Things and stuff happened.
So pretty much because we do something similar to this over on Anime Corps, I figured I’d save my personal look at the summer season for my personal blog. As the title says and as I’m sure you’ve guessed it, this post will be my final thoughts on the 14 summer anime that I watched this past season. I will not include dropped shows because I don’t want to talk about them. Simple as that. Right then so without further delay let’s jump in with this.
Akagami no Shirayuki-hime
Through and through Akagami no Shirayuki-hime (Snow White with the Red Hair) is a love story and a very good one at that. From the first ep right down to the last one it excels in showing two characters fall in love and the trials they face along the way. While that’s the heart of this anime, what I would’ve liked to see more progress on the actual story front. I enjoyed this anime a lot, don’t get me wrong, but it just felt like there wasn’t a story that flowed through it all. The romance is a big part of it yes, but actual plot and stuff was a bit too light. It was too loosely connected and because of that I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to. Not that it detracts from the overall charm of this anime, but instead of a self contained story in each ep, if there was more connecting it all other than Zen and Shirayuki falling in love, I would’ve liked this anime a lot more. So looking back at it that’s my biggest qualm with it, too light on the actual plot.
But where it might have been light with that, it certainly delivered in other areas. The animation was bright and beautiful, I loved the scenery shots as the vivid colors brought everything to life. The music was also a strong point too, from the OP sung by Saori Hayami to the ED by eyelis and the OST in between, it was all very well done and a strong point for this anime in my eyes. And of course how could I not mention the voice acting. A huge favorite of mine, Saori Hayami, played the lead role of Shirayuki and I really loved her as this character. I’m probably moving into talking about the characters now but that’s alright too. Shirayuki was a female lead character that I really enjoyed seeing each week as she wasn’t just some cut and paste girl that you see in every anime, she was a strong and determined character that had a goal in sight and worked very hard to reach it. She’s admirable in this regard as she never came across as a damsel in distress because when she got into a tight spot she was able to get herself out and not break down into an emotional wreck. I like that when a female character can actually look out for herself, it’s much better than some wimpy girl crying at the first sight of danger. The other characters such as Zen, Obi, Kiki and Mitsuhide were all very well solid characters and played their roles well.
So while the story was a bit weak, the characters, animation, music and voice acting really brought this anime to life and made it a love story worth taking the time to watch. But it’s not over yet, the second cour is set for January 2016 so I look forward to more of this anime in the New Year. For now though I’m giving Akagami no Shirayuki-hime (Snow White with the Red Hair) a solid 8.5/10. Definite recommendation from this season.
I don’t really have much to say about this one honestly, I mean it’s only 3 minutes and 30 seconds long, so plot and story is out the window right off the bat. As I seem to be strangely attracted to anime with slight incest vibes (I fully
thank blame Oreimo for turning me into this) I had a liking for Danchigai, but from an objective stand point, or at least as close to one as I can provide, this anime doesn’t have much going for it. It’s a short slice of life about a guy and his sisters, ranging from young to high school age, and their daily lives in their apartment. If I were to pick favorites I’d say Mutsuki or Yayoi are my favorites mostly because the other two are pretty much a one way trip to jail. But as there isn’t really much content to talk about, I’ll bring this short final impression to a close now. Danchigai gets a 5.5/10. Pretty much stuck around because of the incest vibes.
For me first impressions are a lot, so when the first episode of a new anime impresses me I’m more likely to become interested in it and want to watch more. Sure some do take a few eps before they get going, others never do get going at all, but for the most part within the first 3 or 4 eps if things aren’t happening then I see no reason to continue watching. It’s part of a new policy I’ve created: if I’m not enjoying it, I’m not going to continue watching it. With that said, I went into episode 1 of Gakkou Gurashi with… not exactly high hopes but slight interest. I honestly wasn’t expecting much from this, even after hearing it was supposed to be some “loli zombie apocalypse” anime, it just didn’t fill me with any confidence that it would be good at all. Anime Corps writer Tsuyuki made bold claims saying this was Anime of the Seasons (or Year) material even before it aired, something that’s maybe a bit too overconfident, but nevertheless I decided to check it out with the hope that it might not be as bad as I expected it to be.
Then at the 20:30-35 mark of episode 1, my jaw hit the floor.
Oh my god… I can’t remember a first episode that made me feel like this one did. It’s hard to put into writing the exact feeling I had when Yuki turned around to face Miki and you realize the full extent of the situation they’re in, it was just so sudden and unexpected that I was completely caught off guard. If you want to hook your viewers from the very start, Gakkou Gurashi did the perfect job of that. Like I said, I can’t remember another first episode that caught me so off guard and totally blew me away than this one did. Such excellent execution, they pulled that reveal off perfectly and I applaud them for that. But what I think is the best part of the first episode, is that the rewatch value is extremely high because you notice all the little details that you missed the first time and it adds so much more depth to the story. I’ve said it twice, but it merits me saying it again: I can’t remember a first episode that made me feel the way Gakkou Gurashi episode 1 did.
