14 CommentsMonthly Roundups / By Scamp /

June 2015 Roundup

CJLpQCDWwAAfpReSummer is here. New anime season has rolled up, catching the collective Cart Driver staff completely unaware as we attempt to wake up from our collective crappy season stupor, made even worse by oppressive heat. But wait, before we move onto this new season full of wonder and joy and possibly even some decent anime, we must first return to last season and hand out some arbitrary rewards.

What’s hot

Scamp: Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure

jojoI went into these final batch of Stardust Crusaders thinking I was done. The damage had already happened and I had lost interest. They had simply taken too long to reach this point. No matter how awesome the final battle with Dio might be, my emotional connection to events had been lost. Turns out I was wrong. The final episodes were still amazing. As ridiculous and ass-pully as the final fight may have been, having a villain worth a damn with stakes that felt real breathed life back into the series. The dramatic poses were back and as brilliant as they were before. The shots felt more extreme and twists had more impact. Watching Dio burst out of the sky with a steamroller was as brilliant as it was silly. These episodes were as good as anything the previous seasons of Jojo’s produced. Stardust Crusaders was still at least twice as long as it should have been. The monster of the week formula sucked all my enthusiasm each week as I couldn’t get invested in anything. But these Dio episodes proved Jojo’s still has it when it actually deals in high stakes. Bring on new seasons. Just keep them shorter next time.

Shinmaru: Kuroko’s Basketball

Kuroko no Basuke 3 - 25 - Large 35I feel exactly the opposite about Kurobas after season three as I did after the second season — it ends on an extremely high note after a season of balls to the wall ridiculous superhero basketball. This month’s offerings may have been my favorite yet from this series: two overpowered monster teams raising the stakes ever higher with each second and shot, and the payoff of every friendship and teamwork theme in the show to this point. Seirin temporarily overwhelming Rakuzan with the Direct Drive Zone is the perfect type of fist-pumping bombastic moment that will come to mind when I think of Kurobas. (We’ve come a long way from the first season, where basic things like defense and boxing out for rebounds were mind-blowing!) As much as I’ll miss these characters, this is a fine place to end the show. Pushing even further than this would probably be overkill.

Inushinde: Etotama

52Well Etotama was better than expected. That’s not really glowing praise by itself, since Etotama could have not actually aired, or just been live footage of a cow being slaughtered, and still have been better than expected. But unlike the show on my Nottie portion of this list, Etotama is a Hottie because it makes the most of its ridiculous premise with surprisingly strong comedic timing, and characters with diverse personalities that, while far from relatable, are used to decent effect. Etotama isn’t /good/, especially when it tries to be self aware of its status as a dumb anime, but it still tries, and I found it way more watchable than quite a few shows this season because of that.

What’s not so hot

Scamp: Blood Blockade Battlefront

Kekkai Sensen - 11 - Large 33Oh dear, I suppose this was inevitable. Bones have a history of petering out like this, but it was supposed to be different this time. This was Rie Matsumoto, the director of Kyousogiga, doing an anime original ending! Surely this time it will be different! Except then I remember that actually I had quite a few problems with Kyousogiga which I largely kept quiet on at the time because it was the hipsters favourite and had a lot of originality, and a lot of those problems reappeared with Black and White’s storyline. Episode 11 was the worst. A nice rule for dialogue is that if you could replace each character’s lines with that of any other character in the story and have it make as much sense, then you have written bad dialogue. There was a lot of flowery lines that didn’t really mean anything, nobody actually talking to each other as they instead talked to the camera in metaphors. For all its beauty, the story lost all meaning. It also lost all fun too, which was what Blood Blockade Battlefront had going for it. For as much depth as they tried to cram into these anime original stories, there’s more heart and meaning to the earlier stories about the hamburger eating mushroom and the crazed lady mulching her boyfriend into a fine paste and storing in a pretty man. That’s the tone Blood Blockade should have kept to.

Shinmaru: Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches

Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo - 12 - Large 09I feel kind of bad that I wasn’t totally feeling the final few episodes of Yamada-kun. I’ve enjoyed the show enough through its run — it’s had its funny moments and fun character moments, and even though I’m not totally into the shipping in this series, the Yamada x Shiraishi story is fine. What’s always kept me at arm’s length with this show, however, is how bland the presentation is. The visuals do their job, and it’s not like a comedy absolutely requires a super artful presentation, but I feel like there are parts that could have been more interesting, engaging, and/or funny had it been able to go the extra mile. Like, everyone forgetting their connection with Yamada should be a huge event, but it never quite grabbed me because of that distance between how much I should be caring about the show and how much I actually cared. Yamada-kun was fine and ended on an OK note, but nothing more than that, and it’s a shame.

