Summer 2014 Mid-Season Anime Report – Part 2: #13 to #9, The Okay Stuff

[WhyNot] Free! Eternal Summer - 01 [D87811FC].mkv_snapshot_00.23_[2014.08.24_03.29.47]What’s strange about this season of anime is that it appears to feature anime series that are either not very good (hence the 10 series covered yesterday) or pretty good (the 8 series to be covered in the near future) with few series left in the middle ground of mediocrity. The five series that currently make up this group are featured below. My gut tells me that most of these series will raise up or stumble further before the end of the season. To find out if that will happen, don’t forget to tune back in for the season in review post. 🙂

In case you missed it, here are Part 1 and Part 3.

(13) – Yama no Susume 2

Rating for episodes 1 to 5– 8/12 B+

[Commie] Yama no Susume Second Season - 01 [24C5F72F].mkv_snapshot_00.03_[2014.08.24_03.14.33]The first season of Encouragement of Climb (as the title translates to) was made up of 4 minute episodes and massively suffered because of it. A short length comedy series is one thing but a relaxing, slice-of-life series simply cannot accomplish what it needs to do in such a small time. I was going to completely skip this sequel until I learned this season was going to feature 13 minute long episodes. That’s better, I thought, and it has turned out that having more time truly is a good thing for a series like this one. Of course, doubling the length of these episodes to make a full 30 minute episode would be better yet. And it’s not just purely losing half its contents in comparison to the other series that hurts this series. What I think happens to a series like Yama no Susume 2 is either the content of a full episode is streamlined to fit into the shorter length (thereby losing much of the minutiae that help define characters) or the full episode is crudely cut in half, disrupting the natural flow and killing that content-with-life, relaxing buzz the best slice-of-life series can create. Both results hold this series back from reaching the level it otherwise could.

(12) – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders

Rating for episodes 1 to 21– 6/12 B-

[HorribleSubs] JoJo's Bizarre Adventure - Stardust Crusaders - 15 [720p].mkv_snapshot_09.06_[2014.07.13_01.55.12]Sigh. JoJo just isn’t clicking with me. The problems I noted in the past – Grandpa JoJo being the only cool and interesting main character and the weakness from utilizing the villain of the week format – are still there and dragging this series down. I wonder, though, if the problem with the show goes deeper. Namely, maybe Hunter x Hunter has fried the shounen receptors in my brain with awesomeness and everything else pales in comparison. Take the latest Stand – a wish granting one. It looks like third-class hack work compared to the wish granting Nen ability at the heart of the latest Hunter x Hunter arc. Oh well, maybe when the second half of Stardust Crusaders begins with Dio actually taking the stage, the show will pick up.

(11) – Zankyou no Terror

Rating for episodes 1 to 6– 7/12 B

[FFF] Zankyou no Terror - 01 [FE82E438].mkv_snapshot_20.16_[2014.08.24_03.23.41]Zankyou no Terror is every bit as well produced as I thought it would be and the story has failed to impress me as I feared it would. Shinichirou Watanabe can be counted on to create the setting and the broad outlines of the story, characters, and plot of a really great anime but he really needs to call in a better writer to fine-tune the concepts. I’ve been surprised at how little attention has been focused on this series’ shortcoming when the far superior Aldnoah.Zero has received an overabundance of scrutiny.

(10) – Sengoku Basara: Judge End

Rating for episodes 1 to 5– 7/12 B

[sage] Sengoku BASARA Judge End - 01v0 [720p][1C1522FE].mkv_snapshot_03.59_[2014.08.24_03.26.39]Anytime we get another season of Sengoku Basara, it’s a good thing. The first season of Basara aired back during the spring of 2009 and predated the recent glut of Sengoku era based TV series. The first two seasons were gleefully over-the-top about everything and a load of fun to watch. I thought the franchise was done until Judge End popped up on the radar. So far it’s been a more somber and serious series then the first two (and comprising a different time line as well). I’m not sure if I approve of this change of tone. Then again, the series could just be setting us up before ending in grand frivolous fashion. Either way, I continue watching.

(9) – Free! 2

Rating for episodes 1 to 6– 8/12 B+

[WhyNot] Free! Eternal Summer - 01 [D87811FC].mkv_snapshot_03.14_[2014.08.24_03.30.24]I like Free! enough that I don’t mind including it’s grammatically incorrect usage of punctuation. I realize I’m not the target demographic but I’ve found a large percentage of Free! to be a very fun Kyoto Animation series. Sometimes what’s entertaining about it is when it’s obviously trying to play to it’s target demographic or when the animators seem to forget they’re not animating a cute girls doing cute things TV series. If I had one complaint about this series it would be the actual sports angle. It could be done much better as the recent Ping Pong or Chihayafuru showed and that’s why it’s sitting as low as it currently is. Still, though, it’s a much better series then the majority of the currently airing anime series.

That’s it for part 2. Next time, I’ll cover the top series of the summer season. (I’m playing Dungeons and Dragons 5e tomorrow and grilling a turkey tomorrow so part 3 will probably be a day or two late.)

Did I get something terribly wrong, feel free to comment below – I’d love to read what you’re thinking.

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