Summer 2015 Set Menu

I could seriously use a honeydew melon creamsicle almost every day this time of year–Seattle is undergoing another record hot summer with days frequently climbing into the 90s. I’m an Alaskan at heart! Take away this oppressive heat!

Thankfully, we have a ton of new shows to fill the time spent cowering in the shade in front of the fan (because no air conditioners here!), along with a handful of continuing series from the spring. We’re about four-five weeks into the summer, and I’ve mostly chosen the ones I’ll be watching either week-to-week, or all at once at the end of the season.

  • Working!!!
  • Miss Monochrome: The Animation 2
  • Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai
  • Gangsta.
  • GATE: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri
  • Joukamachi no Dandelion
  • Rokka no Yuusha
  • Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace
  • Junjou Romantica 3
  • Charlotte
  • Aoharu x Kikanjuu
  • Akagami no Shirayuki-hime
  • Gakkou Gurashi!
  • Durarara!!x2 Ten
  • Overlord
  • Ushio to Tora
  • Gatchaman Crowds Insight
  • The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls 2nd Season
  • Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 2wei Herz!
  • Danchigai

Working!!!

There’s nothing like the return of a good ol’ sitcom, particularly one like Working!!! Was it needed? Not really, but I’m always happy to see more of this crew every week, like old friends I don’t get to see very often. The opening episode didn’t do much other than rehash many of the old jokes from the previous seasons that worked effectively then, and served to reassert the tone and pacing this season. While it was a nostalgic visit of people and dialogue for me, I imagine it may have seemed like recycling to those viewers not so enthralled with the franchise. But sticking to it for a couple more weeks pays off, since we’re finally seeing further development for Satou and Todoroki. And the meddling doesn’t come in the form of Souma, but in the ridiculous alcohol-fueled advice of Souta’s big sister. I cross my fingers that the seemingly impossible duo will find each other through all the obstacles Working!!! throws at it.

Surprise ingredient: Yamada has always astounded me with her successful laziness, but her efforts to extract attention from Souta in the first few episodes have been a charming start to the season. Of course my less than angelic side giggles every time she brings up “petting”, but I seethe along with her at the ease of Taneshima’s praise.

Miss Monochrome: The Animation 2

I find it odd just how quickly I became fond of Monochrome and her antics in search of Idol success, but it was without hesitation that I picked up this sequel. This time around looks like we might see some actual stage time with the addition of new cast members, pro motorist and flailing record label employee, Yayoi, and promising guitarist (and coworker), Akiko. But fumbles and miscommunication come hand-in-hand with Monochrome, so I look forward to where the aspiring idol goes with her new friends.

Surprise ingredient: It is with grudging admiration that I applaud the show’s introduction of Yayoi. If KWoo had never made me watch a few installments of Initial D, I would’ve never picked up on the chosen cars and race particulars between Monochrome and Yayoi.

Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai

Censorship isn’t anything to be surprised about in media, particularly in Japan in regards to sexual content. Blurred privates, overly steamy bathrooms, perfectly placed beams of light (or dark), and expertly timed cock blocks–we’ve seen the extent to which what’s implied is never fully shown. But Shimoneta takes it to a whole new level with the setting banning all mention of content deemed indecent, including foul language, suggestive materials, and even basic sex education. This is a society bent on wholesome values, but teetering on raising citizens in ignorance. It’s an interesting extreme to be displayed, and anime is probably one of the safest mediums to do it.

Rebellion takes form in a terrorist called “Blue Snow”, who snags our main character into assistance. The two actually share a common background of bawdy humor, though they each obviously went different paths as they aged based off of their public experiences and humiliations. As much as I agree with Blue Snow’s idea of re-educating the populace, I also sympathize with Tanukichi’s shift away from the acts of his father.

Surprise ingredient: This is a fantastic show to watch together with KWoo, since he prefers comedy and has a bit (or a lot?) of a dirty sense of humor. Blue Snow’s panties mask and single-layer sheet covering immediately made me a fan. I’m really looking forward to a confrontation between her and the school president with all masks removed.

Gangsta.

