19 CommentsMonthly Roundups / By Scamp /

January 2014 roundup

Kill la Kill - 16 - Large 20It really was high time I started including the year in these monthly roundups. I’ve been doing them since 2009, albeit in a slightly different format back then, so that means there’s been many different January Roundups. Some January’s have been better than others. Some had Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood still airing. Others had to do with Rio Rainbow Gate. I’m glad we live in a world where both can co-exist peacefully.

What’s Hot

Scamp: Ghost in the Shell Arise

Ghost in the Shell ARISE - 02 - Large 049

The best thing I watched this month was the Code Geass OVA, but I already wrote about that. Instead I’ll cover the other second episode of an OVA from an established franchise with a different writing team behind it that still keeps the spirit of the original intact. The second episode of Arise was a big improvement on the first. Partly because it had fantastic action sequences, with the Logicoma proving once again that CG mecha are the future and anyone holding onto 2D mecha are old and smelly. That spider robot doing its best audition for Attack on Titan’s survey corps flying around these giant city highways in this fantastic car chase sequence was brilliant. More importantly though, I could actually follow the story this time, which wasn’t really the case for the last episode. They’re building up a neat little story with these episodes and I’m really interested to see if it holds together for the next two episodes.

Shinmaru: Hunter x Hunter

Hunter X Hunter - 114 - Large 19

It’s been a while since a series has so clearly been the best thing I am watching from week to week. (Though Samurai Flamenco is creeping up there. YEAH, I SAID IT.) Hunter x Hunter has slowly, steadily built toward this final assault on the Chimera Ant King and his Royal Guard. Several layers have been placed: the personalities of all parties involved, their thought processes and particular movements, their ambitions, etc. All these moving parts set up and colliding in this huge puzzle that goes to hell almost immediately. The way Hunter x Hunter has deftly unfolded the scenario by moving back and forth in time and heightening the tension and adrenaline to ridiculous levels has made the battles so exciting. The animators have brought their A-game this month, as well. There have been some cool art shifts at key moments that have heightened the experience. Having this show be around for more than two years has been a pleasure.

Inushinde: Imocho

imocho-0306

I feel that this needs plenty of justifying, especially considering that I don’t enjoy the actual show. For all of its piss antics, gratuitous crotch shots, and weekly molestation, the ED manages to justify Imocho’s existence by being the most inexplicably disturbing minute and a half of the season. It isn’t that the ED by itself is great, though, otherwise it wouldn’t be worth putting here. It’s that no matter what kind of dramatic turn the series might take, it will always be ended by a mascot schoolgirl doing terrifying things. It’s a not so silent protest of the absolute dreck that precedes it, instantly nullifying any piss shenanigans. I’ll probably end up dropping Imocho at some point, so I felt that I had to give credit where credit was due. Imocho proves that anything can be made better by shitty denpa and existential terror.

What’s not so Hot

Scamp: Nobunagun

Nobunagun - 03-12[2]

I think think OP is a good symbol for Nobunagun. At first I saw it and thought “oh snap, something different presented in an interesting fashion”. A heavy metal OP made a nice change of pace from endless jpop. But then I watch it some more and realise the actual animation in the OP is the same you see in every anime OP ever just with different colours and I realise that while heavy metal makes a change from jpop, it’s not actually good heavy metal. For all its eccentric presentation style, Nobunagun is remarkably stale. The formula is really rote. Normal girl gets magical power, rejects power originally, then goes through training, then first real battle. There’s so little done to spice things up, and what they do change comes off poorly. Perving on the clones was just outright creepy and made me uncomfortable, and all the dialogue is pretty bland. As much as I like shifting colours, they do so little with the framing of shots to make them more exciting and dynamic. It’s a layer of poorly applied polka-dot wallpaper over something that ultimately isn’t that interesting anyway.

Shinmaru: Nobunaga the Fool

Nobunaga the Fool - 03 - Large 04

A double dose of Nobunaga! I’m sure y’all have noted by now that I love dumb shit. (Of course, I wouldn’t be an anime fan if I didn’t like dumb stuff, but I digress.) I generally like things that Macross creator Shoji Kawamori dips his fingers in. Whatever one can say about the man, he certainly has a flair for the ridiculous and bombastic while keeping characters likable enough that the viewer can stick with them in these crazy worlds. With Nobunaga, however, I wasn’t feeling the craziness beyond, of course, tuba-toting Leonardo da Vinci voiced by Tomokazu Sugita. It’s a mishmash of historical figures with generic anime personalities in a setting that is somehow both absurd and boring. It’s dumb, but it’s the genuinely dumb kind of dumb and not the fun kind of dumb. Maybe it gets more enjoyable weird (I dropped it after the second episode), but this season I just don’t have the time or patience to wait and see.

Inushinde: Wake Up, Girls!

wug_1_3

Did you know that the entertainment industry has a tendency to be crass and exploitative? Yamakan sure does. Did you also know that it isn’t all sleazy reporters, indoctrinating dance instructors, and obessive fans, and that many people involved work with each other to create a supportive, mutually beneficial environment? Yamakan sure doesn’t. Wake Up, Girls is annoyingly cynical, while lacking the writing to come across as anything but heavy-handed in its approach. The shaky art and characters constantly try to out-bland each other, and it’s difficult to pinpoint what it’s trying to do without assistance, which is helpfully provided by stupidly villainous, sleazy creeps in each episode. I wouldn’t say that it’s atrocious to the point of being unwatchable, and the main girls are at least somewhat sympathetic, but it says everything when girls with idol ambitions literally recite a pledge to be mindless puppets.

