Fall 2014 Set Menu

Kyahhh! Oh, autumn, why most you torment me so with your grabbing titles and adorable characters? I can’t resist, and have once again started too many shows than I can probably sustain for the rest of the season. Carry on, my friends, and feel free to tell me where you think I’ll drop or whether I should actually add to my course.

Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works

It feels like the Fate franchise has been on a non-stop roller coaster ride these past couple of years, with Fate/Zero, the Prisma Illya series, and now ufotable’s remake of Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (not to be confused with the Studio Deen film, Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works). I haven’t played the games, nor read the manga, but I did enjoy the 2006 Fate/stay night, its prequel F/Z, and magical girl Illya, as well as some of the other Type-Moon crossovers. Watching this remake was a no-brainer, and I’m thrilled to see the improved visuals and even more excited that we started out from Rin’s point-of-view.

I had to keep stopping my mouth from babbling spoilers to KWoo, who is completely unfamiliar with the franchise. I did bring up the change in protagonists, and repeatedly praised the art. I don’t know if the prologue will be standalone with Rin as the main character, but I really wouldn’t mind if that were to be the case, or if she shared perspectives with Emiya. Her relationship with Archer has always been a mystery, though I do know some history about his past identity that was never really discussed in the 2006 anime. I have a feeling they’ll actually go into it this season with some of the key screenshots of Archer using his skills.

On an interesting note, I’m simultaneously re-watching Fate/Zero with KWoo to help him out on the background of our characters and the Holy Grail War. After watching the beginnings of both with him and discussing the differences, I realized that as much as may prefer the prequel to the original F/SN, following Shirou is extremely helpful for people new to the franchise. He, like the viewer, is a novice to magic and ignorant of the magnitude of this war. This remake leans heavily on Fate/Zero to explain even more in depth the rules to obtaining the Holy Grail, and so far I 100% prefer ufotable’s version.

Surprise ingredient: I have always been a fan of Tohsaka Rin, but I feel even fonder of her after the Prisma Illya series. It’s hard telling myself that these are two different worlds, completely different story lines, and that the Rin here is not the comic Rin who pairs so well with Luvia. I enjoy watching Archer needle her pride and provoke her into verbal tirades.

Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken

What strikes me as so fitting of this show for KWoo and me is that it really does remind me of us…only I’m the husband, and he’s the wife. I’m the anime blogger, and he’s the engineer. I go to anime conventions, and he goes on organized bike rides. I moderate on an anime forum, and he lurks Reddit. The uncanny similarities had me cracking up through the entire quick first episode. This is definitely a keeper for the both of us for now.

Surprise ingredient: Let me just clarify: I am not as off-and-on robotic as Hajime. I shuddered at his wedding vows, and wanted to smack him for immediately going off on analysis after the anime movie. There’s a time and a place, man, and you suck at it!

Ookami Shoujo to Kuro Ouji

The romcom shoujo of the fall, I’m not quite won over on this one just yet. I’ve read one too many manga featuring the funky girl and deceiving prince-type characters, and I am not too impressed here. Even though the recently finished Ao Haru Ride included a protagonist who changed her personality according to her surroundings, Ookami Shoujo’s Erika lacks the charm and back story to support her facade. She already has a childhood friend around whom she can be herself, so I see no reason for her to fake being a girl obsessed with makeup, boys, and sex. Then there’s Kyouya, the hottie of the school who predictably turned out to not be as sweet as he acts. I don’t know what his beef is, but for now, I am not remotely interested in his game, despite his seeming niceness in sticking up for her as “his object” to Kimura.

I’m clinging on in the hopes that the show will improve character-wise and that I’ll actually come to like them. I normally always watch the season’s romantic shoujo, so would feel a bit out-of-sorts not having one this fall to watch. The art style is cute, and I’m curious how Ayumi became friends with Erika given her apparent normalcy.

