26 CommentsMonthly Roundups / By Scamp /

October 2014 Roundup

B1Vf7mBIAAA1zb9New season and new anime. No longer can we rely on Shinmaru giving the What’s Hot reward to Hunter X Hunter every other week. He has to give the award to something new and not to another long-running franchise….can he?

What’s Hot

Scamp: Rage of Bahamut

Bahamut - 03 -26[2]This is how a good adventure anime should be. The comparisons to Pirates of the Caribbean only made more sense after episode 4 basically was a Pirates anime. Although to bring a more anime example to the table, its adventure story focus of starting on a small scale while hinting at something much bigger that it will slowly build to over the course of the series reminds me of Last Exile. It nails everything from the tone to the characters. It’s entertaining and exciting while focusing on a core cast of varied and interesting characters with unique and distinct personalities that are fun to watch go about their business. The story may be nothing to write home about as of now, but when it delivers so fully in every other area it doesn’t matter quite so much.

Shinmaru: Gundam Build Fighters Try

GBF Try - 02 -26[2]Partially because I love robot fighting so very much, and partially because I’ve fallen way behind on anime due to work and watching horror movies on my off days. We’re still in the “slow” part of Build Fighters, where the main team works out its troubles and the other major players are being introduced. I generally like how Team Try Fighters is being built. Sekai and Yuuma are both strong but have their own specific problems with adaptation — Sekai’s fighting style doesn’t work everywhere, and Yuuma greatly dislikes Sekai and has a tough time working with him. I’m looking forward to Fumina’s story most, however. She’s clearly being placed in the underdog position, with people condescendingly overlooking her in favor of her male teammates despite Fumina being generally smart and able to work with the both of them well. She’ll get some huge moments before the end of the series. While this is going on, Build Fighters still has the same fun energy and entertaining robot fights as the first season. I’m all in.

Inushinde: Amagi Brilliant Park

Amagi Brilliant Park - 04 - Large 24Of all the shows airing this season, I did not expect the one about Kanye West and 50 Cent saving a failing amusement park from foreclosure to be what I most look forward to watching every week. Though given that explanation, I probably should have. Yes, it still stars high school students, or rough analogues of such, but it’s not so much a glorification of the high school experience as it is a harsh reminder that even fantasy creatures living a subsistence existence have to pay the bills. But where it’s made is in the details (the cutesy mascots all being exceedingly violent or lusty), and a sense of comic timing that’s criminally uncommon for the medium. The attempts at giving its characters depth through serious moments are often just baffling, but more often than not Amaburi chooses to coast on its sense of humor, and that’s enough for me.

What’s not so hot

Scamp: Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Boring Words

Fate stay night ubw - 02 - Large 04I blame myself for this. I got sucked in by all the hype. I’d somehow conveniently forgotten that the only part of Fate/Zero I consistently liked were Rider and Waver. So much of the rest were boring dullards standing around using too many words to describe simple things. But if anything they’ve gotten even worse with Unlimited Boring Words. The double episode length appears to have only created even more pap. The first two episodes, each of which were 40 minutes long, could have been easily condensed into 20 minutes. What was the point of the characters wandering around school before anything actually happened? To establish each character? There surely has to be an easier, shorter and less boring way of doing it. Do people who like this show really think that more dialogue = better dialogue? It’s awful! It’s hideously awful and I hope no other anime thinks this is the correct way of doing things.

Shinmaru: The Idolmaster movie

THE IDOLM@STER MOVIE - Large 158To be clear, I did enjoy the movie. It’s pleasant the way the TV series is, and there’s some real nice animation, including some small, subtle things that took me by surprise. But there are a couple of big problems that really bugged me. The basic setup for the movie is OK: The idols, who have become a more confident bunch after overcoming their various trials and working hard, take a group of backup dancers under their wing in preparation for their biggest concert yet. However, what happens is that just one of the dancers gets a real story, and the others are just there to be there. That one story is a decent story, mind; I’m a sucker for folks overcoming confidence and self-image issues. But it feels like there’s a lot of effort put into making the audience care about the other dancers that doesn’t work out at all. The closest any of them gets to a personality is the one who’s the asshole. Even that is half-assed. It’s strange, because the movie’s other big problem is that it’s way too long. It’s fine the first 45 minutes and then drags horribly until it’s time to pay off the main dancer’s story. It’s frustrating because this movie could be a lot of fun and often is … but then I spend so much time wishing I were watching one of the teaser movies instead. (I would give so much for the Idolmaster super robot movie.)

