25 CommentsMonthly Roundups / By Scamp /

May 2015 Roundup

Arslan Senki - 08 - Large 15Another month, another season slowly fizzles away as almost everything turns out to be poop on a stick. Which is the case each season, but hey at least there are some anime worth talking about. And if not…well we can just talk about something that aired previously because fuck trying to find something from this season. Hey I did that last month with Code Geass and would have probably done it again if not for one show.

What’s Hot

Scamp: Blood Blockade Battlefront

Kekkai Sensen - 08 - Large 06While I was still a bit unsure about BBB after the opening month, this month kicked things off with one of the best episodes I’ve seen in anime all year and only continued that form from then on. A crazy lady decides that this dude for whom she loves the personality of doesn’t have a pretty enough body, so she turns him into a smoothie, picks up some random attractive dude and pumps the smoothy of her ideal man into this attractive body. The whole episode was just marvelous fun from start to finish. But it kept on going to, from burger scoffing amnesiac mushrooms to cage fighting exploding heads to heat signals coming from the crotch, it just kept up this form. It’s the structure of Bebop with the tone of Baccano complete with the visual style of…well, a bit of Kyousogiga but still very much its own thing. In a season that has otherwise been a complete wash, BBB is a wonderful ray of brilliance in amongst all the trash.

Shinmaru: Sound! Euphonium

Hibike! Euphonium - 08 - Large 02I tried pretty hard to come up with a different anime for this month; problem is, I just didn’t enjoy anything else to degree which I am enjoying Euphonium. It seems like every moment of this series adds some new nuance to a character or relationship that makes them all the more compelling. It’s not a bunch of generic high school character types coming together to triumph at a musical contest (which could still be fun in its own right, mind); rather, there’s a clear understanding of who many of these kids are as people, how their personalities work and mesh with each other, and why they do what they do. Contrary to my entry in the “what’s not” portion of this post, I could watch these characters do whatever the hell they want and probably be interested, because so many of them are so well realized.

And, yeah, I can’t go without bringing up Reina and Kumiko’s jaunt in episode 8. It’s such a perfect way to release the tension those two. They operated on a level of frankness, playfulness, and intensity that was god damn delightful to see. Combining that verbal pleasure with this show’s gorgeous visuals? I’m not sure how any of us deserves this, but I won’t complain.

Inushinde: Koufuku Graffiti

Koufuku Graffiti - 10 - Large 02Yes, it’s a show from last season, and no, I’m not finished, but it’s the only thing that I’m currently watching that I’m enjoying, actually semi-caught up on, and haven’t mentioned before as being actually good. And hey, I would be completely caught up if it were airing this season, since I’m around eight episodes in, so that hopefully counts for something. But there’s more that qualifies this show beyond just being alright and something that I’m current-ish with. Cute Shaft girls eating things is one of my favorite genres, and this show is a proud continuation of that noble tradition that contextualizes it as a means of bonding, and not just a way of filling time. It’s a small thing, but it’s good enough thing for a SLife show. Sure, let’s go with that.

What’s not so Hot

Scamp: Ore Monogatari

Ore Monogatari - 06 - Large 15They spent two whole episodes on the girl being worried about being considered too lewd because she wanted to hold hands.

I hate anime.

Shinmaru: The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan

Yuki-chan-7-9I’m not sure how adding Haruhi Suzumiya to the mix made the show MORE boring, but it happened somehow. There are certainly good moments in the show: Haruhi briefly experiencing what it’s like to get dragged along to something by another person, Itsuki pushing Kyon’s buttons (always a good time), Kyon and Yuki sometimes being cute together, etc. But I just don’t like these versions of the characters enough to stay interested when they’re just hanging out, taking baths, playing cards, and everything else they do. Their interactions just don’t have the same spark, or even a different enough but still engaging spark. The various faces in the show are of course top-tier, but luckily for me I follow plenty of folks on Twitter who are only too happy to flood my timeline with Yuki-chan faces. I can get what I want without watching the show. What a novelty!

Inushinde: Plastic Memories

Plastic Memories - 08 - Large 10Plastic Memories is one of those horrendously frustrating shows that could be good with very little effort, but manages to misplace effort in a way that makes it boring. It has so much going for it: An android being constantly reminded of her own mortality through her job, that job being morally kind of fucked, and a lead who obtained his position solely through nepotism and the insecurities that could arise. It paints the world with all kinds of colorful strokes, and the show decides to focus on the duller colors of character interaction and shiny hair. There’s nothing particularly offensive, but that total lack of risk is quite damning in the interest department. At the end of the day, it took me twenty minutes to think of something that I’m currently watching that I find worth extolling. It took me twenty milliseconds to decide that I’m disappointed in Plastic Memories.