Surprise ingredient: I was surprised to hear Erika label her “friends'” relationships as indicative of love, given the show’s negative portrayal of them so far. Perhaps we’ll be treated to a bit more fleshing out of their characters, but I doubt it since these types of shows usually have the protagonist moving on to warmer and more innocent friends (think Ao Haru Ride). I actually wish that Erika would became closer to them because other than their tattling on her to Kyouya, they’ve been open to her.

Log Horizon 2nd Season

I certainly can’t leave a second season hanging, now can I? The first season satisfied many areas I felt lacking in Sword Art Online, so I’m happy to see more of Log Horizon this fall. I don’t know if we’ll actually have some light shed on the fact that this is a game and we have no idea what is going on in the real world or with the players’ bodies, but that concern isn’t so pressing right now to me. Perhaps as a few episodes pass that anxiety I had before will make itself known again.

There was also a bit of carry over from the previous season in Akatsuki’s attitude towards Minori. If you recall, Akatsuki overheard a conversation between Minori and Shiroe that made her question her understanding of her shishou. I can see why Akatsuki’s emotions would be in turmoil. She has long admired the guild head as both a leader and as a man. I might even go so far as to say that she feels she holds a special place by his side that no other guild member has the privilege of calling his or her own. But with the appearance of Minori, a girl who not only looks up to Shiroe in a similar manner, but also a player with the same class and skills, Akatsuki no longer feels unique. I hope that this season clears up any muddled feelings and that she is able to find solace in the truth that her relationship with Shiroe is special and can not be duplicated.

Surprise ingredient: There’s conflict once again with the People of the Land, if I am to understand the Kunie Clan’s origin correctly, and Akihabara’s Round Table is in danger of going bankrupt. As real as the game has become in environment and population, there’s no class set up for money lending for either players or NPCs. I’m glad they’re finally addressing this issue as the miraculous ways they were able to pull in capital in the first season were bound to fall flat over time. The solution of raiding gold from the Kunie Clan’s source doesn’t seem optimal, but I guess we’ll see where it takes us.

Sora no Method

I’m puzzled by this very pretty show so far. We’ve got some alien voodoo mixed up with several cases of memory loss, as well as a strangely silent saucer in the sky that has not moved for several years. Yuzuki seems to be the only one with common sense in her distrust and confusion about the saucer’s purpose. The rest of the cast appears to be suffering gaps in memory from childhood when Nonoka once lived in Lake Kiriya City. We were treated to a flashback that included a handful of friends–none of whom seem to remember Nonoka, and about whom she has apparently forgotten.

There has to be something more complicated underneath the surface that we and the young cast just aren’t aware of. Obviously the community knows something, as they’ve canceled all lake activities including the fireworks show that Yuzuki fondly recalls. And when she tries to go out to the island, it’s Nonoka who pulls her back.

Surprise ingredient: I’m withholding my judgement as of now, since there really isn’t much to go off of just yet. The colors and art are beautifully put together, but the characters are still cute little blobs.

Yowamushi Pedal: Grande Road

Everyone’s favorite cyclist is back! In grande form, the first episode still did not wrap up the day’s race that was the cliffhanger at the end of the first season. But that’s okay, because that’s just true to sports anime. Who doesn’t want more precious minutes devoted to Midosuji’s obsessed ramblings?

We are in for another two cours, so there are plenty of races ahead of us where we may finally see a showdown between Onoda and Manami. Onoda has already proven himself quite the amazing rider with his retrieval of Tadokoro and two pushes from the end to the front through the pack. I want to see more hime-song power and less Midosuji! The opening credits also featured some new rivals whom I’m excited to see. I would love it if they could take the place of Kyoto Fushimi, who has long worn out their welcome on the screen. Even with their back story and Ishigaki’s struggle, I just can’t sympathize with their team. This show has been great to watch with KWoo since he is a cyclist and has plenty of experience to compare to. We’re working a fun little post that I should hopefully publish soon!