Inushinde: Denki-gai

Denkigai - 02 -21[2]This month’s iteration of What’s Not So Hot is less “Denki-gai is terrible” and more “I know you can do better, Denki-gai, so stop the free-form panty rants and get back to being surprisingly pleasant”. The show has a problem in that it’s sweet when it wants to be, but puts a good amount of misplaced effort into turning its female characters into objects of ridicule. Of course sexuality isn’t inherently bad (and most of the show is in service of normalizing certain proclivities), but Denki-gai occasionally devolves into making its female characters uneasy, then making their validated unease something to laugh at. It’s pretty watchable otherwise, so these already big flaws are all the more glaring for how much they affect everything else.

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  1. Hanasra
    Posted November 1, 2014 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    About UBW, are those exposition just being told with dialog? No animation on the matter that being described to us whatsoever? If true, then it would be boring indeed. It’ll be like in two episodes of LoGH, instead of faux-documentary we see Yang lecturing Julian with occasional sip on alcohol and tea making.

    And no word on Garo?

    • Gan_HOPE326
      Posted November 1, 2014 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

      Depends. Do you consider “a dude walking in circles” animation?

      Anyway, no, no fancy representations of what’s being said, definitely. But most of the first two episodes, rather than exposition, was sort of slice-of-lifey, rather aimless wandering about which established a bit about the characters. Personally, I enjoyed it because I was already familiar enough with the franchise to perceive it as build-up – knowing what’s to come, the stretched prologue only heightens the tension for the bass drop, so to say. But yeah, it might be too much, and honestly, it’s a fanboy thing, I’ll be the first to admit it.

  2. Shikamaru
    Posted November 1, 2014 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Amagi Brilliant Park surprised me. Kyoani hasn’t made great anime since Nichijou in my opinion and now they finally have done something great again. As a Kyoani fan I’m really happy right now.

    Psyhco-pass, Parasyte and Chaika have been great as well.

    I’m also really enjoying Ookami Shoujo to Kuro Ouji. Both main characters are assholes. They are not likeable at all. The other lies all the time to everybody and the other uses this girl as his slave. But that’s what makes this anime different and refreshing. I haven’t seen romance anime where both main characters are dickheads before. You don’t always have to have likable main characters. Most of the time it makes sense. Who doesn’t want to like the main characters?

    That’s why I enjoyed Oreimo so much because Kirino was a huge bitch. You can hate the main character, but you can still enjoy watching the anime. You enjoy hating this character.

    I blame prowrestling for this. I always cheer the heels.

  3. anon
    Posted November 1, 2014 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Amaburi OFFICIALLY gets the Inushinde Seal of Approval.


    • Outcast
      Posted November 1, 2014 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      He also put his seal (albeit unofficially) on F/SN:UBW.


      • Hanasra
        Posted November 1, 2014 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        Inushinde slowly taking over this blog from Scamp
        Shinmaru isn’t even a rival for him

  4. Outcast
    Posted November 1, 2014 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Is the first image from Shirobako?

    • GoukaRyuu
      Posted November 1, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      It is, and that is a good show too.

      • Shinmaru
        Posted November 1, 2014 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

        I bet I could write about a different show each month this season. There’s lots of quality.

  5. Hogart
    Posted November 1, 2014 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    >[Bahamut] nails everything from the tone to the characters.

    If you mean it flits from tone to tone like its hyper, and nails the obnoxiousness of its characters, then sure. Bahamut’s ok, but it feels like it could have been a whole lot better. I think people are just willing to give it a pass without much criticism because it’s nicely animated and has some nice film-like moments. But at least it’s good enough to deserve some of its praise, unlike some other fantasy series airing right now (*cough* Chaika *cough* Yona *cough*).