This is probably one of my favorite shows of the season, and it brings with it a lot of nostalgic feelings from shows like Black Lagoon and Jormungand–shows I love and could always use more of. Gangsta. provides its own unique flavor of characters and fighting styles to the screen, like male and female prostitutes, Tags, and a fixed setting. Instead of bouncing around different cities, our characters populate one particular place towards which certain people gravitate. It almost seems like a paradise for the underworld, where confrontations typically resolve themselves with the law’s approval (or lenience).

Our two main characters are a couple of such examples of men doing business with the local authority’s unwritten permission. “Handymen” for hire, they take care of the dirty work required to uphold the city’s unofficial laws. There promises to be plenty of juicy backstory on their characters with the repeated references to Worick’s wealthy parentage and Nicolas’ existence as a “Twilight.” The introduction of Ally, a former prostitute with a quiet and sweet nature, clears a path for the anime to easily explain things for both her and us in an elegant way, avoiding voice over exposition and narration.

Surprise ingredient: I grew up with a couple of deaf friends and learned rudimentary sign language in school. One of them, like Nic, was able to hear a bit, just barely, and could also read lips. Her speech was guttural and halting, but understandable with careful attention. She laughed unnaturally loud, yet I couldn’t help but join her with my own. Gangsta. does a fantastic job of displaying naturally Nic’s communication and unintentional cold shoulder. Even more shocking is realizing that his seiyuu is the same voice of the recently finished Hibike! Euphonium’s Gotou.

GATE: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri

For a good majority of the opening episode, I totally believed that Itami’s physical skill came solely from his experiences as a gamer and anime fan. I thought it was similar to The World God Only Knows, whose protagonist’s romantic successes are fueled by virtual relationships instead of real life. Based off of my own gaming preferences, such a possibility would make me a skilled archer, animal tamer, and elemental mage. But GATE decided to take a more realistic approach and revealed Itami’s career in the Japan Self-Defense Force. There go my fantasies of wielding fireballs.

Itami’s fantasy interests and day job come together when a mysterious gate materializes in the middle of his city. The gate, which spews out soldiers and magical monsters, connects our world to the unknown. How and why it exists has yet to be discovered, but the Japan of GATE makes the swift decision to close off its entrance and commence with exploration of the other side. Stepping through is like entering a magical RPG or fantasy novel.

Surprise ingredient: Here’s where the show again surprises me: instead of engaging immediately in drawn-out battles where magic could have easily been used as a leveler, we instead get to see a completely one-sided victory of the JSDF’s artillery over the other world’s archaic weaponry and equipment.

Joukamachi no Dandelion

If only every royal family were as down-to-earth and sensible as the Sakurada family. We already have a couple of other shows this season where the heirs have substantial exposure from a young age to the regular class citizens and lifestyle—and both are better off for it. Dandelion’s approach is much more extreme, with the entire family living in a middle-class home—with a horrifying single bathroom—and the kids attending normal schools. There is a castle, and their father does don his crown each day for his kingly duties, but the majority of the time is spent going about activities like any normal family. But there are two additional twists: first, each and every moment outside of the home and castle is televised for the public’s entertainment; second, royal family members have magical powers distinct to each one of them.

The two put together make for a more entertaining re-election for king, an event set forth by the father himself. It doesn’t make much sense to me that the candidates are the kids themselves. None of them have completed schooling, nor do they seem educated at all on managing a country. But that’s not really the point of the show, is it? Dandelion is more bent on the antics each of the kids go through as they promote themselves to the general populace.

Surprise ingredient: The addition of magical powers feels kind of odd since they seem to only serve comedic purposes. They create wacky situations that might otherwise serve just as well in any other comedy series. It hasn’t been explained why specifically the royal family has supernatural powers, or why none of those powers overlap. So far, my favorite ability’s is Aoi’s “Invisible Work”—simply by learning a process, she is instantly able to execute it. Highly adaptable and limitless, I imagine she is probably the best candidate for ruler.

Rokka no Yuusha

For the past week or so, KWoo and I have been playing Tales of Symphonia (Chronicles) for the first time. I was already familiar with the story, due to friends playing it and having seen the OVAs, but I only lately felt the push to try it out. Playing it as a co-op has been a fantastic decision, and we’re already looking to other Tales games we’d like to play after completing Symphonia. Rokka no Yuusha reminds both of us a lot of ToS’ storyline; heroes from far reaches of the land must come together on a journey to vanquish impending doom. This disaster occurs every set number of years, requiring a fresh set of champions each time.

