Spring 2015 Set Menu

We’re into the third and fourth weeks of the spring season, and I’ve finally decided upon my line-up. They’re not in any real order, other than viewing order, and span a variety of genres. Many of them are sequels, the majority of which retain a very similar feel to their prequels. I’m also noticing more and more CG these days, sometimes tastefully inserted during actions scenes where characters are smaller and less unnatural-looking, and at other times overwhelming (see my dropped list). Anyways, have a look-see and let me know what you think and what shows you’re watching that I’ve skipped this time around!

  • Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works (TV) 2nd Season
  • Shokugeki no Souma
  • Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken S2
  • Hibike! Euphonium
  • Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha ViVid
  • Daiya no Ace 2
  • Baby Steps 2nd Season
  • Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka
  • Hello! Kin-iro Mosaic
  • Owari no Seraph
  • Arslan Senki
  • Kyoukai no Rinne
  • Ore Monogatari!!
  • Gunslinger Stratos
  • Kekkai Sensen
  • Koukaku Kidoutai: Arise – Alternative Architecture
  • Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu
  • Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku
  • Plastic Memories
  • Houkago no Pleiades
  • Sidonia no Kishi: Dai-kyuu Wakusei Sen’eki

Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works (TV) 2nd Season

It’ll be four weeks before I can jump back into this series, since I saw the first three episodes during the official screening at Sakura-con on the first week of April. It was phenomenal getting to watch all three at once on the big screen, though I’ll likely need to re-watch them since the subtitles were impossible to see with the crowd of heads in the way.

The opening of the continuation is slow, which isn’t too surprising given the turn of events that wrenched Saber away from our main character. There is a shocking development that turns Archer against Rin, though I think any viewer of the first season could have anticipated his move after Rin’s earlier resolution to continue supporting Shirou. While I get why Archer disapproves of her plans, I still can’t get on board with his actions and attitude. I’m hoping that on top of wanting to prevent Rin from self-destructing, he will also be able to meddle with Saber’s entrapment and bring about Caster’s downfall.

The scenes don’t really become interesting until the end of the second episode and the events of the third. If you didn’t see the Sakura-con screening, you may want to skip the next two paragraphs since they include spoilers. I was excited to see Sella, who earned my affection in the spin-off series, Prisma Illya, but her time in F/sn is incredibly brief and ends violently. What follows is a fantastically choreographed showdown between Gilgamesh and Berserker that left me actually agonizing for Illya and cheering on her Servant. Her back story after Kiritsugu and Irisviel’s departure shows a cold and brutal treatment by the Einzbern family head. The love she held for her parents is twisted into an ugly revenge with Shirou as its unfortunate target. I’ll be very interested to see if after this battle, her story again follows the original by having her live with Shirou and Rin. The depth of her feelings about her family would make that path less likely, but I really want Illya to again have a family who cares for her and protects her smile.

Surprise ingredient: The snowy scenes with Illya, Berserker, and the wolves are beautifully drawn. Illya has always been representative of the northern wilderness, but I never felt it so keenly as I did until we are shown her stranded in the cold. I was literally clenching a pillow to my face in fear of the wolves, imagining their teeth tearing away at my own skin. When Berserker suddenly arrives and brutally dispatches them, a never before feeling of gratification for his character was born. Staff did a fantastic job of relaying Illya and Berserker’s relationship–I’d go so far as to say it is the best so far of this particular war.

Shokugeki no Souma

I’ve already blogged this opening episode with a recipe since I couldn’t wait until after this set menu post :p I am beyond excited to see this anime airing after having read the currently published manga, which is still ongoing. I think of this anime and something of a cross between the battling of Yakitate! Japan, and the sensuous eating of Koufuku Grafitti–only the eroticism in Shokugeki no Souma is miles beyond both.

There’s not too much of a difference here in art between the manga and the anime, and the first episode perfectly followed and captured the magic of the opening chapter. Souma and his father are animated exactly as I imagined, with their grins and confidence, and occasional disaster dish. What didn’t shine, however, was Erina’s entrance to the screen. I didn’t like her much in the manga,either, but seeing her in anime-form just further emphasized her holier-than-thou attitude. Now I really can’t stand her character and the way she looks down on cuisines and cooks. I took great satisfaction in her failure of Souma being overthrown by her own grandfather. In contrast, Souma’s battle and acceptance into the Polar Star Dorm lived up to expectations, and his dorm mates are all hilariously unique in their personalities and cooking styles. It’s the perfect environment for Souma, one with friendly peers, but also ones who will challenge him into greater heights.

Surprise ingredient: I’m really excited to see all the different foods cooked up in this series, and will try to make my own versions whenever I can. If any of the weeks have a particularly tasty-looking dish you’d like to see me try, please do let me know!

Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken S2

Shorts with Kaoru and Hajime are back, along with what appears to be better visuals and a more streamlined storytelling format. Before, the gags were broken apart into distinct segments, which usually felt too abrupt in beginning and ending. Here, the jokes extend a bit longer, and transition more smoothly. While this does lessen the amount of separate scenes, I find the overall quality much improved. The gist of the show remains the same–fairly normal Kaoru is married to otaku Hajime, the two bending and adapting to the other in silly, but heart-touching ways.