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  1. Posted June 3, 2015 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Plastic Memories is biggest disappointment for me as well. It has so many moments of greatness, interspersed with anime dreck. Not just premise, it actually has entire episodes or half of episodes where everything works! But then they feel the need to have non-comedy, for huge, terrible stretches :(

  2. Ken
    Posted June 3, 2015 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    I wholeheartedly agree with you Shinmaru regarding Sound! Euphonium. I had to watch episode 8 several times because it was so well realized. This may very well turn out to be Kyoto Animations best work so far.

    • Ramiel
      Posted June 10, 2015 at 1:33 am | Permalink

      Also concur

  3. megaroad1
    Posted June 3, 2015 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan sometimes seems to me like one of those cheesy fan-fictions of someone who didn’t see the ship he wanted realized in the original work. It’s awful.

    • shytende
      Posted June 3, 2015 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

      Except Itsuki don’t ask Kyon to suck his spaghettis on this one.

      So, it’s not even the good type of fanfiction.

  4. Ibri
    Posted June 3, 2015 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    Yeah Hibike! is quite good. Though I’m slightly irritated by them choosing to bait RainaXKumiko shippers so much when I doubt they plan to go anywhere with that, just look at episode 8. Oh well, a good show non the less.

    • D1360EX
      Posted June 3, 2015 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, let’s hope nothing also happens with Kumiko and his boring childhood friend. Never have the same character be teased with straight and gay pairings because that’s when the Yuri/Yaoi fans and the Het fans start fighting each other.

      • Ibri
        Posted June 3, 2015 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

        That is probably a good suggestion, shipping between two hetero couples can get quite heated. And it is worse with one lesbian, one hetero pairing. When the hetero one wins it can easily seem like bait and switch. That it was only added because they know some will like the pairing but without it ever really being in the race.

        But I don’t think anything definitive will happen in the anime, simply because it only spans the first LN (i think) and when is there ever real development in the romance department that early in the story? So shippers can hold onto faint hopes for the first season at least.

        Also, I quite frankly don’t understand why some people are shipping him with her, he isn’t very interesting at this point nor has shown particularly interesting interaction with her. Which can still be changed, he hasn’t made himself entirely unlikeable or something he is just as a secondary character at this point. But why ship him before that happens? Well I guess a matter of different tastes.

      • D1360EX
        Posted June 3, 2015 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

        The reason most people would ship that pairing is to spite the yuri fans. Still we can predict a shitty plot where Kumiko relalizes she has feelings for Yuuji Everlead the bland and she fights with not!Ritsu about it and they can’t dramatically confess their feelings to each other.

        When that inevitably happens (because it has to happen in every show with teens in it), I’ll drop the show. Sorry they baited and fucked up with that, because I didn’t even know they were going to be guys in the show. The show is most likely about Reina and Kumiko and that was a temporary diversion to make a romantic lighthearted episode before the drama resumes.

        Maybe she’ll end up going out with the guy but end up leaving him for Reina when she wants to travel around the world. That way Yuri fans still get their ending without explicitly stating she’s bi or gay, because you can’t do such a horrible thing on TV.

      • D1360EX
        Posted June 3, 2015 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

        Checking now and yup, Kumiko ends up with the dude in the novel. Although they basically removed him from the anime and Reina’s crush on the teacher. Aren’t KyoAni adaptations pretty different from the source material though? Hope they remove the romance and emphasize the friendship between the girls, since I feel romance would ruin the show like it ruined so many other shows (cough Denno Coil cough).

        Although seeing how Yuri-friendly their shows are (Lucky Star, K-On!, Tamako, Chuunibyou, and Euphonium) I wonder why don’t they make their own Yuri show.

      • Posted June 6, 2015 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

        Spoilers yo. Also, get at least one of your facts straight — Hibike! Euphonium ISN’T a light novel series; it’s a set of traditional novels (in fact, a light novel reader would likely get a headache reading it, given how it’s nearly 70% kanji).

        And yes, there’s been a WHOLE lot changed in the books, but you have to understand that the studio is only adapting book 1. They HAVE to find ways to stretch things out — see how they went about it in their previous production Amagi Brilliant Park.