Rokka no Yuusha took very little time to jumpstart us right into questing. There was just enough of an introductory scene of our lead character, the “world’s strongest man,” to establish his personality and fighting style. I took an instant liking to his “dirty” method of battle, using anything and everything to his advantage against an enemy. Tactics like fuel and flame might look underhanded in a tournament, but they’re perfectly acceptable in a life-and-death fight. I was hands down okay with applauding Adlet’s victory in the opening tournament. Nashetania gets to see the validity of his skill herself when they face-off against monsters outside of the safety of her home.

Surprise ingredient: The two other braves introduced in the latter episodes, Goldof and Fremy, wear ridiculous chest straps. I have never understood the point of these articles of clothing on women, much less on men who have absolutely nothing to support. Does Goldof’s strap protect his nipples from chafing, or being torn off? Or is he shy about others seeing them harden in the cold, or whenever he talks to Nashetania?

In addition to the straps, Rokka Yuusha also has a love for ornate headgear. Everyone but Adlet wears distinctive gear—Nashetania has her bunny ears (are they real???), Goldof has his beanie/ram horns, and Fremy somehow maintains her perfectly placed flower in all her runs and fights. I admit I’m not much of a hat person outside of winter, but these ones look completely pointless considering the weather and the wearers’ activities.

Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace

Talk about perfect timing! Just recently, I watched the Japanese live action Antiquarian Bookshop Biblia’s Case Files. Of the many authors and works that were portrayed in that series, one of the more memorable arcs covered Edogawa Ranpo. Immediately after finishing the show, I borrowed a 1982 work by Tuttle Publishing of his short stories titled Japanese Tales of Mystery & Imagination. Included in the collection was Edogawa’s “The Human Chair,” which had me wary of sitting in large armchairs for quite a while after reading it. This same story was the opening tale of this season’s Ranpo Kitan, an anime honoring Edogawa 50 years after his death. I may end up doing a comparison discussion post later on in the season.

Four episodes into the summer, and I must say that this is a fantastic addition to Noitamina that has been a long time coming. I’ve felt blah about the network’s pickings for the past year. The mystery horror vibe, combined with Edogawa’s unsettling touch, has worked fairly well so far for Lerche. The studio has a strange mixture of works under their belt, including another horror-esque series this season, and I’m hoping they can successfully continue to breathe creative life into the author’s stories.

Surprise ingredient: I’m still not sure how I feel about Kobayashi’s character continuing on despite his own story completing. While I’m no longer that surprised about a middle school student showing curiosity in the uglier nature of humans—I’m recalling the Slenderman girls—I don’t know enough about him to feel comfortable with his sanctioned involvement in the crimes. The real main character so far is Edogawa’s fiction. They take on distinctive faces and fascinate our secondary characters.

Junjou Romantica 3

Season 3 probably opened with the most lackluster introductory arc of the Junjou Romantica anime franchise to date. I had enjoyed the first two seasons much more than I expected, and had hopes that this sequel would follow in a similar style and setting. Instead of the office, we’re set mostly in a residence. Instead of work deadlines and editor/mangaka relations, we face college graduation and an uncertain future. Now that I’ve been out of the academic setting for quite a few years, I’m less interested in those concerns and hoping more for series that take place in the work setting. Since Junjou had done so in previous seasons, I couldn’t help but be disappointed that this one did not.

Another issue bothering me that I don’t recall being so prevalent before is the jealousy and control. It’s scary, actually, thinking about this fully grown man with a career and a home showing such possession for a college kid who still can’t figure out his own feelings. I do like that Usagi is open and honest, since it staves off the types of misunderstanding these shows tend to overuse.

Surprise ingredient: I found it adorable how a little keychain could bring together _ and _ over a beloved artist. I’ve never been one to openly display my various fandoms, and when I do, I often have the misfortune of losing it (I’m looking at you, HxH Killua keychain! ;_;).

