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Summer Anime Season 2014 – Review September 30, 2014

Posted by coolmikeol in Anime.
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Now that the Summer Anime season has drawn to a close, it’s time for me to review the ones I’ve watched. As usual I didn’t have much planned to watch in the beginning, except for Sword Art Online II and continuing Mahouka from the Spring season, until I checked out a bunch of interesting ones from the trusty AniChart.net. Now without further ado, lets review!

(Remember that if you want a synopsis of a series, please check out the links above the images for information on a series, as I won’t be explicitly doing a summary of the background information of a series.) SPOILER ALERT because I still sometimes recall things to explain them.


Aldnoah.Zero

Aldnoah.Zero

 

Aldnoah.Zero is an anime I’m glad I decided to check out. From the synopsis that was on MyAnimeList at the time, it sounded interesting but there wasn’t much to go on:

In 1972, the Apollo 17 mission found a hypergate to Mars on the surface of the moon. Soon, many humans have relocated to Mars, and have adapted to the name “Martians.” Many years later, a war breaks out between Earth and Mars, and Martian soldiers begin to descend from the sky, riding steel giants, intent on exterminating humanity.

NOTE: Please note that this was similar to how the synopsis was before it was edited with more information as it has now on the website. I tried my best to remember how it was when I first checking it out.

As I think this will help, here’s the updated synopsis. Hopefully this will help if you still want to read my review if you haven’t seen the series yet:

In 1972, the Apollo 17 mission found a hypergate to Mars on the surface of the moon. Upon landing, astronauts discovered an enchanted utility later referred to as “Aldnoah,” giving the astronauts a status of superiority. Soon, many humans have relocated to Mars, and have adapted to the name “Martians.” After Princess Asseylum, a royal Martian princess, descends onto Earth in an attempt to create a treaty between both planets, a war breaks out between Earth and Mars, and Martian soldiers begin to descend from the sky, riding steel giants, intent on exterminating humanity.

From the first episode, I was amazed by a couple of things: The action and the music. That end to the first episode, with the landing castles and accompanying music, that’s one way to start off a series. The composer for Aldnoah.Zero’s soundtrack is the one and only Sawano Hiroyuki, the same man who composed music for other anime series such as Attack on Titan, Kill La Kill, Guilty Crown, etc. As for someone who believes music can make or break a show, I feel that his music really did make this show more incredible. Since this series came out after Kill La Kill, I can definitely hear the resemblance between the two series’s musics, even thinking that interchanging some of the musics between the series would not be out of place.

Every episode that came every week was pretty good in my opinion. The first few episodes was pretty much Inaho and company getting their feet wet in the war, able to beat two Martian Kataphracts (mechas) mostly by tactics and not straight up strength. Of course we have no choice but to do it that way because the Martians have the power of Aldnoah, an ancient, highly advanced technology that was found on Mars after people found and used the hypergate as a teleportation between our two worlds. Since then, they have split themselves off from the humans of Earth and called themselves Martians. While we developed Kats of our own, they are no where near as powerful as some of the Martians one. What started to get old towards the end of the series was the fact that when our forces from the United Forces of Earth kept getting destroyed by standing still. At least our main characters had the ability to move out of the way of attacks. Inaho uses this method, utilizing every ability and tactics he could think of, whether they be crazy or not. That’s what made his an interest to most of us as he was the kind of main character that did everything with the same expressionless face, instead of the usual “using emotions to power though” kind of deal. Logic seemed to be his main weapon, but there was a bit more to him which was showed at the end.

One of my favorite scenes from the season was in Episode 7, where Inaho and company are fighting yet another Martian Kataphract, which had the ability of using arm like projectiles as controllable, mostly indestructible missiles. Tactics could only go so far when fighting an enemy that had strong projectiles, when you have nothing but guns and grenades on the ground. Luckily , a person from the Martian side, an Earthling named Slaine, who has the same intention of saving the Princess who was still alive, was able to come and track her down. But before having a chance to see her, the immediate threat to himself and the Princess caused him and Inaho to fight together against the enemy Kataphract, without too much of a second thought in the heat of the battle. I found it amazing that these two fought together despite being on two separate sides, even though they didn’t know each other at all. It was all just for a quick “The enemy of my enemy can be useful to me” tactic (said by Inaho). In the end of this battle, they succeeded, but that also ended Slaine’s usefulness to Inaho who promptly shoots him down as well. I thought that possibly they could have teamed up, but under the logic of Inaho, since its a war they can take no risks in trusting someone who is looking for the Princess.