        As for the level of faithfulness, a good measure of comparison is how KyoAni adapted an in-house work (Chuunibyou and Kyoukai no Kanata) compared to something they are simply adapting (Suzumiya Haruhi or Amagi Brilliant Park). The former was completely changed for the airing, with only the basic skeleton taken from the books to use as a plot; the latter was actually mostly faithful, but had to take materials from later books to pad out the airing schedule.

  5. D1360EX
    Posted June 3, 2015 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    Another summary of the month:

    Arslan: Pretty good although slow 2/4

    DanMachi: Again, it didn’t give me cancer like SAO and Mahouka. 1/4

    Denpa Kyoushi: HAW HAW HAW. 0/4

    Go! Princess Precure: Kirara is best girl 2/4

    Hibike! Euphonium: Teenage romance is the worst thing a series can have, but great so far. 3/4

    Pleiades: It’s pretty gay, but not much else. 1/4

    JoJo: Vanilla Ice and Dio, enough said 4/4

    Kekkai Sensen: Great show, funny that a (male, straight) friend that never watches anime called Klaus moe. He is. 3/4

    Nanoha: My laser friendly alternative to ARIA for relaxation. 2/4

    Ninja Slayer: DOMO Subtitles improve this show so much 2/4

    Ore Monogatari: Pretty slow pacing and hope they introduce new characters to spice things up :/. Still funny as hell. 3/4

    Plastic Memories: Take the cast of Planetes and turn them into anime stereotypes. The non-robot women (except the engineer girl) are annoying as hell. 1/4

    Punchline: Who is this show meant to appeal to. Certianly not Otakus and certainly not people who hate Otaku stuff… so it’s unappealing and the characters are boring and uninteresting. 1/4

    Saint Seiya – Soul of Gold: Did Toei replace all their animators with robots? What the fuck is going on there. 1/4

    Seraph of the end: Shinoa is a great character… too bad all the other characters are excruciatingly shitty. 1/4

    • Outcast
      Posted June 4, 2015 at 4:24 am | Permalink

      “Punchline: Who is this show meant to appeal to. Certianly not Otakus and certainly not people who hate Otaku stuff” <— Well, it's appealing to SOMEBODY, since I keep hearing stuff about the show improving on the tv tropes forum, and even the guy on Mage in a Barrel stuck around till episode 7 before dropping it, despite having dropped Seraph at episode 1.

      Speaking of Seraph, My God! For a moment I thought the show was improving, with things actually happening and Yu's out-of-nowhere character development during episode 6 (I was willing to overlook this because at least they made Yu less grating). But damn, episode 8 had fight choreography and screenwriting straight out of Naruto season 1 (no, that is not a compliment). And yeah, adding Blond chick (can't be bothered to look up her name) got added immediately after Yu's character improved slightly, because we have to get annoyed SOMEHOW.

      • D1360EX
        Posted June 4, 2015 at 5:21 am | Permalink

        The problem with Punch line is that it’s a bunch of scattered ideas, which may make people want to watch the show, but I don’t think anyone’s gonna really sing the praises of the series that a similar show like Samurai Flamenco, which at least had great characters.

        It’s more like Gallilei Donna, same uninteresing one gimmick characters (she’s a lawyer!, she’s an exorcist!), except the plot may have a decent resolution, even if it throws as much concepts, terms and plots as that show. The show is tone deaf, the funny parts aren’t that funny and the serious parts clash with a show about a guy that will die if he sees panties. Is that supposed to be a parody of fanservice anime, because well they show panties and that doesn’t appeal to more storyline oriented viewers, since it kills the pacing. Similarly, I don’t think the people who want to watch it for the panties will be interested in the heavy continuity so why even include that element? It’s not that clever an idea for it to derail the show.

        Still, I keep watching it because of who the writer is and out of morbid curiosity to see how it ends. Again the latest episodes are less groan worthy and all the elements have been setup, which I’ll admit I’m interested in seeing how the girls will stop a meteorite, but 7 episodes and the characters aren’t engaging in the slightest, which is the biggest flaw of the show and many others. I don’t really care or understand what the villain is, since he’s so removed from the context of the show.

        Seraph is incredible in how irritating I find everyone but Shinoa, even Kanji with glasses is somehow irritating. Guren might be the other most salvagable character but he enables so much of the attitude of the other characters and it’s barely clear why he’s such a dick to his superiors. Sorry they did him better when he was called Roy Mustang.