But as great as the premier episode was, could that feeling carry through the remaining 11 episodes? Yes, it did. From start to finish Gakkou Gurashi was a suspenseful, emotional, terrifying, dramatic and soul crushing anime that I wish I could experience all over again and feel those feelings again. What I love so much about this anime has to be the plot execution and characters. They gave the characters lots of depth so you actually felt for them when they were facing tough problems, and I love it when a series gets you that emotionally connected to the characters that you cry when they cry, or feel scared when they’re scared. Gakkou Gurashi did that so well and when coupled with excellent plot execution it really came together as an experience that will stay with me for a long time now. Of course I should also mention the music played a huge part in getting you in the right emotional state and without it things wouldn’t have been the same.
Lastly I should touch on the characters once more, because they were at the core of this anime and carried it through to the end. I still hold fast to Kurumi being my favorite, but I can’t not mention Megumi Sakura. Ugh my heart breaks when I think about her because she has to be probably the only teacher character in anime that I loved so much. Her role was such an important one as without her the girls would never have gotten where they did; I really enjoyed seeing Megu each week and even after it’s revealed in episode 3 the truth about her, it just made me love her that much more. And as the icing on the cake, Ai Kayano voiced her and did a fantastic job at that. As much as I miss everyone else, Yuki, Yuuri, Kurumi, and Miki, it’s always going to be Megu, along with the loyal to the bitter end Taroumaru, who will stand out the most for me.
So to bring this all to a close, I probably owe Tsuyuki an apology for thinking that his statement of Anime of the Season was completely idiotic. By far, beating out Non Non Biyori Repeat as well, Gakkou Gurashi is worthy of the title of Anime of the Season and I would even go as far to say this is Anime of the Year material. I guess at this point it should be obvious what my score will be, but I’ll say it just the same. Gakkou Gurashi (School Live!) gets the highest award this season along with a 10/10 score. This will be one I’ll be thinking about for a long time after.
Gatchaman Crowds: Insight
Another highly anticipated sequel this season, Gatchaman Crowds: Insight turned out to be a solid follow up to the 2013 first season. Unlike S1 though, Insight wasn’t focusing on the GALAX and Crowds, rather it took a different turn and put the spotlight on defining heroism and social problems. I won’t lie that I can find things like this sometimes confusing, but it was handled pretty well and by the end things finally worked out for the best, I guess.
Some points I liked were once again the art and animation. It’s a bit different than other anime yet it looks very cool and fits the story. The CG was once again crisp and worked well in the fight scenes, much like season 1. I also enjoyed the OST, much like I did with the first season. There aren’t many OST’s that I get really hyped about, but Gatchaman really has a killer OST and it’s one you can listen to for a long time after the anime is over. Another point that I liked was how less… autistic Hajime was. Say what you want, but she was very hard to handle in the first season. Between her slurring and just extreme high energy attitude she came across as very annoying at times, but she was a lot more down to Earth in Insight and it worked because a year has passed since the events of season 1, so her being a more mature character is believable and better story wise.
In general follow ups always worry me because more often than not the whole aspect of a sequel is misunderstood. What it’s supposed to be is a continuation to the story, not a rehashing of the original. I’ve seen this happen so many times and it’s extremely annoying, but Gatchaman thankfully pulled through and continued the story instead of doing season 1 all over again.
I don’t really have much else to say, so I’ll end it here. For sure this is a series worth putting time into as you’ll get a lot out of it. With that said, I’m giving Gatchaman Crowds: Insight a solid 8.5/10. Great to see a sequel working well.
Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite Kaku Tatakaeri
A hugely popular anime of the season, Gate was worth a lot of hype but honestly it wasn’t a favorite of mine this season. Off the start I wasn’t liking it and it took till about ep 4 before I finally warmed up to it. Yes there was a point where I considered dropping it in accordance with my new policy of “if I’m not liking it I won’t subject myself to watching anymore of it”. That also ties into my 3 ep rule but whatever the case, Gate passed, barely, and I kept watching till the end of it’s first cour. Yes that’s right Gate is a two cour anime but it’s been broken up and the second half will be in January 2016 as well. Kinda annoying as I was looking forward to watching it through the winter season. Anyways though, let’s actually talk about this anime.