Charlotte

Incomplete powers during the adolescent years sound like the perfect metaphor for youth of every generation; reflecting on my own past as a smart mouth, I probably would’ve ended up with something like verbal persuasion on the condition that my pulse reached a certain high rate first. Seeing how each of the young people in this series is restricted but a silly limiter makes them seem more real and less otherworldly or divine. Main character Yuu has the ability to possess other peoples’ bodies, but only for five seconds and at the loss of control of his own body. Almost every time he takes over another person, we see his own body in the background collapse the most uncomfortable-looking positions. This guy likely has a closet full of antiseptic and bandages.

His stupid use of power to get himself into a high-ranked high school and charm the prettiest and least obtainable girl in school is noticed by others with powers just as stunted and odd as his. It was satisfying seeing him put into place by Nao and Joujirou, though I don’t trust Nao’s feeling of security in her benefactor whom we have yet to see. The experimentation of gifted teens sounds like some type of commentary on young people’s perception of adults and authority, particularly those who claim to want to help. I haft expect Nao’s protector to turn out to be some big baddie aiming to collect all the supernatural powers in one place for harvesting—why else would we and anyone but Nao remain in the dark on his or her identity?

Surprise ingredient: The episodic nature of this show makes it feel like a “power of the week” kind of series, but shinier and faster-paced than youkai-type anime like Natsume Yuujinchou or Kyoukai no Rinne, shows I love for their pacing and craft. While Charlotte is entertaining for now, I’m already itching for more depth. Yusa’s dual identity and powers are a small step in that direction, but still seem like novelty items without impact.

Aoharu x Kikanjuu

Mock battles and reverse trap romance make up Aoharu x Kikanjuu, where you’re convinced for the beginning that Tachibana is a male student council president inclined to corporeal punishment. That she’s a female is hard to believe given her appearance and attitude; the interactions fake-out fans looking for a bit of BL. It’s annoying how she repeatedly “forgets” to tell Masamune and Yukimura about her actual sex, and I’m afraid that reveal will be a big dramatic arc somewhere near the end of the series.

But on to the more interesting aspect of the show—the survival games. Tachibana may have natural talent for hand-to-hand combat, but she’s a total novice when it comes to shooting a gun. Like Masamune, I enjoy watching Tachibana’s approach to staged battles. Yukimura’s initial and outright dislike for her was comical in its shallowness, and I was relieved when her open trust in his support prompted him to act like a teammate should. The following push of Yukimura’s ecchi works is a perfect transition into his acceptance of Tachibana.

Surprise ingredient: I look forward to the Top Combat Game (TCG) tournament, which is invite-only, so we can see the true face behind the gentle doctor’s front. Nagamasa was surprisingly kind in teaching Tachibana the merits of different guns, but that attitude underwent a noticeable shift the instant he found out which time she represented. I’m hoping for some grossly inappropriate fighting on his part!

Akagami no Shirayuki-hime

Thank goodness for this recent string of character-driven fantasy. With a confident and capable female lead, Akagami enters a void that Soredemo Sekai and Akatsuki no Yona left (not to mention, that red hair). She represents a field not too often portrayed as an herbalist continually seeking to educate herself and improve her craft. Some similar practitioners who spring to mind include Tanda of Seirei no Moribito and, to a certain extent, Yun of Yona. Much like in the other series, the world in which Shirayuki lives is one unaccustomed to red hair; she stands out wherever she goes and is pressed by others’ expectations due to her appearance and status. Coupling her womanhood and working class, people easily accept her assistance and just as easily try to take advantage of it. This is where the show begins—Shirayuki becomes the object of desire for the local lord and ends up abandoning her practice and home to avoid his advances. The bravery it takes to go out on her own is already impressive, and when we later see her confront another lord and his bodyguards, we again see that she is not one to be restrained by fear. With one hard smack of her own arm, she convinces both the viewer and Prince Zen of her good character.

There was a shadow of a concern that this series would turn into some kind of fantasy shoujo romance, with Prince Zen handing all of Shirayuki’s desires to her on a plate. That is happily not the case! Shirayuki refuses handouts and seeks to pave her own path. This does make her vulnerable when she goes out alone without a thought to her own safety and the ill intentions of others, but also makes it immediately clear to doubters in the castle the genuineness of her friendship with Zen. The “of course” look on Shirayuki’s face when asked if she used Zen to help her in the court greenhouse to re-plant herbs had me cracking me up—this is a woman who sees a need and acts on it!