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19 Comments

  1. Nagisa33
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Silver Spoon, Sekai Seifuku, Kill la Kill, and finally Hajime no Ippo (1st season) are really what I’m digging at the moment. Besides that I’m loving Fire Emblem Awakening with its solid story and equally solid characters.

    I gave Tonari no Seki-kun a shot and while it was funny at parts, it wasn’t really my cup of tea. I’m not watching Nisekoi anymore as well. The Shaftiness is what I really enjoyed, not the story, the characters, or the high school setting.

    Also, I just finished Non Non Biyori and I loved it. I wish I saw it last season, week by week, as I ate it up in a few days. After each episode I had a warm, relaxed smile on my face. I felt nostalgic, remembering my childhood with my brother. Some aspects of this show mirrored what I experienced as a kid. For example, they played with those toy planes just as we did. We used to get some from our dentist and throw them from our front lawn. The show was about appreciating the beauty of nature, family, and the little things in life. From now on I shouldn’t waffle on a show and just take a chance. I could have missed out on this wonderful experience. To those of you who recommended it, thank you.

    • Posted February 1, 2014 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

      Sadly as an only child I can never link myself with sibling relations in fiction. Then again I was an illogical defunct “little terrorist” with aspergers syndrome so that might actually be a good thing.

    • Shikamaru
      Posted February 1, 2014 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

      Good that you enjoyed Non Non Biyori. I also had this really nice smile after every single episode. I really hope they make second season at some point. I miss the characters and their antics already.

    • Scamp
      Posted February 2, 2014 at 12:17 am | Permalink

      Man really? Fire Emblem Awakening’s story? I thought it was absolutely awful! I like the game but maaaan was the story garbage all around.

      • Nagisa33
        Posted February 2, 2014 at 1:15 am | Permalink

        I believe I’m roughly 1/3 of the way through. So far so good. Now I’m a bit nervous but I guess I’ll see what happens.

        Which game or game series do you think has solid storytelling (besides Mass Effect)?

      • Scamp
        Posted February 2, 2014 at 9:48 am | Permalink

        Portal, The Walking Dead…ummm, that’s about it. Admittedly I don’t play many games and a lot of games I do play are strategy so they don’t have story.

      • majorg
        Posted February 3, 2014 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

        Have you tried the phoenix wright ace attorney games? They have a really good story.

  2. Posted February 1, 2014 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t seen the latest episode of Nobunagun but it is depressing to hear how little they are doing with the ridiculously exciting and fun concept given. Also the opening song does not fit at all with the animation, which is why I dislike it. The synchronization is what matters the most in my opinion.

    • Scamp
      Posted February 2, 2014 at 12:18 am | Permalink

      It’s not even like the show deserves a heavy metal OP. It’s not a metal enough show.

    • Posted February 2, 2014 at 4:05 am | Permalink

      The song is terrible regardless of synching or not. I find the whole metal genre obnoxious to begin with, but that song just sucks.

  3. Shikamaru
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    What’s Hot: Sakura Trick

    Moe and yuri are my two great weaknesses and this anime combines those two perfectly. This is the kind of fanservice that I enjoy, no nudity and no pantyshots. I have tried to find a good yuri anime long time but there really isn’t any. Most yuri anime barely have any yuri in them or they are otherwise really bad. This anime is also so fucking cute. I’m literally squealing like a little girl while watching this.

    What’s not so Hot: Nobunagun

    This turned really generic really fast. It’s just meh.

    Engaged to the Unidentified has been really good as well. Mashiro is really fun character to watch and the anime is really cute so that’s a good thing for me.

    Then there is The Pilot’s Love Song which had my favourite first episode. It’s still really good but the revelation at the end of episode 4 will probably ruin the series. I didn’t like it, but at least it hasn’t turned to crap yet.

  4. Nagisa33
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    What are your guys thoughts on Space Dandy? After 4 episodes, I dropped it. I wasn’t laughing, the lead was a bum, and I was bored of the cheesy antics.

    • Shinmaru
      Posted February 1, 2014 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

      I have the opposite feelings. It’s been making me laugh more with each episode. I almost wrote about it here, but I wanted to highlight Hunter x Hunter just a bit more.

      • Nagisa33
        Posted February 3, 2014 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

        I decided to give it another go for episode 5 and I enjoyed it a whole lot. I was too quick to judge this one it seems.

    • Scamp
      Posted February 1, 2014 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

      I’m with Shinmaru. Wasn’t in love at the start but it’s gotten so much better. Episode 4 in particular was genius.

    • Posted February 2, 2014 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      It’s really pulling itself together. Not enough to make it one of the highlights of the season, but definitely worth watching.

  5. Erif
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    What I’m loving: Space Dandy, Silver Spoon, World Conquest, Kill la Kill

    What I’m liking: Noragami, Samurai Flamenco, Nobunagun.

    What I’m not so sure about: Pilot’s Love Song, Nagi-Asu (i should prolly out if I like that show at this point lol).

  6. Someone Else
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    I was actually confused if I should put kill la kill in what’s good and not so good. The ups and downs of the show is too extreme and I can never chose to stay in between

  7. jherb33
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    love: yowamushi pedal, space dandy, kill la kill,
    like: buddy complex, golden time, strike the blood, d-frag, nisekoi,
    hate: nobunagan, hamatora, tokyo ravens,
    undecided: noragami, sekai seifuku bouryaku no zvezda, samurai flamenco,
    haven’t watched yet: log horizon, nagi no asukara, silver spoon, toaru hikuushi e no koiuta,
    upcoming spring anime i’mexcited about: captain earth, black bullet, knights of sidonia, kagerou project, baby steps, psycho pass season 2,

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