself similarly to Nodame Cantabile, being broadly about romance between classical musicians, with key differences. The characters are substantially younger – middle-school aged, as opposed to being university freshmen – and tragedy and drama play a central role in the narrative. Indeed, the initial premise is that Arima Kousei – a young piano prodigy – had a mental breakdown during a recital after his mother passed away that left him unable to hear his own playing. By the time the series begins, he hasn’t played for two years. He’s depressed and numb – albeit comfortable, in a quiet sort of way with his friends – and this threatened to remain the case had he not met Miyazono Kaori, a free-spirited violinist who takes it upon herself to pull him back into music.

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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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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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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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So this post is a bit late! I haven’t had internet for the past month and a half (I moved, and thanks to the combination of ISP miscommunication and sheer bad luck I got screeeeeewed) so I haven’t really been able to keep on top of, well, anything. This does make this post a bit more interesting for me though, as I’ve already seen some of the reactions to the stuff that’s been airing. And it’s definitely affecting my pickups… a little bit. Not hugely, because I haven’t been following that closely, but there’s one or two things extra I’ll be looking at.

As for the summer… I still haven’t finished it. Between having few chances to download anything and the depressed listlessness that came with the utter boredom of having nothing to do outside of work I just couldn’t really get through anything at a decent pace. I intend to finish off the season before I start this one, so fuck me is this an endless backlog. Reviews are coming too – wanted to take the summer off to not worry about anything having just graduated, and I just couldn’t think of much to say about the spring season.

Summer has been pretty good though! Some of the best anime to come out this year, both from new series and continuing ones! It has been a Good Time. Aside from having no internet at the end of it…

Green = hooray, Orange = hoomay(be), Red = hoonay

Green = hooray, Orange = hoomay(be), Red = hoonay

  • Terra Formars
  • Dekigai no Honya-san
  • Garo: Honoo no Kokuin
  • Donten ni Warau
  • Magic Kaito 1412
  • World Trigger
  • Nanatsu no Taizai
  • Amagi Brilliant Park
  • Shingeki no Bahamut GENESIS
  • Yowamushi Pedal GRANDE ROAD
  • Parasyte
  • Psycho-Pass 2
  • SHIROBAKO
  • Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso
  • Sankzoku no Musuma Ronja
  • Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru
  • Mushishi Zoku-Shou Second Season

Thoughts, I guess: (more…)

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