Winter 2015 Anime – Plan to Watch

This is a revision from my previous posts on Tumblr since these shows are now halfway completed.

As the previous post was more about how I thought a particular show would be perceived, this post will kind of confirm or deny some of those thoughts that I may have had, without necessarily saying that the show is good or bad. I didn’t want to do a full re-post of it, as I figured that would be pretty boring and would give some misconceptions about how I do things.

With that said, let’s get into some airing anime discussion!

To start, I’m going to go ahead and put some anime that are out-of-scope, since I’m not currently watching them. I may get to these eventually, but the ones below are shows that I want to get around at some point. Sometimes it’s based on recommendations from friends, previous experiences from shows I’ve seen, or the hype that the anime community tends to place on these shows. Other times, it’s just because I can’t watch 20 airing shows at once. We are called “The Backloggers” for a reason, after all. I’ll name this section of the post, “The Backlog”, as that’s where these anime are likely to end up.

When applicable, I’ll put both the full Japanese name and the nickname that the community refers to the show for convenience. This list is also only consists of shows that are either new shows or second seasons of anime that I’ve already seen, which means that this list will become larger than what is shown below.

The Backlog

Ansatsu Kyoushitsu (Assassination Classroom)
Death Parade
Junketsu no Maria
Rolling Girls
Shinmai Maou no Keiyakusha
Tokyo Ghoul Root A
Yuri Kuma Arashi

Now, with the actual content of the shows I’m watching, it’s really a hit-or-miss season from what I’ve seen so far. I recall Winter 2014 being pretty awful in terms of shows, with some of them being the lowest scores I’ve ever given out. This season seems better than that so far, but still doesn’t hold up to Fall or Spring 2014. Though Winter and Summer are off-seasons, so the quality tends to vary more anyway. Of course, this is only my first few episodes judgement and things are always subject to change as we continue on.

For this section, I’ll start with some of the better shows and move towards some of the worse ones. Discussion content will vary depending on the show, but I’ll hold off on some of the harsher criticisms for future posts. I will also mark any shows that I’m fan-subbing with my subgroup, DameDesuYo, as I talk about them, in case that’s something you’re interested in following.

I’ll also attempt to stay spoiler-free and safe-for-work as possible, but sometimes what I’m talking about may also break one or both of those rules. I’ll try to tag the post itself with “Spoiler” or “NSFW” tags as applicable, but still read at your own discretion.

“Solid Starts” Tier

Saenai Heroine no Sodate-kata

In my previous revision, I elaborated that this would be a top hit of the season. I’m not sure how accurate that seems to be yet, but I think this does have potential to be a pretty strong anime from what it has delivered so far. The characters are definitely likeable, and from the first episode alone, there are enough references to make me interested to watch more.

How many references can an anime make in 30 seconds?

His taste in anime is questionable, but I can at least tell what most of these are from.

It does seem to be a highly otaku-centered anime though, which can cause some concern for certain aspects of the show. The tag seems to be “slice-of-life”, but it wouldn’t be the first time that I’ve doubted the tags for a show. The way the plot is set up is the main reason for concern. This could easily go into the harem route really fast, and while I enjoy a good harem anime, it’d be missing out on some huge potential if it turned into one.

THE iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls (IM@S: CG)

The PV, or preview video, didn’t seem to be very clear about the direction of where this anime was going, and I only based my previous assumptions on the first anime, which had its fair share of issues. It seems to share some of the better qualities of the first anime, while also learning from the mistakes that they made. The producer within this anime seems to play a much more passive role, which is a good start and so far, is a much better execution than the first iDOLM@STER. The characters haven’t been fleshed out too much yet, but the heavier focus on the girls of the show and not how producer handles the girls’ problems seems to be an overall better direction by the anime. The real kicker will be when the more musical elements are introduced, and how those are portrayed, as they still did change from their hand-drawn art-style to a more CGI oriented one. As long as they don’t full-out copy Love Live! and still manage to make it look all right, I’m okay with whatever they do at this point.

Kantai Collection (KanColle)

I am actually really surprised that I’m even putting this here, to be honest. This show had some pretty good signs that it was going to be a train wreck, but somehow the writers are doing a really good job with almost nothing to go on. Apparently there are some historical elements behind the show, so that might be helping a bit, but I don’t think it is fully causing this show to be good. There have been some twists that I haven’t been expecting, and they’re doing a really good job of balancing the comedy and the drama. The only real complaint that I have about the show is that the CGI they’re using for the battle scenes still looks pretty shaky, but it’s still passable in terms of quality. Also, the opening song is amazing, as expected of AKINO from Bless4.