    >more often than not Amaburi chooses to coast on its sense of humor

    More often than not the comedy is precisely what you’d expect, because they keep repeating the same gags over and over. Is it worth it for the few fresh gags in each episode? Maybe just barely. For my money it’s no funnier than Twintails (which isn’t to say that either is particularly bad when they’re being funny, but they’re hardly worth gushing over so far).

    • Hanasra
      Posted November 1, 2014 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

      The praise for Bahamut is there because the bar for fantasy anime isn’t that high, or hell it maybe applies to whole anime genre in this year.

    • Maxulous
      Posted November 1, 2014 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

      The bar is low for sure, but Yona deserves a bit of praise for being more than just another reverse harem. It’s a classic fantasy shoujo at heart peppered with political intrigue. If you’re up for that sort of thing it’s rather serviceable.

      A major flaw is that the they jumped too far ahead with the narrative and are suffering a bit for it now. The pandering ‘cute animeisms’ can get in the way of serious enjoyment.

      • Hogart
        Posted November 1, 2014 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

        It has the skeleton of a better anime, that’s for sure. But the political intrigue is so superficial it defies reason. Without more context on what’s going on and why, all we can focus on is the silly story about “brave fools standing up to evildoers who want to take over their kingdom”. Garo is doing that plot more effectively already, without trying to fool us into thinking it has more depth than is really there. The only thing I see that’s praise-worthy in Yona is that they’re trying to present Soo-Won as a villain with shades of grey, but they’re not doing a very convincing job of it just yet, and there’s not much depth to the heroes either.

      • Maxulous
        Posted November 2, 2014 at 1:39 am | Permalink

        I really want to like Garo. I like the stuff focusing on the Kingdom and horrors, but I find the main characters and tokusatsu elements very jarring. I’d rather just focus on the prince.

      • Hogart
        Posted November 2, 2014 at 1:57 am | Permalink

        True, if only MAPPA gave it a bit more of an animation budget then it might be able to overcome that barrier somewhat. But it seems they bet all their chips on Bahamut, and Garo got the short end of the production stick.

      • Vandro
        Posted November 2, 2014 at 2:55 am | Permalink

        So. If you find the Tokusatsu elements and León to be jarring or uninteresting, have I got bad news for you. The whole point of the franchise is the Tokusatsu elements, and having the GARO character be an unlikable almost expressionless guy is the point of the first show even.

      • Maxulous
        Posted November 2, 2014 at 3:29 am | Permalink

        Yes, which is exactly why I dropped it a few weeks ago.

      • Kenjeran
        Posted November 3, 2014 at 11:15 am | Permalink

        Funny that I think the tokusatsu elements from the original show got stripped off in this adaptation of Garo. Now it just feels like those “Mahou Shounen” shows ala Saint Seiya , Shulato, or Ronin Warriors.

    • Posted November 2, 2014 at 4:40 am | Permalink

      The praise for Bahamut is there because it’s legitimately fun, low bar for the genre or not. What you see as problems, I see as endearing.

      Also, Twintails is as funny as a Tokyo Shock film. Amagi’s kinda hit and miss on the goods as well, but I maintain that the “true” sides of the park are constantly hilarious pieces of genius.

    • Ibri
      Posted November 2, 2014 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      The MC betrayed the girl to the knights and earnestly thought about stabing her. How can you not like him?

      • LightNovelMC
        Posted November 3, 2014 at 5:27 am | Permalink

        As opposed to an MC who saves the girl by being a true otaku? The character is a believable anti-hero who is likeable because he’s charming and flawed. Mugen also ditched fuu at one point in samurai champloo, and it’s a similar concept as the two characters didn’t fully know each other.

      • Ibri
        Posted November 3, 2014 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

        I wasn’t being sarcastic, I do like that he did that.

  6. Nagisa33
    Posted November 1, 2014 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    There’s a ton of entertaining series this season. Thanks for the coverage! Are there plans to discuss Mushishi down the road?

  7. Erif
    Posted November 2, 2014 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    I always found it kind of odd that you describe Fate/Zero as “boring dullards standing around using too many words to describe simple things” but then praise Psycho Pass, which is more or less the same thing.

  8. Someone Else
    Posted November 5, 2014 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    No mention of Cross Ange? That thing’s hilarious

  9. T1g
    Posted November 9, 2014 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    One of you should start blogging about Rage of Bahamut

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