Surprise ingredient: I also admire the anime for not skirting the physical aspects of marriage. Their desire is plainly and frequently expressed. With it, their marriage is more tangible and desirable.

Hibike! Euphonium

Another show right up my alley airs this spring, this time in the field of music. There’s an obvious similarity to another of the studio’s works, K-ON!, with the art and female student population. Where the uniqueness emerges is in the type of music played and the attitude of the club members. It’s a blast to the past for me with the concert setting. Even more intriguing is the highlighted instrument of the euphonium, a low brass member with little melody or dynamic visuals. Most non-musicians forget it when naming band instruments, opting for its larger cousin, the tuba, or brother, the baritone. I’m excited to see the “euph” take center stage here with our main character.

We are quickly given a goal: a national placing among high school bands. The aim is yet another refreshing addition to music anime; the ones I’ve seen typically aim for smaller stages like the cultural fair, school ceremonies, or local events. Slogans like “Let’s go to Nationals!” are usually reserved for sports shows. I’m hoping for some memorable concert “battles” and rival musicians. The pairing of cute and sweet girls and national competition, particularly for KyoAni, sounds odd, but I won’t rule out anything yet. There’s obviously drama form the past bubbling up and disturbing the current band members, lending a very different vibe than usual for this studio.

Surprise ingredient: This show is also of special interest to me because of KWoo, who played euphonium from high school up through college. It’s fun hearing his feedback on the anime’s portrayal of the instruments’ appearance and performance. Maybe watching this show will renew his passion for playing again after all these years, and I can accompany him on the piano!

Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha ViVid

It’s been a long time since I law saw Fate, Nanoha, and many other familiar faces, but it sure is nice to see them again refreshed and several years older. The Nanoha franchise is a large one, with a huge cast and history backing it. With ViVid’s focus now on the younger generation, it looks like we’ll be delving into ancient history with memories and books of the Belkan Wars and queens. I’m excited to learn of Vivio’s and Einhart’s ancestors and their own plans for the future.

Currently, Vivio holds Nanoha’s family name and lives with her and Fate (I do love that they’ve formed their own family). Despite her troubling past, she’s grown to be an admirable girl intent on learning everything about, well, everything! I really wish I had felt a similar desire to physically and intellectually challenge myself more when I was her age. That maturity reaps the gift of her own intelligence device called “Chris” with an Adult Mode–physically transforming her into an adult to better handle the stress of battling and magic. Chris also has a nostalgic official name of Sacred Heart, which refers to Nanoha’s ID. It doesn’t appear that Vivio suffers additional memories like Einhart does, but I’m still excited to see the two face off for the first time.

Surprise ingredient: I first picked up the original series back in 2008 when I first worked with ISML. As staff, I felt a responsibility to watch all the shows of the girls involved in the tournament. Nanoha was one that claimed me and kept me coming back for each sequel, spin-off, and movie.

Daiya no Ace 2

There’s honestly not too much to say here about the sequel, since the first three weeks have all been recap of the previous 75-episode series. I’m still extremely pumped to see our team fight it out for Nationals again after losing their seniors, despite worrying a great deal for Eijun who still suffers from the yips. Hopefully this has been a good three-week break for staff to launch us into the grind again.

Baby Steps 2nd Season

We’re right back where we ended the last season and on to a new beginning with Maruo’s trip to America for training. His time there will be short, but he’ll be at a tennis-dedicated facility surrounded by pros and pro-hopefuls, breathing in the sport day and night. Being back on the court with Maruo feels as refreshing as before. He’s an incredible young man who works hard and learns quickly. I remain impressed at his dedication to self-improvement, and wasn’t surprised at his non-Western approach to bettering his chance to win against the other hard hitters.

On top of the different techniques encountered, Maruo also forms a losing habit. The habit is strange given his quick adjustment to powerful hits and two-step attacks from opponents. He’s improving at a staggering rate, yet it takes over a week for him to realize that he’s become accustomed to losing. I can certainly understand the desire to win actually causing the opposite effect due to tightening up and forgetting to trust your instincts.

Surprise ingredient: Natsu’s brief screen time is just enough to remind me how much I like her. She not only supports Maruo, but also helps him relax and improve. Her request to Ike-kun to help worked beautifully and provided non-stop experience for Maruo’s growth.

Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka (DanMachi)

Finally, I see where the heck this strange cosplay I’ve been seeing all over my Twitter comes from–the goddess from this show! I’ve also read quite a few negative responses regarding this anime, but I found it reasonably fun with its dungeon battles and patron gods. I’m reminded of Magi, whose dungeon also set apart exceptional individuals from the main populace. DanMachi leans more towards a very game-like leveling system, with abilities and attributes displayed like stats on a holographic-like interface which I can only imagine is the power manifested by the gods. Improvements can be found both in the dungeons through fighting and by the conditioning of your god or goddess. Particular blessings, or skills, bestowed by your benefactor can significantly aid your battle leveling.

