Blame Cinderella Girls.
Non Non Biyori Repeat
Non Non Biyori, where do I even start? This anime is so much more than watching four girls everyday life in the Japanese country side, it’s such a relaxing, peaceful, calming, healing, refreshing, soothing, enjoyable anime that’s never up in your face and you can just sit back and watch on a lazy summer day. Where Non Non Biyori excels is the atmosphere it creates, it’s so tranquil and I have yet to find another anime that can recreate the exact same feelings Non Non Biyori can. Sure it’s a slice of life anime that really does follow the everyday lives of four girls living in the countryside, but their personalities, emotions and experiences are what give this anime so much life and make it one of the most calming anime to watch. But as important as the atmosphere and characters are to this anime, that feeling wouldn’t be complete without the gorgeous animation and perfectly fitting music to accompany it. When you combine all these strong points you get an anime that is truly special.
So as this wasn’t a complete sequel, rather a retelling with “new content” (well mostly new content), it still was exactly what I expected from it and it never let me down. Even if it was a lot of the same stuff from season 1, it’s been so long since I last watched that so honestly it felt all new to me. I’ve got no reason to complain about it as it was still extremely enjoyable to watch and I loved every second of it. Some say this season was weak, I completely and totally disagree with that. Non Non Biyori Repeat is worthy of the praise for pretty much all of the above reasons I just mentioned. Let me just take a certain part from ep 4 and talk about why this anime is so amazing. Okay so the part I’m referring to is when Renge finds out that the tadpole shrimp she caught a few days ago has died. What’s so amazing about it is the emotion it invokes without ever making it a big deal or forcing it on you. Renge is just a child and the whole concept of death is probably something she hasn’t fully grasped yet, so after growing attached to this tadpole shrimp and studying it each day, having it suddenly die is an incredibly heartbreaking moment. I actually got emotional during that part, I’m not going to lie, because seeing her burying it in silence then the scene where she’s standing out in the rain after school in front of the grave, it’s extremely sad. But the point I’m trying to make here is that something like this on paper is pretty simple yet when you see it happen, then add in the music and emotion, it brings to scene to life and makes it hit so much harder. It really amazes me that such a simple slice of life anime has this power to be so emotional at times, more so than, say what I’ve seen in some other “feels” anime. I could also mention in the first season of Non Non Biyori when Renge finds out a girl she met and played with suddenly leaves town. The moment when it’s slowly zooming in on her face and she starts to tear up, man that was unexpected and it hit me hard. Once again showing that to invoke an emotional response like that, you don’t have to have some huge convoluted plot like something you expect from the likes of Key. That’s something that amazes me about Non Non Biyori and that’s why I can’t understand how anyone could call it weak, let alone anything negative at all.
I mentioned art and music briefly, but they really deserve to be talked about a bit more. Out of all the Silver Link anime I’ve seen (which isn’t that many…), Non Non Biyori by far looks the best. It captures the feeling of summer like no other anime and it really places you in the country side, making you feel like a part of the scene rather than watching it. It all stems back to creating the perfect atmosphere and honestly Silver Link does such a perfect job with Non Non Biyori. It’s why I loved the first season so much and why I love the second season even more so, they stuck with what worked and didn’t try to one up themselves and risk destroying the atmosphere they created. The music is also once again spot on too, very calm and mellow, accompanying each scene perfectly and it’s never up in your face or overpowering the scene. I also really enjoyed hearing nano.RIPE return to sing the OP, Non Non Biyori just wouldn’t be the same if they weren’t singing the OP. The ED as well is very good, the main cast singing it and it’s a catchy tune to listen to. So overall Non Non Biyori excelled in art and music, but then again I pretty much expected that from this and they didn’t let me down at all.
So to bring this to a close, the art, music, characters, and emotion in this anime are something I truly admire and the way it’s all presented and the feelings it invokes are something I have yet to see from any other anime I’ve watched. Kinda goes without saying that Non Non Biyori Repeat is right up there for my favorite of the season, and while I still hold fast to Gakkou Gurashi! being my anime of the season, Non Non Biyori Repeat is a half step down in terms of favorites. To tally this all up, I’m giving Non Non Biyori Repeat a perfect 10/10. Slice of life anime at it’s absolute finest.
Senki Zesshou Symphogear GX: Believe in Justice and Hold a Determination to Fist.
Symphogear on a whole is slightly hard to explain as the plot is usually so out there that it barely makes any sense to begin with, that was the same for the third installment of this music battle anime. I don’t think you can like Symphogear in a way like it’s a masterpiece of an anime, but rather it’s something you like in terms of pure entertainment value as it’s extremely fun to watch. What I love most about it is probably the over the top action. Symphogear GX had some moments that are so crazy over the top that I couldn’t help but to laugh at the sheer absurdity that was in front of my eyes. But hey it worked and it fit the anime perfectly. Even the song names and lyrics are over the top too. Take Kirika’s character song for example, “Overkill Scythe Hell” that’s actually the song name. It’s so totally expected of Symphogear considering everything else that happens in an average episode.