Surprise ingredient: This show never ceases to amaze me how little ground in a race is actually covered in the entirety of an episode. The second one only covered 700 meters, and the third finished the race after attempting to extract some sympathy for its “villain” who I still think is an inexcusable scumbag. I do love sports anime’s ability to stir up excitement in a way that real life never could for me, but there’s a limit to how much I can allow back story and ill-timed chit-chat to push off the finish line.

Garo: Honoo no Kokuin

This is a fantastic season for fantasy, and Garo feels deliciously old-school with its story, art style, and characters. We’re reaching back, back, into the witch burning time of history, only in this world, witches aren’t demon worshippers or regular human beings; they’re magic users known as Makai knights, priests, and priestesses who protect mankind against Horrors, a.k.a. demons. They are what stand between the humans and the dark, and have steadily declined in the face of persecution and misunderstanding. Horrors have so deeply entrenched themselves into all levels of society, that it has become a common belief that “witches” are workers for evil instead of necessary defense.

Enter the Luis men, Zoro and his son, Leon. They share the terrible loss of Zoro’s wife, Leon’s mother, to the stake, and both are Makai Knights with their own sets of armor. However, the two personalities clash, with Zoro’s nightly antics raising doubt for both the viewer and Leon of his sincerity as a knight and father. I can’t help but like him, though, and I see his womanizing ways as an out for his frustrations and likely inability to bring himself to loving and endangering another woman ever again. Maybe that’s reading into it too much, but the scene where he escaped imprisonment to jump into the flames to save his son and give a last farewell to his wife are still vivid in my mind. As tortured as Leon may be, it would do him well to realize the depths his father would go to save him from true danger.

Surprise ingredient: I am enthralled by the Makai knight armor for both its design and origin. Where did they come from, and who are their makers? We are witnesses to a face-off between Zoro and a mysterious god-like entity to whom he isn’t quite subservient. I’m left with a distinct after taste of manipulation when Zoro questions the supposedly false commands they were given at the start of the burnings.

Amagi Brilliant Park

There aren’t any amusement parks where I grew up, though the occasional passing fair brought with it rides and games rigged to make sure you lost. I’ve always held amusement parks on a bit of a pedestal as magical places where fairy tales come to life. But I didn’t get to truly experience a theme park until well past the age of belief, and at the point, the illusion was shattered. Thankfully, none of the parks I went to were as bad along as Amagi Brilliant Park.

The overgrown pathways and low-budget attractions are both comical and depressing, and I would have probably avoided coming to this particular park upon a single read of its Yelp review. Unfortunately for Seiya, he doesn’t have that option when Isuzu drags him along on a “date” at the point of a gun. The entrance and bus stop name don’t match (Amagi Brilliant Park bus stop now sits next to a love hotel), the ground is broken up by nature, the attendance is almost empty with only old men and the occasional exasperated parent/child duo, and the workers give off a distinct air of despair and disillusion. What I didn’t expect was for this show to actually employ magic with characters from another place called Maple Land. I don’t know if Seiya has what it takes to turnaround the park and bring in the numbers needed to keep it open, but I look forward to seeing him clash with the workers (particularly Moffle).

Surprise ingredient: Moffle looks like a carbon copy of FMP Fumoffu’s Bonta-kun, a similarity acknowledged by the show as well. The connection becomes even stronger with the revelation that Moffle gains much of his popularity from his survival game fans. The many photos of cameo-clad teams happily posing with Moffle are hilarious given his grumpy personality and immediate dislike of Seiya.

Gugure! Kokkuri-san

I’m a sucker for these youkai-type shows with humans interacting with Japanese spirits. Kokkuri-san runs the comedic route, with Kohina as the protagonist. She’s an elementary school student who lives all alone in a giant traditional-style home. With no one to care for her or interact with her on a regular basis, she has become a bit of an oddball who eats nothing but cup noodles and avoids all communication with others in school or elsewhere. She prides herself on being a doll who has no need for emotions. But against all proclamations, she one day partakes in a game of kokkuri–imagine a Japanese version of the ouija board.