This is where our main character, Bell, steps in. Appearance-wise, he’s insignificant. He’s small, not particularly strong or fast, and lacking in strategy. To heap hurt upon hurts, he is the only member of a family to a little-known goddess, who doesn’t have enough wealth to even buy a dress for the god’s banquets, much less better gear for her only member. The barriers to growth are high, but luck and determination may bring about the impossible. Hestia’s dedication to Bell is also nothing to scoff at. They have a phenomenal chance to catch up to the big leagues. I just hope that through the pursuit, he doesn’t forget his origins, and the people who made his dreams possible.

Surprise ingredient: The opening scene where Bell first meets Aiz Wallenstein of the Loki family was a great way to introduce us to the lead and help us quickly understand his current skills. Not only was he completely drenched by the blood of someone else’s kill, which saved his life, but he then had to walk home through the city with everyone guessing what had happened. The humiliating scene easily sets the viewer on his side wanting to see him grow and take the spoils of his own successful raids.

Hello! Kin-iro Mosaic

Another sequel to grace us this spring, the charm and gentle comedy feels just as endearing as before. Hello! wastes no time in gathering all the girls together for a new school year. Who is new to the scene is Kuzehashi-sensei, a young, but stern-faced, woman.

I don’t recall many other female characters like her, though there are plenty examples of males with a similar affliction of a deceivingly angry/intimidating face. Don’t mistake her for a tsundere–she can be just as sweet on the outside as on the inside if given the chance. Karen’s quick realization of the teacher’s kindness is surprising and hilariously received. I don’t blame Kuzehashi-sensei for feeling bewildered by the random gifts and encounters. I’ll be interested to see her warm up even more in her interactions with the students.

Surprise ingredient: The entire section in the second episode on teatime was so perfectly executed. I, too, love teatime with its varities of tea, mini sandwiches, scones and cream, and biscuits. But I like to dine for tea anywhere but home, since the prep work is ridiculously time intensive. I actually laughed out loud when Shino’s sister pointed out that the sun had long since set by the time everything was ready.

Owari no Seraph

I was already looking forward to this show before the first episode, based on the trailer I saw at this past Sakura-con with WIT studio. The character design and premise look like a ton of fun, and I’ve been loving WIT’s artistic style these past few years. With that said, this show did not disappoint me, juxtaposing different worlds, species, and class systems. That opening scene where the majority of adults die form a virus, and the remaining children are captured by vampires is terrifying. Then when we later see those same kids treated like livestock in an underground kingdom, it’s like the world they originally came from, our world, was only ever a dream. I do have to admit, though, that I saw the outcome of Hyakuya’s orphan family coming a mile away. There was much too much time spent on the warmth of their feelings for one another, and a wish for a future…it was practically begging to be torn apart by the vampires. Mikaela’s plan for an escape and stolen map were too good to be true.

The following time skip to Hyakuya after he alone escapes back into the world where some humans have started re-establishing a society shows him surly and alone. I’m not surprised at his refusal to befriend anyone based on his past experience, and was further confused about why he had been left alone for so long by the men who had discovered him after his escape. I expected him to be something more of a child guerrilla fighter. The current route isn’t too bad either, since I do believe that very little can be done on your own without teamwork.

Surprise ingredient: True to form, the art and animation of the demon weapons are pretty amazing. When Hiiragi first transformed her pen into a scythe and whipped it around, I was just as shocked and excited as Hyakuya. What is it, and where can I get one?! The truth of its nature as a demon weapon that can possess any who touch it unless a contract is formed is enough to make most people pull away, but Hyakuya obviously lacks such misgivings. I can’t wait to see him find his own weapon and grow strong enough to take his revenge.

Arslan Senki

With two fantastic high fantasies having recently ended (Rage of Bahamut and Garo), I’m giddy at the entrance of Arslan Senki, a long-running fantasy novel series with corresponding anime films and an OVA series. The show takes place in a Persia-inspired world, where our young prince leads a carefree life of wealth and privilege. There are clear signs of neglect on both his mother’s and father’s parts, one aloof in her own thoughts, the other physically absent on constant campaigning and warring. There is some affection for the prince to be found among the king’s vassals, a couple of whom train Arslan in fighting. He has turned out to be surprisingly lighthearted and ignorant of the price paid for his kingdom’s security.

Slavery is a major issue raised in this series, along with religious fanaticism and war. When Arslan first speaks with a slave of war, young Etoile, he’s surprised at the differences in thought regarding slavery and god. After the kindness he’s learned to share based on those who care for him, this is his second step towards being a better man than his father. When we see him again four years later, he’s looks very much the same. His maiden voyage to battle is expected to be an easy win, though I knew from the start that he would have a very different outlook on the fight than many of his people. Sure enough, nothing goes as planned, and we’re treated to a horrific display of tactics and treachery. I can’t wait to see how Arslan will change following this battle.

