Spring 2015 Anime – Plan to Watch

Well, looks like it’s that time again. This post may seem a bit late, but unlike what I’ve done in the past, I feel that it’s been a more productive and informative experience to talk about the shows a little bit after episodes have been aired. The original way I’ve done this is to write before the airing shows start and talk from a more predictive stance, and while I think that it’s interesting to be able to look back at my opinions before a show starts, I realized that it’s not exactly fun for others to read, nor does it feel very fresh.

For that reason, I’ve now moved towards smaller discussions about the first few episodes of airing shows that I’ve watched. It’s not only more reflective of the show, but it also skips all of the roundabout discussion about what X Studio has done before and how that may influence the current show. While I may revisit the idea in my future posts, it’s no longer going to the be the main focus of the “Plan to Watch” series.

Anyway, enough of the preamble (or pre-ramble, as I’m sure some of you will call it), let’s get to the material at hand.

I’m starting with the out-of-scope anime for this article, AKA “The Backlog”. Note that there’s probably more than this I’m backlogging, but there are some things that I haven’t been keeping up with in order to add them to this list (Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works S2, Highschool DxD BoRN, Knights of Sidonia: Battle for Planet Nine, ect.). Also, under a similar exception, I’m not watching the Grisaia series any further, as I want to read the source material before I watch the adaptation that they attempt to do for the rest of the series.

The Backlog

Danna ga Nani o Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken 2-sure-me
Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic
Houkago no Pleiades (TV)
Kekkai Sensen
Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku
Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu
Plastic Memories
Re-Kan!
Shokugeki no Souma
Yamadakun to Nananin no Majo

And now, moving on to the real content.

Spring 2015 had probably one of the most intense line-ups that I’ve seen in the past year or two. By intense, I mean the amount of good shows getting the sequels that they deserved. Now, how will those sequels hold up? Well, you might have that answer as you keep reading, or you may have to watch until the end of the season to find out. I’ve only watched the first few episodes of the anime below, and while that is an accurate idea of how the anime will hold up, drastic things have happened before after the first few episodes, and it’s not unlikely that it will happen again.

Also, as I said before, spoilers and NSFW things can show up, and I’ll tag the discussion itself if those topics are discussed. If it’s a second season discussion, I’ll expect you to have knowledge of the prior season and therefore will not tag anything as spoilers that isn’t new to the series that’s currently airing.

tl;dr If you don’t want spoilers for S1 of Nisekoi and OreGairu (Yahari), just skip the first two entries and move on to the rest of the article.

“The best, just the best” Tier

Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. Zoku (OreGairu S2)

If there’s anything that’s going to be amazing, it’ll be this show right here. Even with the change in animation style, it still continues to be a masterful series just like the first season. Although they’ve ditched some of the more “parody” of tropes within the genre for now, their new focus, character development, is probably one of the strongest romcom developments that I’ve seen in a while. It’s definitely going to be a much more powerful and heart-wrenching story this time around, and I’m sure that as we move forward through the series, those parodies of common romcom clichés will make a return in a spectacular way later on. There is an introduction of a new character during this development of characters, and although we don’t know much about her yet, she’s definitely adding a good deal of elements to this already powerful story.

Nisekoi: (or as generaltofu called it, “Nisecolon”)

There are two things that always give me bad vibes about shows, and that is A. Shows that are getting second seasons that don’t need them, and B. When you see a massive amount of characters in the first episode and you wonder, “Wow, how the heck are they gonna get to all of those in 13 episodes, continue to develop the pre-existing characters, and also progress the plot?” The second season of this show that I loved the first season of so much seems to suffer from both of these issues from what I’ve seen thus far. For those source material followers, you can’t watch the opening and not tell me that you don’t have a fear of them rushing through the material, especially with the 13 episodes that they have. There also seems to be a smaller change in how the characters are acting in regards to how they did in the source material, but that’s a minor issue as Studio Shaft normally plays the source material straight, with some minor changes at most. I’m excited to watch more just like how I was excited during the first season, but as I continue on with the series, I can’t help but be concerned of the direction the story is taking as a whole.

Headtilt Status: Tilted

Shaft Headtilt Status: Tilted

Hibike! Euphonium

As a hardcore fan of KyoAni, this is a show that I never really expected to hit off as well as it did for me. I figured it would be a more drama-oriented slice-of-life. Because of that, I expected there to actually be a lot of forced drama moments in between the characters and have none of the situations feel real at all. They’ve done a pretty good job avoiding those moments and making all of the characters likeable from the first few episodes that I’ve seen, although it started out really slow. The animation is gorgeous and the music elements within the show are also spot-on with the purpose and feel of the series. It’s not my favorite KyoAni work, nor did I expect it to be, but it’s definitely not a bad show for what it is.

Ore Monogatari!!

Now, here’s a show that I think is awesome, but I have a really hard time watching… in a good way. I actually really like this shoujo take on a romance story, and so far, has done a way better job that Ao Haru Ride did back in the previous Summer 2014 season. I’m pretty excited to see more stories like these being adapted since as they’re usually not too bad. This show excels at telling an excellent romance story between the main two characters. I do have a few issues with how they’re telling the story though, with the immense amount of random plot devices that just appear literally out of nowhere. Minus that though, the show is very powerful and definitely something I’d recommend watching, as long as you can tolerate the cringe moments that occur frequently in the first few episodes.