In response to her call comes a fox spirit, who dubs himself Kokkuri-san and at first is merely intent on scaring her. When she again states her status as a doll, he realizes that he instead wants to nurture her into a receptive human being. What follows is a steady battle against Kohina’s horrific diet and paper cut-out expressions. A good amount of the humor I take from this show is Kohina’s dead-pan delivery of insults and what in other situations would be clear confessions of depression. We do see her 3D face on occasion, but usually not of her own volition.

Surprise ingredient: As hilarious as the verbal spats are between Kokkuri-san and Kohina are, and later with the addition of Inugami, I still can’t shake the sense of abandonment that clings to the little girl. She’s all alone in this giant home, which should be illegal. Why is she left alone, and how did she turn into the loner that she is now? Even though I like the attitude of the anime as it is now, I do hope that it will give us a bit of insight into how Kohina is able to live alone and why she hides behind her doll facade.

Hitsugi no Chaika: Avenging Battle

I’m on board for this second season (there are quite a few this fall) and am excited to hopefully see an end to our Chaika’s search for the last of the emperor’s remains. This sequel started off pretty much exactly where the previous one ended, in the same format of journey, find hero, fight for remains, get remains, and move on. There are some refreshing new involvements with Vivi and Claudia that I hope will speed up the hunt so we move out of this search and find period and on to a full-on confrontation of the many Chaika and the elusive Guy.

It’s a bit of an odd sense as a viewer knowing that the main character might not be at all what we expect her to be. I started the series with the belief that “white” Chaika was the only daughter of the tyrannical Emperior Gaz, out to gather her father’s remains scattered across the earth. But after running into several other similar-looking girls also named Chaika, and after seeing Vivi’s partial transformation, I keep wondering if white Chaika was once a different person entirely. If she’s able to fulfill her purpose, will she become the one and only Chaika, drawing all other into her, or will she return to the person she may have been before? Or will they all just die, since the daughter of the emperor was supposedly killed all those years earlier?

Surprise ingredient: I’m glad this start introduced us to Claudia, a very different type of hero than all the others previously encountered. Against the norm, she does not use the remains and instead puts it away as a memento of her past achievements. Claudia chooses to focus on the present and future. I immediately respected her for her vision and compassion and would have loved to dine at her table and drink deeply of her wine.

Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis

Another wonderful fantasy to grace our screens, Bahamut again pits humans against demons, with the gods standing audience and contemplating their involvement. Like with Garo, this anime has a nostalgic feel of adventures we don’t see in animation anymore. I had thought for stories like this, I would have to stay firmly entrenched in the written word. Thankfully, Bahamut comes at us with its fool of a main character and his saucy lips.

I’ll say this plainly: I cannot stand Favaro. I dislike his orange sauce-covered-looking lips. I dislike his loud flair. I dislike his me-me-me mentality. I thought, “Serves you right!” when he woke up with a tail. If anything, I want to continue watching him just to see if Amira will kick his butt when she realizes that he has absolutely no idea how to get to Helheim. But for now, I’ll continue glaring at those lying eyes and hoping that Kaisar will turn up and spare me annoyance of Favaro’s company. As proud and appearance-driven as Kaisar is, it still beats the mushroom-head’s turncoat nature.

Surprise ingredient: I’m digging the art style of this show (other than those lips), particularly every time Amira transforms into her one-winged form and devastates another demon. I’m curious how much of her personality stands representative to Bahamut’s nature; as stoic as she can be most of the time, the way her face softens when talking about her mother, or lights up when drinking and dancing, don’t look to be the face of a destructive power bent of ending our world.