Surprise ingredient: There’s an interesting lack of females in these past few episodes, with main ones being Arslan’s mother and her entourage. The show doesn’t feel like one geared towards females given the harsh natures and visages of many of the cast members, but I have a feeling this will an anime just as popular with female audiences as with men, maybe even more so.

Kyoukai no Rinne

I thought I’d have two shows this season with the whole “I can see ghosts” premise, but only Kyoukai no Rinne made the cut this time around. The setting, characters, and humor are geared towards a younger, middle school/high school audience, and are simple to understand. Our main girl, Sakura Mamiya, has been able to see the spirits of the dead ever since an experience from young childhood where she wandered into a world between life and rebirth. She’s usually able to easily shrug off encounters without much ramification on her normal every day life. It’s not really until she enters high school and meets Rokudou that her ability begins to affect her daily routine.

This show actually feels like a throwback to older anime for me, and I’m not sure if it’s because of the art style, character design, or plot. This nostalgic feeling might be one of the major reasons why I feel drawn to the anime. Both Sakura and Rokudou are straightforward and good at heart, that it’s hard to not like them. They both also share oddly calm personalities for high school students–none of the otherworldly encounters seen so far seem to really phase either one of them. I’ll be interested to see how their relationship changes over the course of the show, and whether or not Sakura will begin to take a more active part in Rokudou’s cleansing of various spirits.

Surprise ingredient: Rokudou’s human bloodline makes it so that he lacks the natural abilities of his shinigami grandmother. Almost all the tools of his trade, other than his Haori of the Underworld, require money to purchase and use. I find it strange that there are vendors selling devices for shinigami and exorcism when their world supposedly should not be visited by humans–perhaps they’re selling to non-humans and non-shinigami, but to other otherworldly beings we haven’t met yet? Regardless, the silly amounts of money required for Rokudou to acquire often single-purpose instruments add up to amounts that make him avoid paying for rent, food, and clothes. Thank goodness he at least has his haori!

Ore Monogatari!!

I knew from just the promo art that I would be on board for this romantic comedy, whose protagonist is the intimidating but gentle giant, Gouda Takeo. Compared to others of the same age, he looks like an adult, with his massive frame and muscles. It’s made pretty clear from the beginning that he’s also not much of a looker, with thick lips, narrow eyes, and large nose. All of the girls he’s ever had feelings for end up falling for his handsome friend instead, the laid back Makoto, who shows zero interest in a relationship. Despite this, they’ve remained best friends since childhood, neither one ever landing a girlfriend. Enter Rinko, another tiny and sweet-looking girl who is a fantastic baker. It’s clear to Takeo that she, like all the others, will fall for Makoto. What he doesn’t see, however, is that her interest point in his direction. It’s almost ridiculous how blind Takeo is to her intentions, which do not include Makoto. I can’t help but really, really like Rinko and cheer on the unlikely couple. If there’s anything barring Takeo from starting a relationship with her, it’s his own feeling of inferiority.

Something that does irk me a bit is Takeo’s confusion over his friendship with Makoto. He repeatedly wonders why they’re friends, going so far as to agonize over all the girls choosing Makoto over him. By his age, he should understand that Makoto is the type of friend that most people would wish for: observant, loyal, and caring. When the two finally talk about what it is they like in girls, it should’ve been immediately apparent to Takeo that there was something more to Makoto’s refusal of past confessions than disinterest. I want to see more of an appreciation for their friendship on Takeo part as this show progresses.

Surprise ingredient: It was an unexpected treat to learn of Rinko’s penchant for baking. Her cheesecake, then macarons, mmmMMM mmmmm! Macarons are hands down one of my favorite French desserts and one I’ve always been too intimidated to try making. I’d likely crush them when moving them around ><

Gunslinger Stratos

Near the bottom of my anticipation list, Gunslinger Stratos is alright. I’m still puzzled over the whole “our world is coming to an end” thing, with these crow-represented Timekeepers playing god on our main character’s futuristic timeline. Their means of going about ending humankind through degradation doesn’t make sense, particularly since they provide a list of upcoming victims. What’s the point? Then there’s the inexplicable phenomenon of the 2015 stage world where our main characters from the future timeline have to battle their selves from an unknown timeline. Where do these doppelgangers come from, and why is it specifically our 2015 year the one chosen for their fights? I’m sure these questions are the main drivers to this show, but I’m more annoyed than intrigued. As of now, the logic is simply missing, and I’m not a strong enough fan of anyone yet to feel strong in my decision to watch this through to the end. I’ll ride along for now and see where the crows take us😉

Surprise ingredient: Despite side characters asserting the normality of Kazasumi Tohru, there does seem to be something special about him that the others do not exhibit. His seeming coincidental fall into the 2015 timeline has no explanation. Then there’s the tangible evidence left behind from the little girl he saw just before falling between worlds. Maybe she actually is his sister from another timeline, one he’s forgotten or forced to forget. I don’t often see anime treat time travel very well, but I am curious to see where the anime will go with the little sister figure.

