The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics may have very well been the target of international attention in the month of February, but the world was also uniting on another front so that humanity could accomplish one unified goal: beating the first installment(s) of the Pokémon game series.
For Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!?, the initial set-up is rich enough to ensure a long-lasting, harem-imbued, comedic debacle; protagonist Kōtarō may act like having six female companions in his life practically fighting over him is a struggle, but in many other different and outnumbering angles it can be seen as a heaven’s delight.
Going into the first chapter of Stealth Symphony, you can immediately justify its serialization in the magazine; a becoming art-style by illustrator Amano Youichi (original creator of Over Time and former assistant of Hideaki Sorachi, original creator of Gintama) supports the familiar premise of a young boy burdened by a curse that earns him the aggressive scorn of those around him but also grants him a formidable and fate-instilling power.
It’s shows like Barakamon that make me wish I knew a term for the sub-genre to slice-of-life that classifies more with the notion of self-identification through discovering one’s own roots; because if I did, it would be one hell of a useful filter to use when searching for memorable series to watch.
Who would have thought that the man behind such a platonic-ally loving and adrenaline-pumping story of teenage boys and their bicycles could also pen one of the most perverted shows that happened upon this season? For the most part, Majimoji Rurumo is a stark contrast to Watanabe’s YowaPeda, but to be fair, it was its predecessor so it’s more like YowaPeda is a stark contrast to it.
I believe it’s in Tokyo Ghoul that I have seen by far the most visually ambitious production of Studio Pierrot’s ever. With its gorgeous and diverse color palette, emphasis on both art quality and art style, vigorous animation (that makes sandwich-eating, milk-drinking, cola-chugging and tube-sucking look like a heavy accomplishment), and scenic shots that are among the best depictions of an urban night-life in Japan I’ve seen in all animation, the show establishes a tremendously effective atmosphere for itself. And if any genre has an explicit and demanding need for proper atmosphere, it’s got to be horror.
Incredible camera-work to emulate a first-person-view of a high-speed automobile chase, seamless transitions of “lens” focus as if hand-drawn animation is actually a camera-shot process, cultivated in composition, stirringly poetic in nature, and the beautiful return of Galileo Galilei to the anime industry (what’s more, their collaborative work with esteemed composer, arranger and musician Yoko Kanno); Zankyou no Terror is wonderfully outspoken with its credentials.
While I still haven’t the slightest idea as to why and how the fourth Persona game has gotten two television series before any other Persona game has gotten even one (although four does happen to be my favorite number), I have to appreciate A-1 Pictures for coming to the rescue with their own line of work here and their respective standard of visual presentation that comes along with it. I can get that the point of an enhanced remake is suppose to make a game look and feel, well… better, but to take it to this much of an improvement is almost a blessing; hell, I didn’t even know the procedure could transition to the game’s anime adaptation too.
Space Dandy is a dandy in space. And if you don’t know , now you know. If we count that one time our imbecile crew of Dandy, QT and Meow blew themselves to smithereens, this technically isn’t the first time Space☆Dandy is being reborn, but it should be met with the same general appreciation. You can never really get enough pompadour action in the summertime, after all.
Hamatora ended its first run on television with arguably the greatest plot twist of the year thus far, which itself was a follow-up plot twist to the plot twist before it. And while the show may rely too heavily on these shocking twists and turns and a deceptive amount of dramatic irony to further accentuate that drama for us to really classify it as a hard-hitting mystery, I for one am glad to have it back so soon so it can properly follow-up on just what the hell happened at the end of its first season run.
Just when I thought I’ve seen enough lunacy in the premises of anime series to be de-sensitized to whatever a new season can throw at me, Bakumatsu Rock takes historical bastardization to a whole new level by turning the Shinsengumi, what has been known as an elite and ruthless murder squad historically and a fierce and fearless force of heroes pop culturally, into something pretty much the complete opposite of both, a group of music-slinging pretty-boy singers and dancers.
I’m pretty accustomed to Nitroplus’s track-record of engaging science-fiction narratives, but if I had to imagine the process of DRAMAtical Murder’s conception, it’s like the writers had their earliest ideas of what they wanted it to be and then got trapped in a closet for days on end with nothing to pass the time but Digimon and Jet Set Radio games.
RAIL WARS! is one of those anime series wherein the promotional art can give a very misleading impression of the actual content. When the style of the artist’s rendering is so akin to the general presentation and look of television anime, hopefuls like me tend to over-glorify the sleek and polished look and project it onto our expectations.
If Aldnoah.Zero was a dog and I was an aspiring dog-owner who actually cared about pedigree, then this union would be a theoretical match made in heaven. Director Ei Aoki, newly founded studio TROYCA started by director Ei Aoki, series creator Gen Urobuchi, and music from Yuki Kajiura and Kalafina? Aldnoah.Zero might as well be Fate/Zero’s bastard son who has come to compete with studio Ufotable’s upcoming production of Fate/stay night for the title of true successor (and with a foreknowledge of Fate/stay night’s narrative and the presentation of this premiere episode, I might just be inclined to side with the bastard here).
This summer season has us seeing the return of the gallant Sword Art Online series, and no matter how much controversy it has managed to stockpile since the airing of its first series, studio A-1 Pictures is in full throttle to continue this project as if it’s its most ambitious production ever. Hence, gallant. With the mainstream status the first Sword Art Online series achieved, there’s almost no way to not stand on one preferential side or the other here, so I figure it best to assert my inclination first off.
There’s something somewhat inexplicably likable about studio Xebec’s productions for me. While, I can’t even put the name of a series to the studio right off the bat, it feels like there’s something to be anticipated from its projects every season it shows its presence. With Shirogane no Ishi Argevollen, I think I can justify that gut feeling on account of a very familiar mecha story-telling and art style; it almost feels like I’m a ten year old boy waking up in the early morning to watch Zoids again.
Glasslip is ambitious and aesthetic in its ambient story-telling from the get-go, introducing its cast of six main characters within the first two minutes (though four out of six of them only getting so much as a simple still-shot with their name overlaid as a caption) in a montage of events opening up to an exciting fireworks festival scene, of which the episode itself is named after.
It’s a very toned-down and casual story Locodol has got; and oddly enough, what I consider to be the essence of 4-koma comic-strips, the quick-witted comedy, seems to be completely deconstructed here as we focus on a much more quaint narrative of true ambition from our characters and not just your run-of-the-mill students joining the typical blow-off club to make minimal whimsy out of an otherwise haplessly monotonous life. That being said, while Locodol may have more ambition than the fishes of the 4-koma pool, it certainly pales in comparison to the much larger pool, where most anime series abide.