Surprise ingredient:  There’s just a tad of the Snow White fairy tale as inspiration to this show, most noticeable in the first couple of episodes with the house in the woods, poison apple, and damsel in distress. “White Snow” shrugged off the helpless tags and faced her demons head-on. I do wonder where else in the anime, if anywhere, the fairy tale will again rear its head.

Gakkou Gurashi!

Wherefore art thou, Megu-nee?

I completely forgot this was a zombie show until the curtain moment near the end with Yuki’s creepy classroom scene. There were plenty of reminders throughout the opening episode if you paid any attention, which I obviously did not. As cool as a “School Living Club” sounds, it just doesn’t make sense for them to conduct their club activities during the school day. And who ever heard of eating all three meals at school?

Gakkou Gurashi! mixes school life reenactments and its post-apocalyptic reality really well—we see most everything through Yuki’s eyes, which are filmed over with memories of what was and wishes for what could be. Not much is provided yet on how much she remembers about the defining day. There are plenty of the briefest of moments between her overly-loud laughs and baby-voice talk where we see a shadowing of the eyes and a drop in the smile. And of course, there’s Megu-nee, a teacher who seems to follow Yuki everywhere and vanish just as quickly. She’s never initially addressed by any of the other girls, and acts almost like a guardian angel or protective personality over Yuki. Where does she sleep? What does she eat? I assume that whenever she is fully explained, we’ll see the reasoning behind Yuki’s imaginary world and why the others try so hard to maintain it.

Surprise ingredient: While some of the other club members seem to have it better together than others, I look forward to peeling back their masks and seeing the past events that led up to this point. Yuuri and Miki seem the most emotionally stable of the group, but the current back story on Miki is revealing someone who seems very different than the Miki we know now. Yuuri is a natural leader who indulges Yuki’s fantasies—sometimes I wonder if she finds life more bearable by living through her underclassman.

Durarara!!x2 Ten

We’re in to the second half of the second season, and I’m finding it really hard to get back into the groove with this series. As much as I like the various characters on their own, I sort of felt like their books had closed in the past seasons. The current elaboration on Izaya might be nice for some who are a fan of the sadist, but I could have gone without it. You might wonder why I’m watching this. I am only one episode in and currently backlogging the following episodes until they’re all out to marathon in hopes that the closer progression of separate arcs will remind me of the magic I enjoyed in the earlier seasons. I’ve never been one for series or movies where multiple people and their individual storylines dance through the motions of an overarching song (exceptions: Babel, Cloud Atlas), but there are some anime who have etched their names into my repertoire, namely this series and predecessor Baccano!

Overlord

This has got to be one of the strangest leads I’ve followed yet—most protagonists I’ve seen are human or humanoid in appearance, and there are the occasional animal main characters I’ve enjoyed. However, Overlord’s lead, Momonga, is a skeleton avatar chosen for an online game. This game is Yggdrasil, a virtual reality setting where Momonga’s guild dedicated much of their time outside of their real life salary jobs and obligations. But as is sadly the case with many online games, Yggdrasil breathes its last sigh and is shut down. Momonga shows his affection by loyally staying on until the end—but what results isn’t an immediate exit back to reality. He finds himself trapped in his guildhall accompanied only by NPCs come to life.

It’s hard to believe that Momonga is the only player to have stayed on until the end, and I fully expect him to encounter others like him very soon. Another interesting quirk to his guild, Ainz Ooal Gown, is the non-human requirement; there isn’t a single “human”-designed player or NPC in the lot. Maybe the move away from the familiar created yet another break from actuality.

Surprise ingredient: How perfectly timed is it that Momonga just had to fiddle with Albedo’s settings right before the great shift? I’m no fan of yandere characters, but I wouldn’t want someone to be unequivocally in love with me without any real reasons, especially if I can’t reciprocate those feelings. When she took pleasure in his skeletal fingers gripping her boob, I was shuddering at the idea of those sharp appendages—think the next level up from overly long fingernails and dry, raspy skin. *Shudder shudder*

Ushio to Tora

Bring on the youkai! With the exception of last season’s Re-Kan!, I’m almost always on board for ghost/spirit/supernatural type shows of this nature. I’m still enjoying Kyouaki no Rinne, but have fallen a bit behind on the series due to its lagging story. Ushio to Tora came roaring in with its similar retro feel yet definite grittier appeal. The material began at the start of the 90s, and encompasses both a complete manga and an OVA series. I’m not sure what prompted the transition to this season’s screens, but am appreciative of its presence. It has that feel good shounen action attitude and promises plenty of growth between the two main characters that are presently on opposite ends of the board.