Inushinde: Plastic Memories

Plastic Memories - 13 - Large 30I think I might be the only person on the face of the earth who got invested enough in Plastic Memories to be equal parts frustrated and fascinated by it, to the extent that talking about it has comprised roughly 30% of my tweets since it started airing. I don’t mean that I’ve been invested in the plot, which was about as dynamic and unpredictable as a particularly slothful rock, but that I wanted to see to what degree the show would sideline its 70’s American Sci-Fi Hodgepodge premise in favor of generic tragic romance. Though it ends the romance on a fairly strong note, it never treated its setting as anything more than set-dressing for a dude getting with a terminally ill girl. So much of Plastic Memories is wasted, both in terms of setting and actual content, that it’s an incredibly frustrating disappointment.

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14 Comments

  1. Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always thought the ridiculous side-story parts of BBB a.k.a the Nightow parts a.k.a the Actual Manga parts were much better than the Matsumoto sibling story stuff. And I say that as a massive fan of Kyousougiga. Nice to see I’m not alone there! As such, I don’t think BBB has had a bad month but rather a weak episode, which is a shame because it’s the Climax and that’s the most important thing to get right. The episode beforehand, where Leo and Zapp travelled around town searching for restaurants and hazing the new guy was still pretty great! Hopefully the actual finale brings back the everybody else, and remembers to be fun and silly.

    And yeah, Shinmaru’s pretty much on the money about Yamada-kun. And please allow me to be That Guy so I can tell you that the problems you’ve mentioned are most entirely as a result of the adaptation, and the manga is better! This is what happens when you make a 12-episode anime using 24 episodes (and that’d still be compressing things a bit) worth of material…

    • Ibri
      Posted July 7, 2015 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      Yeah the adapted part is 80-90 chapters long in the manga.

      • Shinmaru
        Posted July 7, 2015 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        80-90 chapters?! Holy shit.

  2. D1360EX
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    Jesus Christ this has been the worst season in recent memory since Summer 2014:
    Houkago no Pleiades: The biggest pile of bullshit in this show was a part during the ending where the girls talked about the traits they admired in each other, which is horseshit because the characters have no unique traits or personalities. Plus again the morals they started shoving came out of
    nowhere and were way better done in Gurren Lagann. When the best part of your show are the eyecatches you know you made a boring, unengaging show. 0/4

    Punch Line: The characters in this show suffer from the same problem that the Rolling girls had in that they are boring and seem more like plot devices. Nothing wrong with making a show based on its plot instead of characters, but they focused too much on the shitty characters if they wanted to focus on the plot. Plus again, you don’t parody fanservice by showing fanservice and have the character destroy the world. 999/VLR fans don’t care much for fanservice and fanservice fans don’t care about a time-travelling plot with gamey rules and the drama between the antagonist and 2 protagonists. The end episodes were kind of good, but I had no emotional attachment to anybody, at least the plot was simpler to follow once they stopped putting dumb gamey rules about what ghosts can and can’t do. 1/4

    Danmachi: While Bell is a much better character in that he’s tolerable, cute, and has a semblance of a personality compared to Tatsuya and Kirito and actually has to start from 0. Bell still suffers from being shilled to hell by other characters, most other males exist just to be pricks to him and towards women, (unlike Bell) and he has Plot breaking convinience based skills and equipment. The series at least manages the fanservice pretty tolerable (Barely if never using the KYAA pervert stuff) compared to other Light Novels, and there’s no awful Tsundere and meta humor. I know Light novel fans say Bell’s works harder and has more help and the setting is actually explained, but it’s a step up from SAO and its spawn, but it’s still a wanky gamer fantasy. 1/4

    Hibike Euphonium: Would’ve been a great show if KyoAni didn’t yuribait like the thirstiest lesbian ever. The shipping stuff just became a fucking disaster that ended up hurting the show. If they continue the show the romance aspect will either have to be removed, changed or it will come off as the biggest ass pull ever. By the way KyoAni should make an anime co-produced by J.C. Staff that’s a Yuri Shoujo series. Scamp would love it. 2/4

    Owari no Seraph: Oh boy, a shitty twist at the last moment, dumb vampires too busy lifting guys up and massaging their necks instead of killing them
    and turning the only good character into Love Interest. 1/4

    Plastic Memories: Should’ve been more like Planetes, with a strong force making the Terminal service band together and sure have romance between the leads, but don’t focus on it. Episode 11 was a waste of time, energy and money for humanity. 1/4

    JoJo: Great Episode, great series, Stardust Crusaders is wonky and Scamp is being oversensitive as usual, but I think it captures the Adventures part of the series the best. Stands are a great idea, fights are better than Part 1 and 2, characters other than JoJo can actually fight and do stuff and the animation and character designs are better. 4/4

    Kekkai Sensen: This show hasn’t finished yet, so I can’t comment on it. Also come on, Scamp the God of Chow should save it from being not so hot. 3/4

    • Ramiel
      Posted July 7, 2015 at 5:48 am | Permalink

      Crappy season for you, probably because you picked a bunch of crappy shows to watch in the first place. Like all the ones you hated I pretty much wrote off right off the bat.