So like I said it wasn’t a favorite of mine. Why? Well I didn’t really like Itami that much. He’s just… meh not a character I enjoy watching all that much. But he was tolerable enough for me to keep watching through till the end. Thankfully there were moments where he was likable but overall he wasn’t a favorite of mine. Then again it’s mainly the girls who were the topic of conversations anyways. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, Rory is totally best girl. Out of the three main girls she did the most and because of that and she fact she’s voiced by the always enjoyable to hear Risa Taneda, I’ve gotta give her the best girl title. Some say Lelei is the best girl and I can see where they come from with that claim. Having Nao Touyama voice her is certainly enough to make her a favorite, but like I said Rory did probably the most out of the three girls. The third girl I’m talking about is Tuka, the elf girl. Yeah she wasn’t really that central to the story and felt like she was only there to cater to fans who like that character type. But of course the second best girl is probably Piña Co Lada, my love of red haired girls showing here, but Haruka Tomatsu is a favorite of mine and I enjoy hearing her.
Characters aside, the action in Gate is another strong point that I loved. By far ep 6 was the most action packed and I watched that a couple times due to how awesome is was. The military influence was very strong in this anime too, thanks to the creator Takumi Yanai actually being a former member of the JSDF. So because of this things felt very authentic and it added depth to the military as a whole, having someone who knows all about it being the creator. On the animation front, A-1 Pictures, a favorite of mine, was running point and I felt they did a great job as expected. The character designs were great, the action scenes looked fantastic, the CG we very well done, overall it was a nice high budget anime from them.
All in all though Gate wasn’t a season topping anime as there were others that excelled far beyond this. I’ll still be tuning in come January to see how this all concludes as it’s got me interested to see how things go. So as far as it goes for scoring this first cour up, I’ll give Gate a 7/10. I liked it, but it wasn’t a season highlight for me.
This one wasn’t on my radar until it was about 3 eps in, then I picked up on it. Thank God I did. Umaru-chan was by far one of the funniest anime of the season and it did so without being overly silly or just straight up stupid as most comedy anime seem to do. From the first ep down to the last one, I was laughing every time I watched it as the antics of Umaru, Ebina, Taihei, Kirie and Sylphin were always hilarious. There isn’t really much in the way of story, so you could almost call this a slice of life anime, but that was alright as the humor and enjoyable characters were the main reason to keep watching. If you’re looking for an anime that’ll have you laughing and having a great time while watching, I recommend Umaru-chan as it’ll have you entertained from start to finish. I really hope to see more of this but I guess that lies in the Blu-ray sales and if there is any more content to adapt. But whatever the case is, Umaru-chan was a stand out anime this season and one worth putting the time into. That said I’m giving Himouto! Umaru-chan a solid 8/10. Such a fun time watching this one.
Joukamachi no Dandelion
A hidden gem of the season, Dandelion was one I thought I might not like, but as it continued on I enjoyed it more and more. Another sibling comedy anime (seem to have a lot this season) Dandelion had a large cast yet it was able to work well and everyone able to get a decent amount of screen time in. That can be hard to do when there are a lot of characters, but I felt that it was handled pretty well in this anime. A point I liked about this anime was the cast, a few stand out names being: Yui Ogura, Kana Hanazawa, Ai Kayano, Kaori Ishihara, and even Saori Hayami having a small role too. It was great to see a lot of talent in this anime and it helped make the experience that much more enjoyable.
While the characters were the main part of this anime, I liked other aspects like the music, art and story too. Sure it wasn’t a super in depth story, but I think having this one be longer might have been good. I know I said that the balance of characters was good, but if it were longer than we could have even more time to explore these characters on their quest to win the throne. With 9 main characters I’m sure 24 eps would give everyone a lot of time to really be explored and we could know much more about them. But even so 12 eps did the job well and in the end things came to a fitting ending.
So while it might not have been something on your list to watch, Dandelion is an anime that once you put some time into, it gets pretty good and you’ll have a fun time watching to the end. I’ve said pretty much all I can think of now, so I’ll bring this to a close now. Tallying it all up, I’m giving Joukamachi no Dandelion (Castle Town Dandelion) a 7/10.
So that’s it for the first part of final thoughts on the summer anime I watched. I’ll have part 2 out in a few weeks time as I’m waiting on Cinderella Girls to finish; it’s been delayed a lot so it’s pushing the release of the second post back a lot. But if things all work out you can expect to see part 2 out hopefully on October 16th, as that’s when the final ep will be out. Unless it’s delayed again.
If you watched any of the above anime this past season, what are your final thoughts on them? Hit up the comment section below with your final impressions.
Alright that’s it for me, thanks for reading and I’ll cya in part 2!
If you noticed any spelling and/or grammar errors, please let me know so I can fix them. Thanks!