Shirobako

There’s already an anime about creating manga, anime about becoming an idol, and anime featuring characters trying to become voice actresses, so why not an anime about…making an anime? You really can’t get much more meta than this, but from what I’ve seen so far, I don’t think Shirobako will be really shedding light on the darker side of the industry. The series opens up on a high school anime club who promises to one day meet up again and create a work together as professionals, but fast forward to present, and we see Aoi looking dead tired running around as a production assistant. The stark contrast from excited high schooler to drained office worker is startling, and believable.

It’s important to note, however, that Aoi may look tired when we first see her in the field, but that weariness comes and goes as her passion for her job revitalizes her when she most needs it. As comical as I would have found it for the show to punch us in the gut with all the girls grown up and fully disillusioned with the industry, I preferred seeing Aoi’s placement and mentality. She doesn’t look like she’s given up yet on her dream, but also is dedicated to her current position and all its responsibilities. Setting the club’s goal on the back burner doesn’t mean it’ll be forgotten.

Surprise ingredient: I’ve seen voice actors show their stuff in person at panels and on screen, but I was reminded once again by this anime just how skilled these people really are. I loved hearing the slightest variations in the seiyuu’s voice using volume, pacing, pitch, and goodness knows what else. Then the later change up in music behind a key scene emphasized just how important music is for the mood of any given moment. Overly dramatic instruments like strings can falsify a feeling that doesn’t match up with the visuals or script.

Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu

Somewhere between a sci-fi and a horror, Kiseijuu feels thoroughly different from the other series this fall. I can’t help but think of the horror film Invasion of the Body Snatchers when viewing this anime. In that movie, an alien life form takes advantage of sleeping humans, stealing their form via giant seed pods and dispatching the original body. Kiseijuu instead involves living off of a host like a parasite. In the alien’s ideal scenario, they enter as seeds through the ear canal or nasal cavity and take over the brain, eliminating the host’s identity. In Shinichi’s case, the alien was unable to take its preferred route and instead attempted to invade through the hand. He was fortunate enough to awaken and prevent it from traveling up the arm, locking its growth to his right hand and maintaining his mind.

What makes this anime so odd to me is its alien’s personality, which differs greatly from Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ emotionless aliens. “Migi” is curious and driven to self-preservation, bantering with Shinichi in a way that I would not have expected from a parasitic life form. But its matter-of-fact outlook on co-existence can come across as disturbingly calculating in its practicality. I wonder if Migi will change in its mannerisms and preferences the more it associates with Shinichi.

Surprise ingredient: This is the stuff of some of my nightmares. I watched Invasion of the Body Snatchers when I was much too young, and the images burned themselves into my memory. I would often think of these kinds of aliens as I tried to sleep at night, and bury my entire body under the blanket, tucking in the edges in some vain hope that any malignant entity would be deterred by the covers.

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso

Your Lie in April came by unexpectedly, and it’s right up my alley. The last show I can recall featuring whole sections of classical music was Nodame Cantabile. And here, the protagonist again is familiar with his classical piano background and current freeze on performances. Unlike me, however, Arima was a prodigy who made a name for himself at a young age through concerts and competitions. I also happily did not have to deal with an abusive mother with unrealistically high standards. We are privy to flashback snapshots of him as a child performing, crying at the mercy of his mother, and failing on the stage. It’s a horrifying image of the pressure children often face at the demands of adults with little patience or sympathy.

Now, we don’t know the circumstances behind his mother’s obsession; maybe she was a concert pianist who never made the heights she had anticipated, or maybe she simply took pride in Arima’s accomplishments. What we see is a boy who no longer practices, much less performs. Interestingly enough, he makes cash off of his ability to transpose popular songs onto sheet music. I’m already impressed at his ability to do this, but that doesn’t seem to be the focus of the show. Instead both we and he are thrust into Kaori’s light, a young violinist whose vibrant personality takes over her music no matter the notations. I have a feeling that she will draw out the heart of the pianist and bring him to life in a way that his studies before never did.