So in terms of this season, Symphogear GX, I really had a fun time watching it. I came in expecting another over the top action packed ride from start to finish and that’s exactly what I got. I mean any anime that opens with three girls being launched from a missile to stop a space ship crashing through the atmosphere and in the process smash through K2, you know it’s gonna be good. That’s how it started and it never let up at all. Tsubasa, Chris, Hibiki, and everyone else were all great to see again, I loved the music as always, the animation while terrible at times it was also great during some moments too, and the overall experience I had watching this third season was a very positive one. I hope they all return for a fourth season as I sure as hell would watch it. Just don’t have the Noise as the enemy once again, that’s getting really old now. So all in all I’m giving Symphogear GX a 9/10. Great fun from start to finish.
Shokugeki no Souma
As far as food anime go, Shokugeki no Souma is by far one of my top favorites. Aside from it being pretty much straight up food porn at times, it was also wrapped in a compelling story, enjoyable characters, great animation and food that made your mouth water. I enjoyed every second of this anime as it was just so much fun to watch. I heard a lot of hype about it before it started, and sometimes anime that are hyped a lot tend to not do well, but it actually fully delivered and it turned out being so much better than I expected it to be. For this one it’s probably the characters I love so much, and not just because Risa Taneda was voicing one of them, but they all were lots of fun to watch each week and I never got tired of them. The story was solid all the way through but by the ending it felt like there was still do much more to tell and like this was only just the beginning of a long journey from Souma and the rest of the gang. Will we get another season? I certainly hope so as I’m sure lots of people would love more of this one.
So all in all Shokugeki no Souma was such a great experience watching from start to finish and it really is worth taking time to watch it as it won’t disappoint at all. Just make sure you’ve got some food for what you do watch, you’ll be mad hungry otherwise. In terms of a score, I’ll give Shokugeki no Souma a 9/10. Excellent show.
Sore ga Seiyuu!
Obviously this comes nowhere close to the likes of lats year’s epic, Shirobako, but even so it was nice to watch another anime about, well anime. Had I not watched Shirobako I’m not sure I’d have enjoyed this one as much as I did, but nevertheless Sore ga Seiyuu was another great look at inside the anime industry. While it was just about voice acting this time, it made it interesting by having guest appearances by popular seiyuus, so that made each week interesting as there was this excitement to see who will be the guest star. In terms of a story, this one could’ve probably gone for more eps if they really wanted to get some serious plot happening, I’m saying this mostly because I didn’t feel that connected to the characters as I would’ve liked to be. Sure I enjoyed watching them each week, but there wasn’t that much of an emotional connection to them, even when they came across hard times. That said while Sore ga Seiyuu was still a good anime, it wasn’t to the level of a great anime.
In terms of art and music, I wasn’t really a fan of the art. Gonzo isn’t really a favorite studio of mine, aside from Strike Witches, but yeah I just don’t really like how they do character designs and in Sore ga Seiyuu it really showed at times. Music wise, I can’t really think of any songs that really stood out for me, so not that many points in those categories. Overall I liked Sore ga Seiyuu, but it wasn’t a great anime. There was a time I felt like dropping it, but I stayed on till the end mostly because I liked the guest appearance aspect of the show. If you want to watch an anime about the anime industry, I highly recommend Shirobako as it’s something like no other. Easily the best P.A. Works anime I’ve seen and it’s in the top 10 of my all time favorites. But back to this one; tallying it all up I’ll give Sore ga Seiyuu a 7/10. Good but not great.
The iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls 2nd Season
Had this anime not have been delayed, you would’ve read this weeks ago. But no there were delays after delays, and then to top it all incomplete subs for the final ep. Like seriously what the hell guys. Anyways after all is said and done, here we are with the final impressions.
So looking at Cinderella Girls as a whole, from when it started way back in the winter season and to where it’s gotten now, it’s been a bumpy, drama filled ride but at the same time it had some really great parts to it as well. It terms of how it stacks up to the original iDOLM@STER anime… well I could be here for the rest of the day to debate folks about it, but as this is my blog I’ll say what I want. I’ll start off with the big one: I enjoyed Cinderella Girls more than the original iDOLM@STER anime. There I said it. For me what it comes down to are the characters. I’m in the process of rewatching the iM@S and after 8 eps I’m still not really loving anyone a lot. Even thinking back to when I first watched it while it aired in 2011, I still can’t remember being super obsessed with anyone. Right off the top of my head I can list Rin, Ranko, Anya, Mika, Uzuki, & Kaede among many others that I really liked in Cinderella Girls; for iM@S it’s… Takane… and that’s probably it. While at the core the story is the same, it’s the characters bring it to life and for me I got more life out of Cinderella Girls than iM@S, well so far at least. Does this mean that I completely hate iM@S? Of course not, and don’t you assume that either.