      Also, I think you focused waaayy to much on the Yuri with Hibike. You got too caught up on that and let it distract you from the other parts of the show.

      • D1360EX
        Posted July 7, 2015 at 7:58 am | Permalink

        To be fair the shows that are still airing (Monogatari, Arslan, Ninja Slayer, Precure) are pretty good, but again, they haven’t finished, so I didn’t include them. I always choose the series form the season and stick with them, so I got unlucky and just watched piles of garbage, at least it lets me appreciate the good stuff.

        I only included Seraph because its not airing episodes now. Fortunately, what I’ve seen of summer it’s way better, I also disliked half the shows from the first episode. Euphonium’s yuri bait was distracting and unnecessary, especially if they continue it and stick to the novels more closely. Again just make a yuri show KyoAni, it shows that you want to make one.

  3. TheVoid
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    BBB doesn’t have an anime original ending because the series has always been episodic in both manga and anime, so the story can continue on if they ever want a season 2. Plus Nightow helped work on the anime as well including making Black and Whites story so it could always be brought up in the manga at some point in time.

    Yamada-kun needed more episodes especially for the end part. The speediness of the beginning was fine and worked, but it didn’t work out as well as it continued. Miyamura however will continue to be the best character in Yamada-kun.

  4. PapaGreg
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    Oh yeah speaking of Jojo Johnathan is gonna be voiced by Bosch in a british accent and Joseph is gonna be voiced by Number One from KND

  5. Ken
    Posted July 7, 2015 at 5:08 am | Permalink

    What I enjoyed the past season was:

    GITS Arise, because I love anything GITS.
    Sidonia Season 2, because Tsumugi is a fantastic whatever.
    Ore Monogatari!, because it makes me smile.
    Grisaia no Rakuen, as this seasons best hate watch.
    Most of all Hibike Euphonium.

    Euphonium sold me in every way and I really want the story to continue.

  6. Posted July 7, 2015 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    My thoughts are eerily similar to yours in the way BBB’s dialogue felt interchangeable, only for me it was in the quips and witty one-liners rather than the dramatic beats. Hardly Buffy the Vampire Slayer levels of bad, but it bothered me a few times per episode.

    But onto the big question: what do you think Oberstein’s favourite show of the season would be?

    I’m going with Nagato Yuki-chan

    • Shinmaru
      Posted July 7, 2015 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      I’m still mad as hell that Nagato Yuki-chan started a good arc just as my patience finally broke and I decided to drop it.

      • Posted July 7, 2015 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

        Tut tut tut

        You clearly weren’t thinking about the bigger picture. You know who was?

        Oberstein.

        (dropped the show after episode 1 and never looked back).

  7. Posted July 8, 2015 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Hell ya Etotama! I liked that one and it was a huge surprise even though Nyan-chan got to be quite annoying in some episodes, but it was good stuff.

    Blood Blockade Battlefront: That was my number one of the last season! It has a great world filled with hilarious characters and I hope that gets another season depending on that final episode.

    Plastic Memories: WORST THING EVER! WTF was that even? I wanted more scifi less humans wanting to get it on with robots, but the romance was alright even though the whole Giftia having a short life span screamed forced drama for me.

  8. Nagisa33
    Posted July 12, 2015 at 3:39 am | Permalink

    With the recent season I watched very little but what I did watch I loved.

    -FSN: Unlimited Blade Works:
    First things first, this series is gorgeous, the animation is silky smooth, and it has top-notch action scenes. I was blown away by the spectacle of the fights. (Thanks Ufotable!) Besides the stellar presentation, I enjoyed the characters a great deal, especially Shirou. It’s interesting seeing such a stubborn character have their ideal chipped away, reevaluate their ideal, and change as a result. As for the legendary heroes and masters, I enjoyed seeing the sparks fly as their respective personalities and ideals clashed. Another aspect I appreciated is the way magic is used in this series. The characters are granted power, which coincides with their legend or ideal, and are out to prove themselves but there’s a mystic presence that’s pulling the strings behind the events. Unlimited Blade Works is what I was looking forward the most to each week and I finished it feeling satisfied yet also curious. I spent a good amount of time looking the types of magic in this universe and the legends of the heroes.

    -Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade
    Yup! Little Witch Academia 2 was simply fun. I loved that it was overflowing with wacky faces and the new characters were a nice addition, the dancer being my favorite. Many little touches made me smile such as the hungry girl used magic to get bigger and how Sucy used strange magical mushroom spells. Also, I found myself pausing every so often to look at the details in the background such as a gameboy and the posters. The amount of care, the little details, and the delightful music made it worthwhile. It was bursting with color and energy and it swept me up in the excitement. I’m glad it delivered and I hope I’ll see more of Little Witch Academia in the future.

    BBB: So far it’s blended comedy and drama exceptionally well and the level of detail is exceptional. I’m looking forward to that final episode and I hope it sticks the landing. Either way, it’s been a blast.

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