Surprise ingredient: I can’t even imagine the awesome opportunities that are available to him where he lives–having grown up in a tiny town, there were no college professors to teach me, no competitions to sign up for, and only community churches as stages for concerts. It wasn’t until I hit high school that I found the bigger stages and made friendships with rivals and teachers. Arima is fortunate whether he takes advantage of the openings or not.

Bonjour Koiaji Patisserie

Yumeiro Patissiere this is not, but the vibes are definitely there with one gentle girl set up as the cherry on top of the cream of the crop, talented young male patissieres who are bound to fall for her sweets. You’ll have to note, though, that three of the four options are teachers. They look and act young, but there’s no denying the line between student and teacher that I’m sure this show will delight in treading and likely crossing.

I’ve given up over the past years in ever finding a reverse harem equal to one of my favorites, La Corda d’Oro. Most feature dimwitted but pretty girls with zero personality–yet somehow they attract the sexiest men around. Too often, those same men have severe mental issues that in anime form somehow makes them irresistible to female characters. 25-30 minutes of this agonizing search for the perfect guy has gotten to me and I’ve been skipping the reverse harems lately. But, Bonjour Koiaji Patisserie might just make the cut this time due to its short run-time. Each episode is only five-minutes long.

Surprise ingredient: By default, I prefer the baker who specializes in traditional Japanese confections (like YP’s Andou). It wouldn’t even have to be Japanese; I just tend to gravitate towards Asian treats over American or even European desserts. Overly sweet tastes overwhelm my palate, and I like the subtleties that a little bitterness or saltiness can create when mixed with a natural sweetness.

Psycho-Pass 2

We’re in for another roller coaster with the sequel to Psycho-Pass, a sci-fi I’m not sure warranted a second season but a welcome participant nonetheless. I did thoroughly enjoy the first season; I’m just surprised at the success this show has had with fans and that it’s not only been slotted for this second season, but also for a movie at the start of 2015. With the truth behind Sibyl having been revealed in the last series to Akane, I wonder if this sequel will blow the cover for the public. The gears look to be turning a bit in that direction, with the first incident featuring a man who is inexplicably able to bring down his dangerously high psycho pass to a safe, even harmless, range within mere hours. Being able to do so over years is viewed as impossible enough–take a look at the Enforcers for evidence. Someone, somewhere, is making it possible for high hitters to merge seamlessly back into society. Whether that’s a bad or a good thing, though, is obviously up for discussion.

Looking at these first two episodes, I am thoroughly peeved with some of the new cast members–namely Inspector Shimotsuki Mika. She’s a mirror of the naive Akane, but with more of an underlying persistence to her sense of justice. I don’t recall ever feeling the same level of annoyance with Akane as I do now with Mika, I hope she comes around quickly in her opinions on Enforcers and the solidity of the psycho pass.

Surprise ingredient: WC? Who doesn’t first think of “water closet”? I know I did!

Yuki Yuna wa Yuusha de Aru

I don’t know how long I’ll stick with this show given my track record with WIXOSS and Genei wo Kakeru Taiyou. I liked both of those shows at the start, then petered out midway through. Genei I deemed bleh enough to completely drop, but I still have infected WIXOSS backlogged, and plan to follow up with spread WIXOSS when time allows. Yuki Yuna still has my interest with its bright pastels and cell phone application. I keep waiting for darkness to overtake the bright colors, or a distorted reversal to emerge like in Madoka. We do get hints of burnt edges whenever the Vertex do enough damage to affect the real world, but they’re short-lived warnings.

As it was with the other shows, I think what will determine my continued attention are the characters. I am easily turned off by little girl drama like incestuous romance or desperation for friendship. They’re overdone and too often accompanied by strings and free-flowing tears. Spare me the monologues on girl power and friendship! I enjoyed seeing Togo move past her handicap and fight for Yuna’s sake–those long ribbons are pretty awesome, and I would love to also see a monstrous, intelligent wheelchair.

