[Asenshi-Mezashite] Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic - 01 [611F52C1].mkv_snapshot_16.47_[2015.04.15_23.28.20]

Early Season Impressions: Spring 2015 – The Revenge of the Sequels

People seem to have a love/hate relationship with sequels. Chances are if the sequel is to a show they watched and liked then the sequel is looked at with either happiness or cautious hope. If the sequel is to a show they did not like they complain about how sequels are killing creativity and anime in general. I think anime, as a whole, is better off that sequels are made over not having sequels; I just wish we’d get more complete stories as a result.

Sequels don’t normally rate too much attention in these impression posts because people pretty much know if they’re in or out by the time the sequel comes out; however, this season features a pair of sequels that are clearly outperforming their predecessors and I wanted to make sure I mentioned them. This also gives me a chance to cover a significant chunk of the series I’m watching this season.

Performing Better

Knights of Sidonia: Battle for Planet Nine

[Underwater] Knights of Sidonia S2 - The Ninth Planet Crusade - 01 (720p) [A631962C].mkv_snapshot_20.05_[2015.04.23_02.11.19]Rating for episodes 1 to 411.5/12  Near Perfect
Animation: 3.0/5 – Good
Anticipation Level: 4.0/5 – Medium to High

Have the creators/animators improved the 3D CG animation of Knights of Sidonia so the people don’t look so creepy? … Nope. Have they improved the sometimes very clunky, cringy character interactions and attempts at character development? … Nope. So what has been done this time around to improve the show? They made the story even better and interesting. For example, in the last episode during the Gauna fight scene they had me literally – and I mean actually and completely – on the edge of my seat. The last time I had an episode of anime capture my attention that strongly was during the Chimera Ant arc of Hunter x Hunter, well over a year ago. And that’s about the highest praise I know.

Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic

[Asenshi-Mezashite] Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic - 03 [BD07F8A9].mkv_snapshot_07.46_[2015.05.05_22.00.11]Rating for episodes 1 to 310.5/12  Strong A
Animation: 3.0/5 – Good
Anticipation Level: 3.0/5 – Average to Medium

For the unfamiliar, this slice-of-life comedy series is about a Japanese girl that is head-over-heals bonkers about everything English (as in England, the country) whose family invited a girl from England whose head-over-heals bonkers about everything Japanese to stay at their house and go to high school with their daughter. Yes, this is a cute girls being cute series; however, the first season was a very solid series. It was consistently funny, taking good advantage of it’s set-up, and the characters were above average with good chemistry between them. The second season begins a new school year and the show takes a bit of a risk by splitting up the main characters (who’d all been the same class) into two different classes. It’s a bit of risk because sometimes a subset of the overall group just doesn’t work like the full group does. However, I’ve been really impressed by the results so far. The split has allowed the introduction of a second teacher which opens up many new avenues of interaction and comedy. There are new students to mix things up and the subsets of the main characters have a different feel and flow then when the main group gets together. Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic is the funniest series I’m watching this season and if this level of excellence can continue this series has gone from a solid second tier series to a top tier series.

Holding the Line

Kaitou Joker S2

[HorribleSubs] Kaitou Joker - 17 [720p].mkv_snapshot_05.20_[2015.04.28_17.59.00]Rating for episodes 1 to 59/12  A-
Animation: 2.0/5 – Sub-par
Anticipation Level: 3.0/5 – Average to Medium

The Phantom Thief Joker is back with his friends/rivals in this children’s anime that is really much too fun, silly, and delightful to demise it as “a great children’s anime”. It’s a good anime period; I wish the animation was a little better, though. I’ve mentioned before that the person in charge of series composition is Dai Satou who did the same job for Eureka Seven and wrote individual episode scripts for a number of other series like Cowboy Bebop, GiTS:SAC, and Samurai Champloo. I’m happy to see that the writing for this sequel is just as sharp as it was for the first season. It’s a bit premature to include this series in the above group; but, I’ve got a feeling that the this series will finish stronger then the first season (unless they’re planning on a season 3).

Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru. Zoku

[HorribleSubs] Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru Zoku - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_10.04_[2015.04.16_02.26.58]Rating for episodes 1 to 58/12  B+
Animation: 2.5/5 – Average
Anticipation Level: 1.5/5 – Below Average to Low

The first of two sequels that I’m watching where I don’t like the main characters and still find the energy to keep watching, if only just barely. SNAFU, as it’s called, though FUBAR might be a better name, is back and has lost none of it’s teen-induced, badly over thought out because teenage confidence doesn’t really make up for experience, awkward teen – did I say teen enough times – drama that’s supposed to be a love comedy. This show makes a good case why arranged marriages were around for as long as they were. Before it’s thought I completely dislike this series I will point out that I’m giving the sequel a B+ so far. There is some good writing and the show is certainly interesting to watch. I also don’t have to worry about the show ever boring me and there are some characters like the main character’s little sister who are enjoyable.

Grisaia S2

[Chihiro]_Grisaia_no_Meikyuu_[720p_Hi10P_AAC][B6B3F781].mkv_snapshot_04.34_[2015.04.27_00.45.06]Rating for episodes 1 to 27/12  B
Animation: 2.5/5 – Average
Anticipation Level: 3.0/5 – Average to Medium

This series is seriously messed up. There is absolutely no way that anyone could consider this “good” anime; however, the animation studio 8bit have successfully attained a level of insanity for this anime that I can’t help but watch and see what horrible thing they’re going to do next. Is this the reason people watched Jerry Springer? It’s like a bet was made to see how many terribly dark things – the type of stuff that most series are fine with having one or two total – could be spliced together and still tell a somewhat coherent story. If I’d been keeping track I’m sure the number is over 50 after only 15 or so episodes and it appears that the writers are no closer to running out of ideas then they were during the first season. And, finally, what I find really funny is the director for this anime is the same one who’s also currently directing Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic. Tell me that wouldn’t make for a brain-numbing level of emotional whiplash when having to switch between the two.