The last few episodes of the series built up to the last battle at UE HQ, where once the Princess tried to stop the war by trying to let her homeland know she was safe and well, the last battle begun. By the traitor who views the Princess as the focus for his revenge of the death of the one he loved (a petty reason I think for causing a massive worldwide war), it was pretty good. As usual we got Inaho’s crazy plans come into play, with the Princess’s idea of shutting down the power source of the invader’s base. Basically BASE jumping to the enemy base by flying the Ducalion (a ship using Aldnoah found by the Inaho crew, built by humans from an old Kataphract that came in a war 15 years prior the the series, finally powered by the Princess who can power and shutdown such devices) to the stratosphere directly above the enemy landing castle. Dropping onto the base was mostly successful, however before the delivery of the Princess from the ship, the Ducalion was intercepted by an enemy flying Kataphract which shot them out of the sky which prompted them to steer the ship directly into the base as a last resort. The crew of the Decalion was hurt but still alive, along with the Princess which was still needed to stop the landing castle’s Aldnoah drive. In the final moments of the last episode, she is able to shut it down at the same time that three Kataphracts come bursting through the wall containing Inaho, the traitor Count Saazbaum, and Slaine. The Princess was not directly hurt in that event, however she ended up getting shot apparently in the head area by Count Saazbaum, which in turn was shot by Slaine in an effort to protect the Princess. Inaho, who was seriously injured in the battle tried his best to go to the Princess’s side, with flashbacks showing that he did have feeling for her despite his always straight face. However Slaine who would protect the Princess at all costs would have none of it, pointed his gun at Inaho who identified him as “Orange”, who in turn brought out his gun calling him “Bat”, the names they called each other during that battle in Episode 7. With both pointing their guns at each other, Slaine showed no hesitation to shoot Inaho once in the head, killing him. The last one standing, Slaine is seen walking while the screen pans off into the outside with Inaho’s sister doing the epilogue. The United Forces of Earth declared victory over the war, with many lost on both sides. However, the most intriguing part of this is the last thing she mentions, that the Princess’s whereabouts after the war is unknown….

NOTE: Right after watching the last episode, I put down my immediate thoughts on it. Here is what I wrote:

As I was listening to the epilogue, and after that, the sound of only the winter winds howling away, I just looked at my screen with a blank expression trying to process what just happened. “That’s how it ends?!” I was thinking. There wasn’t any indication of the story going any further, but I knew there might be something after the credits as some anime episodes tend to do. After the credits, concept art and the Aldnoah.Zero logo comes up, and with that also a message of more to come in January A.D.2015. I had chills going down my spine, my hands to my head and face, just repeatedly saying “WHAT!” and “OH MY GOD!” Not what I was expecting at all, which is a good thing.

In the epilogue, it mentions some things that will probably be shown in the next season. Apparently the Princess’s whereabouts are unknown after the war, so we can assume Slane has something to do about this. She was shot in the head (or looks that way), so I don’t know if she’s truly dead or alive after the way the ending was done. As for Inaho, I doubt he’ll come back. In the end he showed that he really did care for the Princess, even though he never showed any emotions on his face nearly the whole season. (Though it was hinted by his sister, because she could read him because they were siblings.)

I’m not sure what the next season will be about, besides Slane and the Princess, but I do have some predictions: There might be a push to create peace between the two worlds based on the Princess’s wishes. In order to do that however is not just to write up a treaty, but rather tackling the problem at hand which is changing the Martian culture of being hateful and jealous of Earth. How that will happen, I don’t know.
Another thing that needs to be answered is whether or not Slane has the Aldnoah activation ability, as he was able to activate the Tharus. It may not be due to the Vers King giving him the ability, but maybe his father who was researching it at the time was able to do so.
Finally, the final couple of episodes really made me wonder what Slane is trying to do. The only thing I knew was that he wanted to protect the Princess from anyone who wished to harm her, whether they by a Terran or a Martian. At the end he killed pretty much everyone around him; the count from shooting the Princess, and Inaho for being close to the Princess and being the one who shot him down in a previous short allyship they had.

What is Slane up to now? Did the King ever find out about what really happened with his granddaughter? Is she still alive? If she is, what is her whereabouts. Can resentments between our two worlds be resolved? Will Earth finally have peace? All these questions are buzzing around my mind, and I hope that most of them will be answered when Aldnoah.Zero continues early next year.

NOTE: End of thoughts from night of watching the last episode.