Surprise ingredient: Who in the world has the time to both fight a world-ending monster and talk on the phone? Apparently the battles are slow paced enough to allow for a quick dial and chat. And what happens if the phone gets smacked out of your hand or is destroyed? Do you lose your magical girl powers? Who in the world thought activation through a cell phone was an ideal method?

Mushishi Zoku Shou 2nd Season

Time never seems to run away with Mushishi, and we’re right back where we paused with the first portion of Zoku Shou. This continuation begins with a turn back in time to Ginko’s youth, when he was still a wondering boy plagued by mushi. He did not yet have his repellent smoke or any purpose in his travels. If you’re familiar with Mushishi and have seen both the first season and the first part of the second season, you’ll recall Ginko’s back story with Nui before his hair was white. Now we see him again as a young man, after having met Nui but before becoming the mushi we see later on. It’s strange to see him insecure in his worth and almost as foolish as many of the people he encounters as an adult. I thought this a fabulous way to bring us back in to the setting and remind us of his vulnerability.

Mountain lords have been discussed a few times already in the series, but this instance features a dying lord with its replacement still undiscovered. It’s a fearful idea that an entity who has lived for so long will soon be gone–if a new lord is not born, the mountain will wither. The closest thing to a “dead” mountain that I’ve ever seen is one that recently suffered a wildfire. But it’s always important to keep in mind that something as destructive as a wildfire can sometimes be quite replenishing to the area. Even with the death of a mountain lord, a new one is bound to be born again and the cycle will continue. Ginko made an extremely costly blunder, but will learn from that mistake and become wiser for it.

Surprise ingredient: It constantly amazes me how this show continues to be profound and induce discussion despite its frequent silence. Many of the same images reappear from episode to episode, yet are different enough to distinguish themselves from one another. Mushishi is gifted in its meditative moments that remind us that the things that surround often mirror what’s inside.

Sanzoku no Musume Ronja

It won’t come as any surprise if this show turns out a lot of mixed reviews, in large part because of its studio’s history and perceived viewer demographic. This is the first anime series produced by the renown Studio Ghibli and the makers of Knights of Sidonia, Polygon Pictures. The firsts are definite shockers: this is the first time Ghibli has tread into the television series realm, and this is the first time they have implemented almost complete CG animation. I imagine a lot of die-hard Ghibli fans will be repulsed by the graphics and might even view Ronja as a grim marker of direction for the studio. However, I recalled my enjoyment of Sidonia despite its CG, and was encouraged by Enzo’s comparison of this story to one of my favorites, Kemono no Souja Erin.

So I sat and watched the two-episode pilot, then eagerly picked up the third episode. My interest in the robbers quickly grew and I was able to easily overlook the CG and focus on the setting and characters. A persistent question nagging me is a curiosity about where all the other women are in the Mattis gang–we only see Ronja and her mother, Lovis. The rest are men ranging from young adulthood to the elderly. Given the livelihood of Mattis, I’m not surprised that these men might have some difficulty settling down with women and supporting full families. Instead, the entire gang of robbers is its own family unit, ones who thieve together, dine together, and maintain a home together. When Ronja is born, she essentially becomes the daughter of them all.

Surprise ingredient: Once Ronja passes infancy as a little girl, but before hitting puberty, her parents judge her old enough to leave the castle walls. I’m not surprised they allowed her to play outside, but was amazed they encouraged her to go as far as she did and as long as the sun was up. It’s unheard of in this day and age for adults to send their kids out to play without supervision, at least from what I’ve seen here in America. Without technology like cell phones, handheld game consoles, or simple watches, Ronja is able to fully appreciate what the forest has to offer, and does so with a passion that makes me yearn for a similar reaction. I loved watching her laugh at the wild water (the giggling did get a bit…too much, admittedly), chase the squirrel, and fearlessly climb a tree. I bet in no time at all she’ll have those gray dwarves fleeing.