Another series that UtT reminds me of is a favorite: Natsume Yuujinchou. Both leading youkai repeatedly tell the human protagonists how they will eventually eat them. Any acts of protection are shrugged off as preventing someone else from taking their meals. I fully expect a similar change in mood on Tora’s part towards Ushio—we might not get the open affection, but perhaps we’ll have a respectful partnership.

Surprise ingredient: The most recent episode featured Ushio’s classmate, Inoue. She strongly resembles a psychic of the long past who had the ability to not only see the otherworldly, but to also seal them away. Though it hasn’t been explicitly stated, I wonder if Inoue is her ancestor and may eventually develop those powers. Due to her experiences, she now sees Tora and even teaches him the wonder of burgers—an acceptable substitute for humans as a youkai meal!

Gatchaman Crowds Insight

Like Durarara!!, I think this is another series I’ll have to backlog for later marathoning. I couldn’t really keep up weekly with the first season of this story, and ended up watching them all together at the end of its run. Having just seen episode 0 and the pilot, I’m not feeling too excited to watch the newly recruited gatchaman and company deal with the new threat.

The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls 2nd Season

Yet another sequel, Cinderella Girls really teetered on the edge of being dropped. It took the majority of the first season for me to finally warm up to some of the girls, and I honestly didn’t expect to see the development of the rest. That aside, it was nice to see most of the idols with more active schedules at the start of this follow-up. Communication with the producer has improved greatly, and attitudes between groups have mostly changed from jealousy to encouragement. It wasn’t until after the ending credits, though, that I was hooked. The Cinderella Project has a new general executive producer, and she’s set to start anew by first wiping clean all the current projects. I don’t know where she gets off announcing something so big without any sort of warning beforehand, but the incident shouldn’t be too surprising to anyone who has worked in the corporate world. Laying off entire teams of employees deemed dead ends and comprised of underperformers is a frequent tactic by companies looking to clean house and set forward on seemingly better paths. Hopefully our girls and their producer can survive in the fallout!

Surprise ingredient: Of the idol groups that have formed so far from the Cinderella Project, my current favorite is Love Laika. I’d like to see them continue to flower into idols consistently demanded for the spotlight.

Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 2wei Herz!

I am not ashamed to say that I would take any Prisma Illya installment over Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works any day. There aren’t any longwinded speeches by ridiculously idealistic heroes, and I find the fight scenes just as entertaining. Prima Illya owns its own share of fantastic visual effects during battles, and I find the cast personalities greatly improved. I think the only character who I like regardless of the setting is Rin, who maintains her coquettish personality everywhere she goes.

This third season opens up on a sexually charged stage—yuri fans rejoice! I could actually go without the Illya x Kuro scenes, but do have to laugh at poor Mimi’s continual misunderstandings. Herz is taking its time moving back into the card retrieval process, opting to get us back into the home and school life groove with Illya and all her friends. We even get thrown an obligatory swimsuit setting in the second episode. If we must include it, I’m glad we get it out early on instead of tossing it in mid-season as an interlude.

Surprise ingredient: Not too much has been revealed yet about Miyu’s origins, but these light-hearted opening episodes have already hinted at upcoming development on her past. I’ve constantly wondered about the similarities between Miyu and Illya—their affinities for the cards, their feelings for Shirou, and Kuro’s preference for their mana.

Danchigai

In my defense, I am not watching this out of some incestuous fetish. I find the little twin girls ridiculously funny and am curious to see how Haruki will survive growing up as the sole male in the household. As an only child, sibling relationships continually fascinate me, as fantastical as they may be in shows like this. The very short duration of these episodes also makes it very easy to fill in between other episodes.