Kekkai Sensen

Did anyone else get a vibe from this show similar to Baccano! or Durarara!!? There’s a unique urban cowboy feeling to this show, which isn’t too surprising given the mangaka’s work on Trigun. The setting is another futuristic one with aliens and advanced technology, but I feel like I’m more in the wild west due to the lawlessness and bounty hunter-like attitude of the characters. Throw in a bit of the supernatural with Leonard Watch’s god eyes, and we’re in for a wild, shoot-’em-up ride in the heart of New York City, now dubbed “Jerusalem’s Lot” after a mysterious portal to the Beyond opened up in the city. Our location is an isolated one, with Jerusalem’s Lot flanked on all sides by a barrier that separates them from everyone else.

Lenoard is our entrance to the organization Libra, one that upholds the peace and prevents the otherworldly pouring out into their city from escaping the borders. His inexperience with fighting and the crime world are beneficial to us since it helps slow down the deluge of strange information and forces the story to explain situations so that both he and we understand. As colorful and strange as this world is, we’re able to grasp onto it along with Leonard and attempt to hold on.

Surprise ingredient: Other aspects about this show that remind me of the aforementioned works (both by Narita Ryougo) are its very stylistic art and music. Both are phenomenally presented in memorable ways that excite and induce 40s-era zoot suit parodies. I want to don a twirly dress and fur coat and get to dancing to this soundtrack! My only complaint about the art is that it is occasionally tries too hard to impress, for instance with the battle moves naming themselves boldly across the screen. I very rarely find this presentation helpful, and usually a waste of time, from the actual fight.

Koukaku Kidoutai: Arise – Alternative Architecture

I’m not very knowledgeable about the Ghost in the Shell franchise, as my only dabbling into it includes the movie Ghost in the Shell 2.0 and a couple episodes of Ghost in the Shell: Arise. I never got around to reading the original works or seeing Stand Alone Complex, and actually watched a bit of Digibro’s informative video before beginning Alternative Architecture to try to understand its timeline in the overall franchise. I also watched the first episode of AA with KWoo, who has zero background with the series. His interest seemed to wane as dialogue eclipsed action, but I think with the right mood, this’ll be a worthwhile addition to our seasonal line-up.

I’ve only see the opening episode of this series so far, and will likely let it build up a bit and watches a few at time. It feels like the type of anime I’d want to watch in chunks–I tend to forget many little details with dialogue and character heavy shows from week to week unless I’ve seen more than just 25 minutes at a time. From what I saw here, we’ll be covering the four OVA episodes. Since I haven’t actually finished the OVA series, this seemed like a good chance to catch up and then some, since this tv series will also tie in to a film later this year. So far, the Major seems a bit more feminine here than in 2.0, but not as much as the few scenes I’ve seen from SAC. She also appears younger and a bit uncertain at times, both of which are at odds with her high combat ability and usual confidence.

Surprise ingredient: I was always  interested in the tachikoma with their child-like voices and playful, inquisitive personalities, and I hope to see much of them featured in AA. The idea of riding inside one is a bit repulsive given my image of them as children, but maybe it’ll turn out better than expected if it comes to fruition.

Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu

Ahhh, finally, a show focusing primarily on Nagato Yuki to follow up on the film, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya. I know I am not alone in my shock over just how different this show was from my expectations. This is not the Nagato Yuki we knew and cared for, though the voice is the same. This is a completely different Nagato Yuki, who plays video games instead of reads, openly shows emotions instead of internalizing the, and is a human instead of an alien. There is no SOS Brigade and no mentions of the otherworldly. What we have here is a very normal high school anime with familiar names and faces, but a totally different story.

Once I got over my initial horror at what had been done to the Nagato Yuki I love, I started to roll with the comedy and laugh at this new Yuki’s quirks. So far, there are only two members in the Literature Club, including previous main character, Kyon. Many other familiar characters pop up, such as Mikuru, Ryouko, and Tsuruya. The show took a distinctly rom-com feel with the Christmas episode and Yuki’s desire to profess her feelings to Kyon. I don’t know if this alternate reality will hold up for the length of the series given Haruhi’s brief appearance, but I’ll  keep my mind open and follow along.

Surprise ingredient: Though the original series was still heavy on the female cast, the skew is even more pronounced here with Kyon being the only male so far. I’m having a bit of a wariness that this’ll turn into a standard harem, particularly if Mikuru joins the club, and maybe eventually even Haruhi.

Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku

Calm down, Eruna, and focus on getting yourself club member rights! Mikagura takes a very basic set up of a transfer student and mixes it with a unique school premise, one that circles on cultural clubs–which is the only type of club to be found at the academy. These clubs battle among each other with super powers associated with their craft using a tool unique to each student. Your choice of club affects everything about your time there: boarding, showers, food, and school standing. For a hopeless girl like Eruna, this would usually not be the best choice of schools. But due to a personal invitation and legendary bloodline, she finds herself in the top-tier Going Home Club. Like its head, Eruna is able to trigger attacks without any sort of artifact.