Ongoing:

  • Akame ga Kill!
    I’m still curious to see whether or not Esdeath will have her way with Tatsumi, or if he’ll forever be subject to luscious Leone’s teasing.
  • Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon: Crystal
    When is this going to get…less formulaic?
  • Diamond no Ace
    Go go go, Seidou!! Bring down Inashiro!!!
  • Sword Art Online II
    It’s out of GGO and back into ALO–which is a shame because I enjoyed the combat of GGO and wanted to see more of the characters there now that the tournament is over. Oh well. Flying elephant octopi are cool, I guess.

Backlogged:

  • Trinity Seven
    Kinda scary/awesome first episode that is now just a harem. Maybe it’ll change up?
  • Ore, Twintails ni Narimasu
    I watched with KWoo, who wants to keep up with this…I really just end up with twintail envy since my hair is currently too short to even put into a ponytail😦
  • Madan no Ou Vanadis
    I’m still pending on my decision regarding this show. I love archery and like seeing it in the spotlight, here, but still find the main guy pretty yawn-worthy.

Dropped:

  • Magic Kaito 1412
    I don’t find Lupin remotely interesting, and Magic Kaito can get out of here with those noses.
  • Denki-gai no Honya-san
    Horrible, horribleness in a manga store.
  • World Trigger
    Ugly art. Dis-interesting characters. Lame first battle.
  • Cross Ange
    I couldn’t even get five minutes into this show. Those outfits and stupid mecha.
  • Ai Tenchi Muyo!
    I would have been curious except for these being shorts.
  • Inou-Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de
    No.

11 thoughts on “Fall 2014 Set Menu

  1. I’ve heard mostly good things about Ronja but man, that CGI. I was able to get past it for Sidonia and if you paused the show the CGi generally looked okay, here even the still shots are turning me off.:\

    Like

  2. WIXOSS 2
    Girl Friend BETA
    Yuki Yuna wa Yusha de Aru
    Denki-Gai no Honya-san
    Hi-sCOOOL! SeHa Girls
    Sora no Method
    Shirobako
    Cross Ange (Yuri and because I want to see how much worse the show can get. It is so bad).

    Log Horizon 2 and Psycho-Pass 2 are on hold till I eventually finish their first seasons.

    Like

  3. Definitely some interesting shows this season, unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to see many yet (I was pleasantly surprised by the first episode of Shirobako, though). I’ll certainly check a couple of these out. Best wishes!

    Like

  4. I’m going to suggest quite strongly that I believe you’ve made a mistake dropping Inou Battle, if only for Hatoko’s AMAZING rant in episode 7 which should earn Saori Hayami whatever seiyuu get instead of an Oscar.

    But actually, there’s a lot more to the show than that, from it’s gentle (and not-so-gentle) humour to the surprising amount of empathy shown by the protagonist and the oddly sympathetic portrayal of his chuuni personality (although that might be justified, under the circumstances).

    And now there seems to be an over-arching plot as well coming in with Episode 8 and the possibility of real development in the characters and their powers. It’s quickly becoming one of my favourites to be honest, along with Your Lie In April. I understand it’s the same team who created Kill La Kill (a show I did actually drop after 8 or 9 episodes) so I think it would be a mistake to underestimate it. In fact, based on Inou Battle, I may well go back and Kill La Kill myself marathoning that show too🙂

    Like

    • Well, I didn’t technically drop it…I never even started it!😛 Thank you for the recommendation–I’ll try to give the show a try sometime during the holidays when I have a bit more time. I’m not sure I can wait until far into the eighth episode for character development, since characterization is one of the most important aspects to a show for me, but I’ll try to hold back my skepticism!

      Your Lie in April has been great from a music performance point-of-view, though I’m not quite yet on board with Kaori’s character and the way she pushed Arima into being her accompanist. I could rave about that for a bit, but I’ll refrain! The art really is quite beautiful and I always looks forward to what the next episode will feature in music.

      I’ve got Kill la Kill backlogged for watching during a slow season…whenever THAT happens🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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