“Not a winter show” Tier

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

Well, with there only being two tiers this time, you can only assume that these shows are only slightly less appealing than the ones I have listed above. Although Dungeon (or DanMachi, since the title is so damn long) is different from the shows that I talked about above. I definitely agree with and understand the massive popularity that this show has gotten, even though I’m not necessarily a huge fan of the genre or the setting itself. It’s definitely interesting seeing how they portray the whole “Familia” concept and compare it to family, but that’s really the only thing that’s new and fresh about this series. It’s definitely better than some other shows though that tend to follow these exact same patterns, and I would still recommend it as long as you’re just looking for something to enjoy rather than something that’s doing something new. JC Staff has done a pretty good job this season with shows, and I hope they keep it up, as I usually enjoy the works that they adapt.

Meanwhile, at JC Staff…
Animator 1: “Hm, you know, working on this show reminds me of another show we did a while back.”
Animator 2: “Oh really? Which one?”
Animator 1: “I dunno, but I feel like I’ve seen this somewhere before.”
Animator 2: “Nah, you’re probably just imagining things.”

For more detailed discussion on this show, check out Episode 2 of Log Time! where we go super in-depth about this show in particular.

Owari no Seraph (Fansubbing)

By the same studio that brought you Attack on Titan and Rolling Girls, they’ve decided to give us this. I was actually pretty excited that I not only got to work on this show with my fansub group, but also that the show itself looked pretty decent.

It's not too often you see hand-drawn backgrounds these days, and they've 100% nailed them in terms of quality.

It’s not too often you see hand-drawn backgrounds these days, and they’ve 100% nailed them in terms of quality.

In short, it’s not too bad of a show if you like the stereotypical shounen things, and is good in the same way that Mahouka is good. It’s very predictable, but there’s many story elements that we don’t understand yet, and that’s what makes this story interesting. Since this is the first of two cours, there hasn’t been too many plot twists or revelations, as I assume they’re saving those for the first cour. So far, it’s been not too much outside of character building and setting up for something bigger, and each episode involving those is pretty predictable. It’s nothing original story-wise thus far, but it is going somewhere pretty cool and I hope that the place it ends up is really mind-blowing.

Punch Line!

“Why?”

Yeah, that’s a great question actually. The funny thing is, I’ve watched 3 episodes of this show, and I still have literally no idea what’s going on, but I do know it’s something crazy and that the PV was pretty misleading in terms of how it decided to tell the story. Actually, I have some big issues with how they presented the story initially in the PV, the Opening, and parts of the first episode. The keyword here is “fan-service.” Maybe it’s just weird to me, but that’s not how I would present a show where you’re attempting to actually tell a really though-provoking story and have super-interesting characters, because that literally might just turn some people off from the show.

Actually it might turn people on, but that's not the point I'm making here. Also as an additional aside, these eyecatches are really weird.

Actually it might turn people on, but that’s not the point I’m making here.
Also as an additional aside, these “eye catches” are really weird.

What I’m trying to say is that it’s a very minimal aspect of the show, and also a very critical plot point, for which we don’t yet know it’s purpose, and they sell it off as this major aspect of the show within the PV/OP. In reality, it’s actually no worse than some other shows in terms of fan-service scenes within the show (DanMachi being a primary example), although it’s definitely a lot less subtle . The whole show is puzzling, and minus what I’ve mentioned above, I don’t think it’ll be too bad of a show, unless something changes drastically, which is 100% possible within the way this show is set up.

Show by Rock!!

This show was basically a last minute pick-up due to a recommendation from one of my fellow fansubbers. I originally wasn’t going to watch this as I figured it was going to be pretty bad, but after seeing the PV and watching a little bit of the show, I realize that this show is actually really cool in a few unique ways that other shows haven’t done. They decide to use smaller CG segments in order for the actual performances, which I don’t necessarily agree with but I appreciate, as that CG is really well-done and fits the world that the show has created. This world that they’ve built for this show is actually really elaborate and pretty interesting for this being a run-of-the-mill show about cute girls performing music. Everything else is pretty standard for this type of show, and there’s no forced drama to ruin it, which is always nice as well. I don’t regret picking it up at all though, and would actually recommend it if you’re into those kinds of shows and aren’t afraid of how the show looks during those CG segments.

…Hey! We’re actually in the clear for once! I managed to avoid all of the potentially awful shows so far. But I’m sure the backlog at least has a few in there. As for now though, I will assume that Winter 2014/2015 got out all of the bad within the industry and now we’re getting mediocre stuff at worst. I hope, anyway. At least you’re safe if you decide to watch any of these, and I actually recommend you do so. These all seem to be interesting shows thus far, and no matter what genre suits you more, I’m sure at least one of these will appeal to your tastes and interests.

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Additional Notes from the Author: I hope the next post doesn’t take as long as this one did. Sorry for the delay. Finals suck.

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