I’m still on the fence about this show since I honestly don’t like Eruna’s lazy and lusty personality. I also hate how she objectifies all the females she sees into her yuri fantasies. I do like her character design and am curious about the school and its reasoning for the cultural clubs, so will hold on to this show for now.

Surprise ingredient: If I were at this school, I would likely be in some classical music club, literature club, or anime club. It’s entertaining imaging the types of moves I’d have in each version–I’d like to see clubs of these types appear in the anime and show me what I could experience😉

Plastic Memories

Where there be robots, so shall KWoo follow. Plastic Memories‘ androids, called Giftia, are almost indistinguishable from humans, with their looks and personalities. Their most noticeable different is in their short lifespan, really memory-span, which runs on average a little over nine months. Many Giftia are used as aids to their owners, like a young granddaughter to an elderly woman, or a young assistant to a mechanic. In that short amount of time, many of the owner-Giftia bonds become like family. It’s the job of our main character, who is a new recruit to the Terminal Service, to collect Giftia close to their expiration date. Teams go out in human-Giftia pairs, and Tsukasa finds himself partnered up with Isla, a troubled Giftia fighting the realities of her existence.

Our opening episodes begins with a tear-inducing case of a little girl Giftia living alone with a woman much like a granddaughter and grandmother. The woman is resistant to retrieval of the girl, and it takes several visits, even eventual trespassing, for our main characters to come eye-to-eye with her and get her to agree to their service. The parting scene between woman and child makes me wonder about the purpose of these too-human Giftia. They appear on scene, work their ways into hearts, then exit all too quickly and rip those same hearts open with their absence. As human as they seem, there’s no denying that they most certainly are not the same and can never be. I get that some people are so lonely as to be desperate enough to take the lie for a temporary time, but the aftermath makes that decision too high a price to pay. I’m sure the same issues will be raised with Isla.

Surprise ingredient: I’m reminded greatly of the American film, Her. In that movie, a man forms a bond with his intelligent operating system, dubbed Samantha. While I quickly accepted their relationship and Samantha’s character, at the end of it all, I wondered if the dream was a healthy one. You could argue that the memories and lessons left with the man made him more human and appreciate life all the more, but wouldn’t that experience have been more beneficial if two human parties were involved, where two human consciences could’ve engaged and grown? Obviously, Her places itself in our real world while Plastic Memories is an anime and may open itself to almost magical exceptions, so I’ll go ahead and root for Isla to miraculously live past her shelf-life and somehow cross the barrier between machine and man.

Houkago no Pleiades

Falling into the pacing of this show has honestly been rough for the first couple of episodes, but I think I’m starting to get a feel for who these girls are. Houkago no Pleiades is a magical girl-type show with a very witch-like feel. A group of five young girls wield large weapon/mount hybrids that look like a cross between a scythe and a broom. Their star power comes from an animated blob that claims to be a stranded alien, who needs them to assist in gathering engine fragments for him to return to his home planet. Boredom or curiosity, the girls all agree to assist for their own reasons.

When two of them turn out to have a past friendship with one another, an interesting truth to their recruitment is revealed: they’ve all been pulled from their own individual timelines into a merged one, overwriting the paths of their lives prior to meeting the alien. Subaru and Aoi were once childhood friends, but they each have their own memories for what broke apart their friendship, namely that the other moved away without saying anything. Now that they share a common secret and goal, they finally understand what it was that caused their different versions of events.

Surprise ingredient: Subaru is the main character we follow, first through a normal school life, then later through her not-so-coincidental discovery of the magical girls in what should have been a sealed room. Even though she’s the last to join the group, Subaru seems to have an odd affinity for magic. There’s the alien who lured her towards the other girls, then there’s the strange boy she sometimes encounters when she least expects it. I’m honestly more curious about this boy in the indoor garden than I am about the alien and the other girls since he still lacks an explanation. It’s clear there’s something otherworldly about him since the entrance to his domain magically appears at doors that usually open to different contents. Who is he, and why does he resemble the villain who keeps stealing engine fragments from our main characters?

Sidonia no Kishi: Dai-kyuu Wakusei Sen’eki

Talk about a somber and terrifying start! I held a high anticipation for this sequel after the climactic first season, and the opening didn’t disappoint. We’re thrown right back into Sidonia and its twisted cast of characters–namely Kunato, who I was starting to sympathize with last season. He’s back in true form here, though only briefly since it doesn’t take long for him to wade into far deeper waters than he can handle. I’m honestly not surprised at his horrible error in judgement; it was bound to happen after his reactions to past events. Now we’re saddled with a present-day Kunato/Ochiai infected with some type of parasitic Gauna and the people who are bound to his service, which surprisingly includes Kobayashi, the captain of Sidonia.