Nisekoi:

[HorribleSubs] Nisekoi S2 - 03 [720p].mkv_snapshot_00.44_[2015.04.25_02.21.15]Rating for episodes 1 to 47/12  B
Animation: 3.0/5 – Good
Anticipation Level: 1.0/5 – Low

Sequel number 2 where I don’t care for the main characters or even most of the side characters yet continue watching is Nisekoi. It seems to me an editor needed to tell the original creator that this story would have been much better if all the complex setup – with the keys, lockets, faking a relationship, etc. – were cut out because there are moments, like when the main character working his fingers to the bone so the one girl might have the chance to spend some time on Christmas with her mother, where this show isn’t that bad. I also still enjoy Shaft being Shaft and this series was given enough of a budget that the animation and animation style is a plus for continue watching. I’d been silently hoping to see obvious signs of a decline in quality in this sequel so I could drop this already but this series has stubbornly kept chugging along at the same pace it did in the first season.

 Underperforming

Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu

[caffeine] Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu - 02 [720p][99F4BE11].mkv_snapshot_23.56_[2015.04.14_02.51.40]Rating for episodes 1 to 38/12  B+
Animation: 2.5/5 – Average
Anticipation Level: 2.0/5 – Below Average

I know it’s not particularly fair to compare this series to KyoAni’s handling of the main franchise; nor, is comparing a fluff spin-off series to it’s original series. So, even taking that into account, this series still feels like it’s underperforming. The big problem is that Haruhi is still the much more interesting character and should be at the center of the story and not this shy Yuki who somehow has less character to her now that she’s no longer an alien designed to be emotionless. Of all the possible spin-off variations one could do with this franchise, this one was a very weak one. I would rather watch another 8 episodes of Endless Eight if KyoAni was animating it then this series. A stronger spin-off series, in my opinion, would have been to flip the genders of the characters and go from there. Heck, maybe KyoAni would be up to animating that (think guys from Free! in the story of Haruhi).

Fate/stay night

[HorribleSubs] Fate Stay Night - Unlimited Blade Works - 16 [720p].mkv_snapshot_14.11_[2015.04.28_02.11.58]Rating for episodes 1 to 57/12  B
Animation: 3.0/5 – Good
Anticipation Level: 1.0/5 – Low

At this point I’ve decided that this franchise is never going to get as good as it thinks it is or as good as I was hoping it would be. There’s very basic problems with this series. For all the near unlimited levels of talking this series wallows in (which, incidentally saves on animation costs immensely), there’s been hardly any interesting character development or raising of dramatic tension. In fact, it seems like the more time that is spent on a character the less interesting they become. This sequel series should be busting knees and taking names at this point and it’s not; at least the first season had the excuse that it was supposed to be setting everything up. As a positive, I have developed more of an appreciation of Gen Urobuchi and his ability to craft interesting characters and a compelling story. It’s a shame he wasn’t allowed complete control to create the prequel and then given the chance to create his own version of Fate/stay night.

5 thoughts on “Early Season Impressions: Spring 2015 – The Revenge of the Sequels”

  1. >I would rather watch another 8 episodes of Endless Eight if KyoAni was animating it then this series.

    Then you must be insane. Not that Nagato’s spinoff is all that good, but come the heck on.

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  2. For example, in the last episode during the Gauna fight scene they had me literally – and I mean actually and completely – on the edge of my seat.

    This. And my heart was beating really fast in excitement, anticipation, and uncertainty! I was staring too closely at my monitor. Episode 4 was certainly a game well done~

    I haven’t watched KinMosa, so I didn’t bother checking the synopsis of the prequel as well as its sequel. But wow. That sure is a win-win situation for both of the MCs. I happened to see some yuri-esque screencaps on twitter, so this is definitely an anime for me to see and enjoy.

    As for F/SN UBW 2… I don’t even care anymore. I didn’t enjoy the first half and there’s barely anything that really interests me now. I’d go as far as saying I prefer the 2006 series (regardless of whichever route it was adapted from) over this by ufotable (which I unironically like). But the animation/art alone can’t even salvage it from the pit I buried it in. Let it burn in he–I mean, oblivion.

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  3. @El Goopo: One of things I enjoyed about Endless Eight was the variance that was found in how the characters were drawn, backgrounds were constructed, etc. Nowadays there’s an even larger diversity to KyoAni style and it would be interesting to give their various directors/animators a chance to have fun personalizing each episode.

    Watching this maimed version of Haruhi is a truly depressing experience.

    @miharusshi: And the sad thing is I will finish F/SN UBW 2 so that I can critique the show with full confidence that it did never get any better (just like I’m sure I’ll finish the next season of SAO whenever that gem gets greenlit).

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  4. It was even a depressing outcome for me because UBW was the show I was looking forward to the most before Fall 2014 started. Sigh. But somehow, it’s a really funny feeling because I thought I’m someone who can enjoy any anime from TYPE-MOON materials. I guess I’m not.

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