I mentioned story briefly, so lets talk about that a bit more. Cinderella Girls builds the group of girls from the ground up while iM@S starts off with them already being a group and going from there. If there are any eps where it shows them before they get to where they are currently, I haven’t gotten to them yet. Either way I enjoyed seeing the Cinderella Girls rise from nothing into something as it was a more interesting journey, as overly drama filled as it got at times, but once they worked out their problems and got up on stage to sing, there really was some magic there. Sure they haven’t had many performances in iM@S yet, but so far I’m not getting the overall energy that I got from Cinderella Girls. To me I’m getting a more slice of life vibe from iM@S than an idol series vibe, so maybe that’s why I feel it can’t stack up when I look at the two of when. I still like it at times and all, but it really doesn’t feel like an idol anime for the most part. If anything, the best story driven idol series I’ve seen to date is Wake Up, Girls!; I really enjoyed that one, completely horrible animation aside, but that had a really great story to it. I don’t really want to get into the music side of it as I will confess I haven’t listened to many songs from iM@S, but as for as OP/EDs go, I really like the Cinderella Girls ones. Yes I know that iM@S has a different ED every time, but none of them have really stood out for me. Maybe ep 5, but even so it wasn’t anything memorable enough that I can think of the tune right now. For Cinderella Girls I loved the OP/ED for both seasons along with the OST and insert songs. For me it’s usually a really good sign if I like the OST as so many anime have such forgettable background music. Cinderella Girls is among the few that really stood out in those regards and compared to iM@S it’s much better.
Moving away from story, characters and music now, another point that I liked about Cinderella Girls was the animation. Before you get started, yes I realize that iM@S came out in 2011 so there will be the obvious difference in terms of quality, but I’m watching a Blu-ray batch for iM@S and honestly I’m noticing a lot of “quality” moments. I thought the BD batch was supposed to fix those problems? For 2011 I’ve seen some really nice looking anime, but iM@S is not one of them by far. Character designs aside for a moment, one thing that I noticed a lot in Cinderella Girls was the attention to detail in general background or interior shots. Like wow someone took time to make them look nice. Sure it’s not to a SHAFT level of amazing interior design, but still there are some moments that are very nice. Overall though I really found Cinderella Girls had a better animation style and its generally nicer to look at. iM@S is very bright and colorful which adds to it’s slice of life/lighthearted vibe, but I really think Cinderella Girls hit all the right points as it gave off a more serious atmosphere to it. And as for character designs, Cinderella Girls once again takes the point here as iM@S has way too many noticeable quality moments where it really shouldn’t. Not to as extreme a degree as Wake Up, Girls! did, which was downright awful honestly, but still there are moments that really should have better animation than they do.
So as this is all out of the bag, why don’t we put it all back in. Looking at the two I’ve gotta hand the prize to Cinderella Girls. I liked the story, characters, animation and music more than iM@S and because of that I personally feel it’s the better of the two. While iM@S isn’t bad, it’s just not giving off the same idol series vibes as Cinderella Girls does, and for me if an anime makes me feel a certain way, that’s usually going to dictate my outlook for it going forward. iM@S still has 18 eps + a movie to change my mind, but honestly speaking I’m not sure it’s going to be able to. Alright then I’ve talked enough about this so I should bring it all to a close now. After waiting for it’s second cour, weekly delays and bad subs, Cinderella Girls still came out as a favorite from the summer season along with a being a new top favorite idol series for me. With all said and done I’m left wanting to see these girls continue their journey as it’s only just begun, but this is the place we’ll have leave it. As for a score now, I’ll give The iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls as a whole, a solid 9/10. Amazing smiles.
In terms of short anime, Wakaba*Girl has been such a delight to watch. It’s so cute and charming, the characters are funny and enjoyable, and the whole atmosphere it has is such a great one. While it’s only just under 8 minutes, it’s totally worth putting the time into watching as it’s guaranteed to make you smile and laugh. It reminded me a lot of Kiniro Mosaic, which should be exacted as Yui Hara is the creator behind it. I really wish this Wakaba*Girl could’ve been longer as 7 minutes while is longer than some short anime, having it a full 24 would’ve been nicer. But I’m still happy with what I got. I should also mention the OP song “Hajimete Girls!” by Ray; I really loved that song and had it not been for “Shine!!“, the Cinderella Girls S2 OP, I easily would’ve called this my top favorite OP of the season. Even so, it comes in second place. The version of it with the cast singing is also really good too. So tallying up all the points, I’ll give Wakaba*Girl a solid 8.5/10. Such a fun time with this one.
So that’ll bring to a close my thoughts on the summer season. There were some great new anime as well as returning favorites, but overall it was a season I really enjoyed. So far the fall season is a bit hit and miss, I’ve dropped some already and more are on the chopping block, but the ones that are good are really good.
Right then, so if you watched any of the above mentioned anime this past summer, what are your final thoughts on them? Let me know in the comments below.
That’s all for me now, thanks for reading and I’ll cya later!
If you noticed any spelling and/or grammar errors, please let me know so I can fix them. Thanks!