Surprise ingredient: Oldest sibling, Mutsuki, knows exactly how to unwind after coming home! Like her, the first thing on my mind when walking through the door is getting more comfortable, though in my case that’s usually loose shorts or sweats. Mutsuki reminds me a bit of Minami-ke’s Haruka. Both are responsible students and parental figures for their younger siblings, but once all responsibilities are temporarily completed, they master the art of laziness.

Ongoing:

  • Arslan Senki
  • Baby Steps 2nd Season
  • Diamond no Ace: Second Season
  • Kekkai Sensen (just one more episode!) – Will likely get its own review
  • Kyoukai no Rinne (TV)
  • Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu
  • Ore Monogatari!!
  • Shokugeki no Souma

7 thoughts on “Summer 2015 Set Menu

  1. I really enjoyed this write up!😀

    I’m in complete agreement with Overlord–I love how we at last have a lead character who’s *not* a bishounen😄. What a nice breath of fresh air! Gangsta. and Gakkou Gurashi! are my two favorites of the season, though Rokka, Gate, and Charlotte are also very high on my list.😀

    Like

  2. So did you just forget to mention that you’re watching Jitsu wa Watashi wa? Or is there some unbelievable reason you’re not watching it?😉

    Seriously, tho, Jitsu wa Watashi wa is really a great show so far, with really fun and earnest characters, and a pretty unique character design and art style. I’m usually not one for over-the-top reaction shots, because usually there’s one “OMG!” reaction, and that’s all characters get, with every surprise or shock going to that. But the expressive faces and characters that the show uses allows for a big range of emotion to be displayed, not just talked about (like in Shokugeki no Souma, where they have the same reaction to everything, and then walk it back through internal monologue to try to provide some separation). Plus, the characters are all adorable in personality, and they use the different personalities to play up the comedic situations. I really recommend the show, it seems like it would be something right in your sweet spot.

    The other show that’s running away with the season for me is Shimoneta. I find the setup for the show fascinating and horrifying, and while I feel it shouldn’t ever happen, I can see it as a possibility (not that the oppressive moral majority rule is a particularly new setup). Given the situations, the show feels authentic within its setup, and is amazingly high energy and funny. I don’t know if there’s been a show that just kills in the B-part so consistently, with the terrorism, the chases, Anna’s late-night incursion… They’ve also been taking their time adapting the material, as it appears they’ve just finished the first LN after 5 episodes, so they’re giving it a lot of detail and development.

    Of the other shows, Overlord is notable for its ability to hold interest even given its glacial pace. As a WoW player, I find the setup interesting and wonder how many people would try the same thing (there are videos of The Sims Online as it shut down). I like how the world is examined, tested, and inhabited by the main character.

    Aoharu x Kikanjuu kinda gets on my nerves a little, mainly because Hotaru is a grating constant presence. A little too much monologue, a little too much angst. Not that it needs to be an action show like C3-bu was, but I just find the character annoying.

    Durarara is another show that has two modes for me: great when it’s focusing on almost everyone in the cast, and awful when it focuses on Mikado or Izaya and the Dollars / Blue Squares / stupid gang crap. You have a ton of interesting characters in the show, and the mini-arcs and one-offs are tremendously entertaining. But then it just slogs into a pool of goo and might as well say ‘blah blah blah’ when it starts with Mikado’s existential crises. I don’t find him compelling or interesting at all and it would even be better if he would just quit the “I want to be someone and be important and make my life meaningful” and just worry about being alive and a person, and figure out what he wants to do with Anri. Unfortunately, it’s starting to feel like the show’s going to spend a lot of time on that again, much like the first first series did at the end.

    I’m completely with you on Illya.

    I’m watching a bunch of other shows, but there’s not a lot that’s really standing out to be besides Shimoneta and Jitsu wa Watashi wa. Charlotte’s been a little disappointing with the ‘mystery power of the week’ format, but I’m waiting for it to pick up in the second half with more of an overarching story. I dropped Gangsta and Ranpo after one episode each, just didn’t catch my interest. God Eater has a wardrobe failure that completely distracts me (giant wrist collar they can’t take off, but they keep changing their fitted shirts and suits, argh!), although overall it’s just not very good. Working!!! seems like it’s actually making progress, which would be great coming to the end. And Cinderella Girls is setting up a nice story, although they’re making the cast bigger, which is probably the last thing it needs.

