Final Impressions of the Spring 2014 Anime Season, Part 1 of 4

[Underwater] Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara - 08 (720p) [CC94A498].mkv_snapshot_08.04_[2014.05.27_02.55.14]Since I was in the mood, I had planned on writing a post about the best of the spring season like I’d last done a couple years ago but I quickly noticed that every category from Best Male Main Character to Best Seiyuu Cast to Best Animation to Best Action were being won by one of four anime: Tonari no Seki-kun, Hunter x Hunter, Ping Pong, and Knights of Sidonia. Sure, I thought to myself, this might hammer home how good these four anime were but it leaves the other 21 anime series I watched this season completely neglected and there were some terrible stinkers I wanted to call out for being so awful.

And there’s no better to start at then …

Shaft not being Shaft

 

[Commie] Mekakucity Actors - 01 [24C67B4F].mkv_snapshot_04.07_[2014.05.19_02.58.06](24) – Mekaku City Actors

Series Rating – 2/12 F

Mekaku City Actors was just plan terrible. And before someone says that I should have watched the source material videos beforehand let me respond that hundreds of anime series have been successfully made with the viewer having no knowledge of the source material.

(18) – Nisekoi nisekoi03189

Series Rating – 4/12 C

A poorly developed premise plus weak, uninteresting characters plus forgetting to include the comedy plus forgetting to include the romance leaves this romcom in such dire straits that even the Shaft style can’t distract the viewers from its mediocrity. Or to put it another way, Kana Hanazawa is one of the best vocal artists in anime and is so good it’s nearly impossible to make her sound bad; however, Nisekoi accomplishes this feat which allows it to join Fractale as the only anime to do that to her.

Light Novels are the New Bane of Anime

 

[FBI] Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei - 01 [E76B0CF0].mkv_snapshot_03.08_[2014.05.18_02.45.42](20) – Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei

Seasonal Score – 3/12 D

Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei drew the ire of just about everyone from the anime blogosphere this season and it’s not hard to see why. Coming off like something written by a guy who never outgrew his Eighth Grade Syndrome combined with the conviction of his own superiority, there’s plenty of clunky wince-inducing components that would only appeal to a similarly infected person. For my part, I think I’m starting to develop a case of Stockholm syndrome in regards to this anime. As awful as this anime is, I’m starting to be mildly entertained by it and I shouldn’t be. If, during the summer season, I start praising this series know that I don’t really mean it.

[Underwater] Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara - 13 (720p) [3DF068AE].mkv_snapshot_01.18_[2014.06.30_21.15.58](17) – Kanojo ga Flag o Oraretara

Series Rating – 4/12 C

When a series seems so aware of the clichés and tropes that so often drag down anime and seems intent on attacking them then one expects a certain level of prowess that just was not evident in Kanojo ga Flag o Oraretara. The central premise of the series – that the MC can see the “flags” that signal where the story will go next and can change them – was criminally underused. And, instead of focusing on this ability by the MC and creating a funny comedy series, the super serious Matrix-ripoff story was boring and seemed bolted onto the rest of the series – almost like the original creator felt compelled to add “depth” to the story. Its sole saving grace was watching Kana Hanakawa play a very feminine boy – who almost assuredly was actually a girl – trying to act “manly” and protesting when other people didn’t find him (her?) manly enough.

[Underwater] Black Bullet - 01 (720p) [48E334C5].mkv_snapshot_10.12_[2014.05.16_02.35.14](13) – Black Bullet

Series Rating – 6/12 B-

In a perfect world every anime would get the type of adaptation that would work best for it – need 17 episodes? fine, need 52 episodes? – great, need to take a break to let the source material get ahead without resorting to filler material? – that’s completely doable. Sadly, this is not a perfect world and oftentimes an anime gets made under adverse conditions. Sometimes an anime can successfully paste over these problems or, at least, make it so the viewer is willing to overlook its flaws. Oftentimes it can’t and such is the case with Black Bullet. For the amount of material it tried to cover, Black Bullet really needed to be 26 episodes. Of course, I don’t know the source material and it might be that the light novels don’t have the necessary explanations, character development parts, and story to smooth out the storytelling and pacing issues. Either way, I guess to judge Black Bullet is to say that it had potential but oftentimes failed to reach that potential and so it left the series running sometimes above average and other times below average which all balanced out to being a rather average experience in the end.

[HorribleSubs] Hitsugi no Chaika - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_12.24_[2014.05.19_03.09.17](12) – Hitsugi no Chaika

Series Rating – 6/12 B-

When I was creating my own grading scale I wanted my average score to be at the halfway point and also to reflect the fact that, being professionally produced, the average quality should be higher than a C average. The end result saw a 6/12 B- being the score of an “average” anime and this is what Hitsugi no Chaika earned. The story oscillated between good and not so good in about equal parts. The animation was a mediocre effort from Bones. The storytelling wavered from competent to blandly unfocused. All ‘n all I found myself moderately invested in this series and do plan on catching the sequel when it airs.

[Underwater-FFF] No Game No Life - 01 (720p) [27AAA0A0].mkv_snapshot_07.39_[2014.05.16_02.54.37](9) – No Game, No Life

Series Rating – 8/12 B+

One of the shows I was most sure I was going to dislike this season was No Game, No Life and I would not have given it a chance except I had NGNL on my MAL Fantasy Anime League team and wanted to help my chances as much as possible. The issues I identified before watching NGNL as being problematic – poor characters, a plot only a fan of SAO would like, a tiresome sibling relationship, and a garish animation style – never fixed themselves and are the major reason why this anime finished as low as it did. What allowed NGNL to finish as high as it did was I found a way to enjoy it; namely, I enjoyed watching how the creator would find a way for the main characters to win yet another competition. I assume this will get a sequel and when it does, I’ll enjoy seeing how Blank will find a way to continue winning and winning.

By the way, the numbers in front of the anime titles are the spot they would place on if I made a list ranking all the anime series I watched this season.

Part 1 – Shaft not being Shaft, Light Novels are the New Bane of Anime  <you are here>

Part 2 – Mild Disappointments, Moderate Disappointments

Part 3 – A Victim of Circumstances, The Fallen

Part 4 – Mari Okada Swings and Misses, The Best

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One thought on “Final Impressions of the Spring 2014 Anime Season, Part 1 of 4”

  1. “drew the ire of just about everyone from the anime blogosphere this season and it’s not hard to see why.”

    That’s why most everyone is mediocre and their opinion matters not.

    “a tiresome sibling relationship”

    You’re too limited by your Western sensibilities of what such a relationship can be. You don’t spend much time thinking about what else it can develop from or into. In this particular field, your flaw is in not thinking enough, whereas in others it is thinking too much on the details.

    Like

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