I am glad that Aldnoah.Zero will continue. At first I thought it would be one of those animes that would be a one season 12 episode thing, however I feel that they made the ending of this season a perfect way to lead into the next. I have seen a lot of negativity towards the end of Aldnoah.Zero season 1, and I’m not a part of that. I genuinely liked how it ended despite it not being a happy ending. Maybe that’s why people don’t like it. Maybe they think that Slaine acted inappropriately and should of not fired at Inaho. The way I think about it, I put myself in Slaine’s shoes. With the Princess shot down, of course I would not be in the best state of mind, heck I’d be shocked and sad just as he was. At that point he probably didn’t care much for anyone else, and certainly didn’t want anyone around her body for respect for her. Knowingly also that Inaho was with her the whole time during the war and what he did to him and what happened after that, there really wasn’t anything holding him back from taking Inaho out.

Besides the questions that I was asking myself right after finishing the series, I do have some other predictions about what will happen in Aldnoah.Zero Season 2, based on the soundtrack. I’ve been listening to the awesome soundtrack by Sawano Hiroyuki, and there are a bunch of songs I have not heard yet in the series. There’s a few that indicate bittersweet scenes, like someone’s actually alive…  or one sounding like a true victory of the war, and maybe peace. There’s another song in the soundtrack called “No differences” that has lyrics that say “Got over it ages ago…” in the beginning of the song, with other songs in the soundtrack having the same melody as this one, the same way how some of the other songs in the soundtrack have the melody of A/Z and aLIEz . Those words make me feel like the second season will take place after some form of time skip. The ultimate goal I think for the series is the Princess’s realization of peace between Earth and Mars, but it will take more than fighting the solve that, as it was explained that it was engraved into the people of Mars/Vers to fight Earth for their resources and such. Why did the people of Mars split themselves off entirely if they are envious of Earth? If we had maintained a certain relationship between the two worlds, this wouldn’t really be happening right now. Like I said, I feel that the second season will touch more of the history and culture of Mars/Vers in order to find the cause of the strained relationship between Earth and Mars and finally bring the human race together once again.

 

 

I think this is the most I’ve ever wrote for one anime series, maybe for all time. I love this series and will be watching out the for next season. If you have any questions or comments about the series or if I got something wrong, let me know in the comments.

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Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon: Crystal

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I can’t say too much about Sailor Moon at the moment, because I’ve only seen the first episode. It’s still airing so hopefully I’ll catch up on it by the time the Fall Anime Season wraps up. I’ll have my say on it once I finished watching the whole Crystal series.

 ———————

 Futsuu no Joshikousei ga [Locodol] Yatte Mita.

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“LocoDol” is one of those random animes that I found because I was looking for anything else interesting during this anime season. It’s essentially an anime about a local idol team for a small city, hence the term “LocoDol” (Local Idol). It was a bit of fresh air in terms of the idol anime genre as it didn’t require the idols to be perfect or answer to a big agency. Rather it showed how smaller idols can help a community they represent, than just for themselves or their fan base.

———————

Himegoto

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While this may look like a simple anime to most at first glance, it mostly is, until you realize that the pink haired character is actually a boy. Himegoto is an anime short series about crossdressing boys and girls for comedy and fanservice. Don’t judge me here, I like the cross-dressing genre, but at times the lengths this particular anime can go for its fanservice is questionable. I did enjoy it for what it is, but it is definitely is not for everyone.

———————

Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei

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I’ve just finished watching Mahouka and it was an alright series. When I did my Spring Anime Season Review, I did a short review of what I saw so far (the first 13 episodes) where I mentioned that I wanted someone to rival Tatsuya. After seeing this anime to the end, I understand why he’s so overpowered; it comes with a price that was only revealed at the end. Before I talk about the end of the season, I’m going to talk about some other things I want to say about this anime.

For the longest while, the terminology that the series threw out there usually went over my head, because so much was being said all at the same time that only a manga/LN could explain better. Eventually I did understand most of what was going on in the end, but that’s confusing for people who are new to the series, to the point where it could be a turn off. I’ll explain the confusing stuff in my own words: In the future, magic is widespread. After many years of research, people have been able to use magic with high precision and accuracy, to the point of it being another form of science itself; highly calculated do many great things. In order to do this, usage of CADs (Casting Assistant Device) is what really helped this feat, replacing the usual magic activation tools of staffs, magic circles, etc. Basically CADs allow for the calculations of certain types of magics at various levels to be performed, storing these activation sequences in itself (blueprints for Magic Sequences). When powered by a magician’s power (psions), the CAD uses the stored Activation Sequences to start the Magic Sequence which is completed within a magician’s Magic Calculation Area. The casted magic usually affects the Eidos of objects (forms of information constructed with Psions) whether it creates, alters, or destroys it. This is basically my understanding of the magic theory in this show in a nutshell, though I did end up having to do some research towards the end.