When Shiraui Tsumugi first enters the scene and is revealed to be a Gauna/human hybrid, a chimera, I wasn’t surprised. This was another development strongly alluded to and was bound to come about despite the main populace’s aversion to such a creation. Tanikaze’s quick acceptance of her nature and character is natural given his previous relationship with Hoshijiro, and later the placenta that resembled her. Tanikaze’s experiences thus far with Gauna affected by Hoshijiro, as well as Ochiai’s experiments, are exactly the push needed to bring the conflicts between humans and Gauna to a head, either forcing them to co-exist, or annihilate each other. I’m leaning towards a happier ending for both species, but given our history so far with the anime, I have a grim feeling that that won’t be the case.

Surprise ingredient: I’m always happy to see more Izana, especially an Izana receiving more one-on-one time with Tanikaze. She still hasn’t chosen a gender, but it’s apparent from her reactions around our main character that she wants to be more than just friends. I’ll continue to cheer her on from the sidelines and wish her a happy ending.

Ongoing:

  • Kill la Kill
  • Kuroko no Basket 3rd Season
  • Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei

Backlogged:

Nisekoi Season 2

Dropped:

  • Re-kan!
  • Denpa Kyoushi
  • Etotama
  • Ninja Slayer
  • Punch Line
  • Show by Rock!!
  • Urawa no Usagi-chan

6 thoughts on “Spring 2015 Set Menu

  1. Your list gets bigger every season! As usual, I’m watching about half to 3/4 of what you are.

    F/SN: I like it, except I loathe Gilgamesh. Yuck. I saw someone describe him as a sweeper, used to tidy up inconvenient plot lines so that the hero can get to the big finish, and that’s just what he seems like. Totally overpowered, but will have a convenient weakness to be exploited. Just feels like poor writing.

    Shoukugeki no Souma: I like it better since they’ve backed off on the over-the-top reactions. The first episode was a chore, the later ones more enjoyable as there’s more story and less “ohhhhhhh”.

    Yuki Nagato: I was really liking where this was going, since for me, the worst part about Haruhi Suzumiya is Haruhi. She’s a character that just sucks all the oxygen out of the room, so if she’s in a scene, it depends entirely on whether you like her or not, because there’s just no room for anyone else. So I’m a little disappointed that in the last couple episodes she’s been such a major factor. I’d like to get more Yuki, and hope that’s where it goes.

    Hibike!: Maybe my second favorite show this season. I played in school bands for years and years (clarinets), and really am enjoying the portrayals. On top of that, the show has a lot of depth and goes against the usual KyoAni mostly positive feel. There’s that down undercurrent among the band (which reminds me more of my WoW guild at times than in band), and the clash between goals.

    Nanoha ViVid: This show has been impressive to me as someone who hasn’t ever seen anything of Nanoha, and only really knows one thing about it: Friendship comes from blasting the crap out of the other person. But the show’s been almost perfect as far as allowing someone new to watch it without feeling like they’re missing everything. Really well done, and a really enjoyable show.

    Re-Kan has actually improved significantly from the first two episodes, and I probably enjoy it now more than the very formulaic Rinne. Dungeon runs hot and cold, taking forever to deal with one thing (Hestia Knife) and then telling multiple story threads in a well-layered episode 4. More like that would be better.

    Pleiades: A little dissonance with the Subaru tie-in, but an enjoyable show, and I really like the multiple-universe thread setup that they’re using.

    Seraph: Overall the show is ok, even if vampires aren’t really my thing, but the worst part of this show is the main character. He’s awful. The show is saved by the supporting cast so far, but the more Yuu just bulldozes everything, the worse it’ll get. They even set up scenarios for character development, and he just steamrolls them, not learning anything at all, almost like they want him to never develop. I’m hoping it gets better, because it’s not a bad show, but sometimes it’s hard to watch with my eyes rolling out of my skull at Yuu.

    Plastic Memories feels like the show that can’t figure out what it wants to do, and is stuck oscillating between genres and attitudes. It also feels like they’re going for a lot bigger story than we’ve seen, with something completely different for the back half of the series. Maybe it’ll work, maybe it won’t.

    In things you don’t seem to be watching: OregaIru (Snafu) is really putting together a good show, continuing from the first series. Maybe a little more grownup than the high school setting would hint at, but definitely a good show to watch for emotional depth. I don’t know what Eto-Tama is going to do, because the end of episode 4 was really out of the blue.

    And my anticipated show is DxD BorN. It really is the best harem ecchi show there is, not just because of the lengths it will go to, but also because the characters are well-written and there actually is a reason for the girls liking Issei. This season they’re really mixing up the events in the three books it’s covering, and I’m not sure I’m completely sold on how they’re doing with it, but I’m trying to have faith in the production and directorial staff.

    Like

    • I was so proud of myself after clearing out sooo many shows from last season, only to be in dismay over the high number of new shows I ended up grabbing at the start of this one. It’s a vicious cycle, and I always give in to temptation and try as many as possible. Maybe I should be more cutthroat and only grab the few that jump out to me from the get-go instead of dabbling in them all.