      • Outcast
        Posted June 4, 2015 at 5:54 am | Permalink

        “Still, I keep watching it because of who the writer is” <— I remembered this a little while after posting, and I think this might be the reason most people are sticking around with this.

        "it’s barely clear why he’s such a dick to his superiors." <— It's a problem with the entire army. I am seriously baffled how these guys passed out of military training with that attitude. I mean, seriously, was Yu going against orders in episode 1 his first ever instance of insubordination?

        As for Guren himself, episode 6 was a low point for him. I couldn't help but facepalm at the redundancy of the speech he gave Yu at the end of the episode considering HE COULDN'T HAVE SNAPPED OUT OF HIS DREAM IF HE DIDN'T ALREADY REALIZE THAT SHIT. Just one of the lazier attempts to make him look cool.

  6. Posted June 3, 2015 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    …So I’m assuming I should get around to Sound!Euphonium, then…? Had it on the to-watch for a while since I’m marathoning Arc-V and R2. (And if I had to give a spot to an anime, it would be Arc-V right now. Nothing this season has impressed me as much as Yugioh Version 5.)

    • Inushinde
      Posted June 11, 2015 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

      It’s surprisingly mature and thoughtful, so yes.

  7. Ze Toshiest
    Posted June 3, 2015 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    Episode 8 of Hibike made me glad I picked up the show around week four. KyoAni’s moe game is ON POINT with this series.

  8. Posted June 3, 2015 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    The last couple of Arslan episodes have actually been quite good. People complain it’s slow but I’d be more worried if they rushed through the thing. Epic fantasies with steady but thorough starts tend to have bigger payoffs. I mean, just look at how LOTR ended up.

    I’ve been avoiding Hibike because slice-of-life is so totally not my thing but a lot of people seem to like it so I might cave and just see what the buzz is all about.

  9. Nagisa33
    Posted June 4, 2015 at 1:34 am | Permalink

    As for the current season, UBW and BBB have been good fun. The anime music video Mudai by amazarashi was an pleasant surprise that I encourage people to check out.

    Recently I’ve been reading a ton of manga. Tezuka works such as Adolf, Ode to Kirihito, and Ayako were fantastic. Biomega was great though I still enjoy Sidonia as my favorite Nihei work.

    Currently I’m reading Bambino and it’s amazing. I’m in love with the art style and reading a manga about an aspiring chef is a nice change of pace. It makes me want to try out some new recipes! :)

  10. joshherb33
    Posted June 4, 2015 at 2:04 am | Permalink

    are you guys going to cover ‘gansta.’ in the upcoming summer season (july!)? please! also cover ‘god eater’ by ufotable (it looks excellent and has some of their best staff on the project) (also in July 2015. and is a preview from you guys coming soon for the summer anime 2015 season?

    • Ken
      Posted June 4, 2015 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      ‘Gansta’ looks good also the trailer for ‘Rokka no Yusha’ looks good too. Most everything else looks disappointing though, like ‘Bikini Warriors’ for example.
      Rokka no Yusha anime trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSDQXjy4FKs

      • joshherb33
        Posted June 6, 2015 at 2:04 am | Permalink

        you are right, ‘Rokka no Yusha’ looks like it has potential. i think ‘gansta.’ will be the anime to see next season – ill admit it, i got on the hype-train as soon as i saw the PV yesterday lol. hopefully, it meets my expectations – the manga readers i know hold it in high regard.’ god eater’ could be also action-packed since i didn’t see any mecha-anime from bones or sunrise scheduled for the summer :(hoping for some decent mecha in the fall (‘ like not ‘captain earth’) yikes.

      • Shoko
        Posted June 6, 2015 at 4:58 am | Permalink

        Between the lack of capitalization and the strange insistence on calling Gangsta ‘gansta’, I can’t tell if all three of you are the same person making a poor attempt at building hype or three individual people in dire need of remedial grammar classes.

        Though I must also inquire about the next season preview, Scamp. They’re half of what I love about this blog.

        Edit: And now I feel like an idiot for not noticing that two of the above are, indeed, the same person. And Kenn’s only crime is calling Gangsta ‘gansta’. (Slams head to wall) Ignore me. I’m high. Summer classes, y’know?

  11. joshherb33
    Posted June 7, 2015 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    capitalization is overrated.

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