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    • I definitely didn’t forget to mention Jitsu wa Watashi wa? :p I guessss I can check it out when you speak so well of it the way you do. Glancing through the anime season charts at just the blurb and pic, nothing about it had jumped at out me, and I’ve been trying to be stricter at chopping out shows I find so-so. I’m glad I have readers like you who promptly let me know when I’ve missed something potentially up my alley!

      Shimoneta has been fantastic so far, particularly the recent discovery of the forest cache. Anna-senpai is frankly terrifying to me; I just can’t couple in my mind her desire to ravage poor Tanukichi and her continued support of her mother’s agendas on censorship. I’m really, really curious as to how her mother acts behind closed doors with her husband. On a similar platform, I did try out Prison School, but was just too turned off by the S/M to keep up with it.

      A WoW player, eh? The only MMO I’ve ever gotten into is Guild Wars, and for the longest time, we were only given humans as a species option.

      That angst from AxK I think comes in large part from the expectations for what I assume to be a female audience. It reminds me a little of the way, way more overdone worries in currently airing BL Junjou Romantica. I look forward to when it’s mostly battles and they all keep their mouths shut.

      You remember so much more about the previous seasons of Durarara!! than I do. I forget so much in between seasons, and am only drawn in after watching a bit with Celty or Shizuo. Since I’m backlogging it, if at the end of the season I see reviews saying how this series focused almost entirely on Izaya and Mikado, I’ll probably trash it.

      No love for Akagami?

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      • Well, after I talked it up, I hope you end up liking Jitsu wa. I admit that it was kind of a generic show from the previews, it certainly wasn’t one that most people were anticipating, but it’s got a huge amount of heart, and great comedy.

        I’ve been blogging Shimoneta, and going into the seemingly strange break between Anna’s actions and her mother’s crusade. I think that it actually fits in very well, especially considering what Ayame has said about the ignorance of the kids in the supposedly ‘pure’ school.

        Prison School is a show that I want to like more than I really do. Mizushima has directed two of my very favorite shows, Shirobako and Girls und Panzer, along with quite a few others that I really like including Witch Craft Works. And for the most part it works, it’s just *really* uncomfortable to watch, even if you like it. So I kinda watch it while cringing and fast forwarding and the like.

        Yeah, I’ve played WoW continuously for over 10 years, including raiding at least 3 nights a week, almost every week, for 9 years (sometimes up to 5 nights a week). It’s a lot of time spent, but it’s an activity that my wife and I do together (yes, we both raid, she’s much more into it than I am), and I honestly think that my wife might be one of those people who would stay until the bitter end of a game like that. She really dislikes anime, but when I told her about Overlord (while it was on), she thought that it was actually a pretty plausibly interesting story.

        There are other shows I’m watching, of course. Shirayukihime is pretty good, and I like that she’s more of an independent woman than we’ve really seen much in anime, even after encountering Zen. Plus, it’s a show that they made for me: shoujo with an independent female lead voiced by Saori Hayami, including a song sung by her (I think her singing voice is one of the best in the entire world). But storywise it’s not amazing, at least yet.

        I also like Rokka no Yuusha and Dandelion, although Akane’s extreme shyness is a bit grating in the anime format. And Nachetania’s flip out in the temple after the barrier was activated clanged pretty badly for me.

        But nothing’s a huge runaway, except for Jitsu wa and Shimoneta.

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      • Okay, I’ve watched the first episode of Jitsu wa and have the rest up till the current ready to watch as well, but I gotta tell you, the first episode fell flat for me! I’m going to give it a couple more tries.

        This week’s Shimoneta was so horrifyingly hilarious, and I’m strongly tempted to cover that “recipe” on my blog, lol. Sex toys are probably one of the more applicable situations to the general viewer as something foreign even today to many people. I can think of quite a few people I know who would be nonplussed by the “powerstone.”

        I love it when couples are able to play video games together like you and your wife. Has she started watching Overlord with you now?

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      • No, she’s not going to watch it (she’d also understand everything in Bikini Warriors, which is about the foibles of RPGs, but no way is she watching that).

        I hope that it turns out better for you on Jitsu Wa. I still think the show is adorable. And episodes 2 and 4 have some really funny parts. 3 was ok.

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