      It’s funny you say that about Gilgamesh, because I’m watching this with KWoo, who is a newbie to the whole franchise. He asked me about Gilgamesh and why he was so overpowered in every war. I was thoroughly shocked at the result of his and Ilya’s fight in this UBW rendition–I thought at the end of the 3rd ep. there’d be a miracle to go forward like in the original, but that obviously wasn’t the case as revealed in the next episode ;_;

      I don’t actually find Shokugeki no Souma‘s eating scenes too crazy in the manga, but the effect is way different looking at a 1-2 page spread than seeing and listening to this extended moment in anime-form with angelic choirs singing. I don’t mind the anime version since I’m used to it to an extent from other shows like Yakitate! Japan and Koufuku G.

      I honestly thought we’d get away with no Haruhi and supernatural factors until this recent week, when she pretty much overtook the show. I’m sad! I was able to work past how different this anime is from the others and was hoping for a “normal” show focusing primarily on Yuki and Kyon. The plus to Haruhi is, I guess, that I get to see her with long hair a bit longer. I always liked her long hairstyle, and like Kyon, do enjoy ponytails :p

      I’ve been saving Re-Kan for my boyfriend despite dropping it myself, so maybe I’ll give it another go when I have time. I tried to be stricter about dropping anime after just one episode to thin out my list, but that can be tough since sooo many decent shows have pretty bad first episodes.

      You put forth an interesting case on Yuu. He doesn’t annoy me the way he seems to bug you, and I think he sort of learned his lesson about friendship despite his speech to the class later on. Like his confrontation with the demon weapon–I wasn’t surprised that he was true to his word and was able to resist its temptations. I thought his reaction perfectly fit him and his experiences. And Hiiragi seems a suitable restriction for him, though she seems more apt to sit back and watch instead of interfere.

      Isn’t Oregairu a sequel this season? I haven’t seen anything else in the franchise, but maybe I’ll try out the earlier season when I get a chance….wait…a…minute. This anime looks really familiar and I think I may have seen the first season despite it not being on my MAL. This requires further investigation…

      Like

      • I just let things drop naturally if I don’t feel like watching them. Doesn’t matter how many episodes I’ve watched. So things like Assassination Classroom, which I thought I liked well enough, but since the start of Spring I just haven’t been interested in watching it. And with the announcement of more shows in a second season, I’m even less likely to keep watching, because the show has become extremely formulaic, with no end in sight.

        In Seraph, the thing you mention is an example of what I mean by Yuu steamrolling opportunities set up for character development. Instead of being possessed by the demon, as he should have, as apparently everyone else is, when Shinoa and Guren are trying to get him to learn a little humility and how to be friends and work with a team he just goes ahead and defeats the demon and doesn’t get possessed. What does he learn? “I’m special, I don’t need to listen to the others, I am just fine the way I am.” That’s not character development, that’s entitling a character. I don’t need to see him broken down. I just would like him to taste a little defeat if the point is to teach him to work within the team.

        I’m new to the Fate franchise as well. I tried to watch Fate/Zero and gave up after 3 episodes, because I found the premise pretty disgusting. UBW here has been better, because it’s always better when Rin is there (and confessing! OMG I loved that). So I figure they’ll beat Gilgamesh at some point, but I figure I won’t like it.

        Souma has really really backed down on the reaction stuff the last couple weeks (Or I’m just getting more used to it). I did enjoy Koufuku Graffiti when they backed that down, and I’m liking the cooking parts of Souma.

        OregaIru (SNAFU2: Electric Bugaloo) – Maybe you did watch it, but I’m surprised you didn’t remember it.

        Like

  2. I’m watching a few of these, but can’t possibly keep up with this many series.
    – I have a feeling that Plastic Memories is basically going to be another tear-jerker.
    – Arslan is okay so far, but not a great series. I think it still has potential, though. Its clever points tend to be events, but I haven’t found any of the characters endearing. Still looking to see how this turns out.
    – Baby Steps is actually a very good shounen sports anime. The change of location helped get me back into the show. It allowed the show to really focus on the sports aspect, instead of getting bogged down in the various relationships he has at home. The show really is good at delivering surprising gameplay. Episode 4 has a great match in it. I’m really looking forward to more.

    Like

    • I always add a bulk of shows at the start of the season, flag behind in the middle due to life getting in the way, then due a mad rush at the end to catch up so I can repeat the cycle again.😛

      I fully expect Plastic Memories to try to make its audience cry, but I’m going to resist with the skepticism I had when watching Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso. I see you coming, drama! I know what you’re going to try to do with Isla!

      Maybe this is way off, but Arslan kinda reminds me of Yona, only replace the princess with the prince and keep all the guy supporting characters.

      Yes, Baby Steps has been great so far this season. It’s an inspiring start that leaves Daiya no Ace behind while they take a break with their recaps. Natsu really stepped through for him here, as usual, and I can’t wait to see Maruo’s next match when he returns to Japan.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Funny comment about Arslan, that was also very true. Although, I felt Yona took a long time to get going. Arsenal doesn’t spend as much time on comedy, and I think that has helped it to move through finding the first “dragon” much quicker.

        Like

Please tell me what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s