Spring 2015 Reviews at the Halfway Point

As usual, all ratings are on a ten point scale

  1. My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Too

Currently: 9, Projected: 8-10

I really enjoyed the first season of SNAFU, and being current with the novel, I knew I was going to enjoy this season as well. Even so, Feel has done an amazing job with the subtleties in the personal interactions. Little looks and expressions have been spot on. So far, the only thing I haven’t liked is Iroha’s high pitched voice. Even that was thoughtful though, as she quickly drops her squeak when she is showing her real personality to Hachiman. The personalities are really oozing from the characters in every scene. This is top notch stuff here, and if the end of the season is handled well, I can see this knocking Toradora! out of the number 2 spot.

 

  1. Sound! Euphonium

Currently: 7, Projected: 6-9

Sound! has been a nice surprise after shaking off a slow first episode and taking flight. The subtleties of the interpersonal relationships are handled nicely, and the humor is generally funny without being over the top or grating. What really kicks things up a bit is the melodrama bubbling beneath the surface. The conflict between the kids who just want to have fun and the more focused achievement minded students was a nice subplot, but the romantic energy between Kumiko and Reina is what really has my attention. It would be nice to see a lesbian romance played straight in an anime, and not for fan service or cheap laughs. At first I was afraid that Sound! would be more like a traditional sports style anime, with each week bringing a new opponent to vanquish. I’ve never been a fan of that style, so the more character driven story has been refreshing.

 

  1. Yamada and the Seven Witches

Currently: 7, Projected: 6-9

This show needs to slow down a bit, but even at its current pace it is doing a good job. I’m not a huge fan of the visuals, but they have been competent. (I prefer the opening’s visual style over the actual show’s) As I said early in the season, this manga just screamed “make me into an anime.” If someone messed this up they should be run out of the industry. Also, Urara Shirahashi is best girl so far this season.

 

  1. Is it Wrong to Pick Up girls in a Dungeon?

Currently: 6, Projected: 5-8

This is the type of show that a certain type of anime fan loves to hate, and I am sure that the forums are full of people who are bullying the people who like the show and ripping it apart week after week. Honestly though, it isn’t that bad. It has even managed to be pretty good a couple of times. This show was never trying to be high art. It is more comedy than adventure, and has so far succeeded in making me laugh. They only thing getting on my nerves was the show’s bi-polar take on women. On the one hand flipping traditional (and stale) gender roles to have the MC rescued by a strong female adventurer, and on the other hand having that same MC spout stupid lines about having to protect people because they are female. The show has hinted that it might have something to say about traditional gender roles. Whether or not it does will have a big impact on how I rate the series in the end.

 

  1. Plastic Memories

Currently: 6, Projected: 5-8

Plastic Memories has taken an interesting premise and wasted it. It has also wasted the goodwill it engendered with its earlier emotionally powerful episodes. Currently, it is a bit of a mess and is relying on the likeability of its main characters. The show can still be saved if it starts seriously addressing things instead of going for overplayed gags. Just like Toradora! has Golden Time, it looks like Steins; Gate will have Plastic Memories. It’s not too late to avoid this disaster, but things need to change soon.

 

  1. Fate/Stay: UBW

Currently: 5, Projected: 4-7

I hadn’t expected this to turn into the train wreck that it has been so far this season. The pacing has been awful, the characters have regressed, and even the animation has had its spotty moments. I’ve got too much invested in the show to stop watching now, but Fate/Stay is a show I probably should have dropped. How this is still rated highly on MyAnimeList mystifies me.

 

  1. Nisekoi 2

Currently: 5, Projected: 4-6

This was a big challenge for Shaft. The manga’s quality really nosedived after the Romeo and Juliet arc that they ended the first season with. The majority of Nisekoi’s chapters since have been dross. There have been a couple of bright spots here and there, but it was going to be hard for Shaft to link those bright spots together into a coherent season. It is not going well. They have failed to find the bright spots, let alone bring them together. So far they have only used one decent manga arc (Chitoge’s mom) and didn’t really do a great job with that. The rest has been forgettable and disconnected. This feels more like a bunch of bland OVAs than a season. The narrative has been lost and the show is on cruise control. Anime has its limits, and making Nisekoi filler chapters into something interesting seems to be beyond the medium’s capabilities.

 

  1. Triage X

Currently: 3 and dropped

I was never expecting much out of Triage X. The manga was a competent action title with a lot of cleavage, and I had a feeling the anime adaptation was going to favor the latter over the former. I keep getting caught by surprise when studios double down on what is already a considerable amount of fan service. It’s not like there wasn’t plenty of it already in the manga. The one character I found interesting happens to be the male mc and most of the screen time in this show is devoted to showing female skin. The only way this show would be enjoyable at this point is with some Mystery Science Theatre style commentary

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