“Nothing Special” Tier

Miritari! (Military!)

What I expected from this short-form anime is something unique and comical. So far though, it has failed to deliver big laughs. It is a short-form anime and a 4-koma, so I do expect some hit-or-miss comedy, but with each episode consisting of 1-2 skits and having both of them fall flat can be concerning. There have been some pretty entertaining ones though.

A tank kotatsu. That’s something I’ll probably never see in an anime again.

I do give it credit for being a short-form anime instead of a full-fledged series, as this would be much lower on my scale if that was the case. Even with the 4-koma style comedy elements, there are other minor issues that I have with it, such as the over-abundance of harem-style and ecchi-esque comedy elements that are present. I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt on that note, and hope that has just been episode specific and not going to be a re-occurring thing that happens.

Koufuku Graffiti

As I previously mentioned in my revision, Shaft doesn’t exactly have a good track record outside of some of their bigger hits such as the Monogatari Series or Madoka, and are also not complete experts on how a slice-of-life anime is supposed to work. You can pretty much tell both of those things from the first few episodes of the show. They’re using their “Shaft style” very liberally in the anime, and most of the time, it really doesn’t fit at all.

Jesus, do we really need a picnic to be so dramatic?

Jesus, do we really need a picnic to be so dramatic?

With that said, I don’t think I’d like this anime as much as I do without the over-exaggerated Shaft animation that they’ve placed in. That may be due to a lack of plot and direction that this anime has, but it is a slice-of-life, so that’s to be expected. It’s really just up to “How much Shaft can you handle?” in terms of this show, and sometimes it’s too much. Some people argue the same thing in Nisekoi, but it’s less noticeable in that than it is in this one. I’m interested to see where the show goes though. Maybe it’ll go somewhere interesting, or maybe I’ll just end up with more Shaft head-tilt pictures. Who knows?

Absolute Duo

It’s actually pretty funny to me that I have this show in this category for a few reasons. The first one being that this show has a really generic description in a really generic setting, and somehow it manages to make it watchable instead of completely failing like other harem shows. The second reason being that this is an ecchi show, but seems to have less ecchi moments than some other shows that aren’t even labeled ecchi this season. If I had to compare my feelings on this show to another, I’d say it’s a whole lot like Trinity Seven. It’s kind of generic, and does some pretty generic things, but the interactions between the characters make it worth watching, and the fan-service is actually tolerable in both shows. I say the show is more cutesy than anything, really; the main heroine makes that apparent with some of the things that she does. Still, there’s not much to it in terms of story and there probably won’t be much romantic development, but it’s not bad for what it is.

“Why am I still watching this?” Tier

Isuca (Fansubbing)

Well, I think that pretty much answers that question.

With that said though, this was actually kind of surprising to me in a few ways. Normally I detest this kind of show, since it’s a harem with fantasy elements, two of which are things that I’m very picky about in an anime. I picked this up mainly because of the art-style, and even though I knew it was an ecchi going in, I expected to be halfway decent, since people said the source material was actually all right. The supernatural elements involved also slightly interested me and I said, “Eh, why not?” and went with it.

There were things that I did not expect though. I didn’t expect my supernatural-fantasy-ecchi-harem anime to also have gore as a main element. I’m not a huge fan of gore in most anime, and can almost instantly kill my desire for a series if not done properly. I also didn’t expect the show to be censored to the extent that it was, and with it being centered around both ecchi and gore didn’t help matters. I call it “double censorship”, as both overly gory and overly ecchi stuff is censored. I can understand some of the censoring though, especially on the ecchi material, as that’s usually reserved for Blu-rays. Even with that said, the censoring decisions were sometimes…. weird.

I think they were going for the side-boob, but it just looks like they censored her armpit.

I think they were going for the side-boob, but it just looks like they censored her armpit.

On top of that, the plot isn’t even that good, and sometimes the art-style can get to be real “QUALITY” material. I should have trusted my gut instinct on this one and stayed away from this Studio Arms production. The only real redeeming value of the show at this point are the characters and the OP/ED, which are only mediocre at best.

We did get this, though... It's a small victory, at least.

We did get this, though… It’s a small victory, at least.

In summary, I think that these shows may still have some untapped potential that we haven’t seen yet, but I think the main elements are set-in-stone. Some of the stuff that I backlogged looked like it had way better potential than some shows currently on my list.

Hopefully if you’re watching stuff from this season, you have made better choices than me in your selection of shows. If not… Well, you can join me on the ride, however bad that may turn out to be.

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