Since I already reviewed the first 13 episodes in the last Anime Season Review, I’m just going to talk about episodes 14-26, though it will probably be more about the last few episodes as that’s when things really started picking up. After the school competition where First High won, Tatsuya was once again involved with another competition, this one right up his field. It was a thesis writing competition, with his team doing research on creating a Thermonuclear reactor using magic as a catalyst and power source as far as my understanding goes. During the episodes leading up to it, enemy factions are trying to get possession of a Relic under Tatsuya’s supervision. Relics are rare items that have the ability to store Magic Sequences, think about it in terms of different forms of magic spells in one. As they cannot be recreated, their potential use for good or bad makes them high value targets.  At the actual Thesis Writing Competition, an attack on the convention center and area around them ensues, leading to the evacuation and counterattack by the students and authorities. Tatsuya shows his true power here, killing and disintegrating any foe or threat, like for example vanishing a trailer truck driving directly towards the building they’re in without seeing it directly in one shot, with no explosions, just gone (the driver was spared from that, but still crashed headfirst into the ground.) Even more so when it was revealed that all this time his magic was suppressed by Miyuki, which was released when his status as Special Lieutenant for the military was needed to stop the chaos. Using his highly classified Magic Sequence “Material Burst”, he single-handedly obliterated the enemy ship that was in the area, later destroying an entire fleet and base before it even was ready for battle, in an explosion that rivals if not stronger than a nuclear one.

Undertaking writing this particular post had me doing various readings on the magic systems for the series and I have to say it’s very logical how it was created. As I mentioned before, magic in this series is akin to another form of science, so logic in our real world is applied in this series’ magic explanations. Most animes with magic in it usually is just some spiritual energy that is powered by emotions/unexplained phenomena, but I like the fact that magic is logically complex in Mahouka. It kind of makes magic something that could be created from science in the future with the rise of technological advancement, or something similar.

As for the actual anime and how the season ended, I felt that it showed that Tatsuya doesn’t need to be rivaled, rather he is unrivaled for the trade-off of who he is and what happened to him in his past. He is a living weapon that should not be angered, because I feel that he could have the potential to destroy everyone around him if his desires allowed him to. As long as he has Miyuki, his sister, “love” interest, and magic limiter, he lives to protect her, rather than using his abilities for simply destroying for no reason. Also, even though I was confused about the magic theory in Mahouka in the beginning, understanding it now and thinking back on everything that happened up to the end of the season really makes looking back on it interesting.

———————

Rail Wars!

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If you don’t know what this anime is, the image says it all, it’s an anime about trains. This show primarily features real life train information, fanservice, and an over worrying main character that some how gets surrounded by girls (go figure). Naoto Takayama dreams about becoming a train driver, so on the way to that dream he becomes a Tokyo Railroad Security Officer in order to protect the trains and the customers that ride them. He leads a small team that does what it needs to do to get the job done.

This anime started out OK, but then it just fell apart to obvious fanservice. That and also it spouting out the random trivia of train information that only train otakus would understand or care about. It also became ridiculous in the scenarios that occur when something goes wrong. There’s not much more for me to say beyond that it’s an anime that a casual watch at best.

 ———————

Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!?

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In this typical anime we find our main male protagonist surrounded by girls in their attempt to invade and take over his cheap apartment for their own reasons, while keeping the others from doing so. This plotline however is only really followed during the first few episodes and watered down by the second half of the season. I felt this actually made the anime better in that regard because it would be boring if that’s all they ever did. By the second half of the season, other events and forces against our characters made them unite to help each other out in need, which made them all friends in the end. At least the main guy wasn’t so much of a wimp that we anime watchers have grown used to, he played his part as well as he should of. This was another casual watch anime for me, so it was mediocre at best.

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Sword Art Online II

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Sword Art Online II is still an ongoing airing series, but so far it has been good at not rushing the series. (Though I’ve seen complaints that it’s moving too slow for some.) At the 13 episode point, it looks as if the GGO arc is wrapping up, though I don’t know if it will go into the next arc and what not. As I have not looked into the future arcs for fear of spoilers, I don’t know if indeed they do move into the next arc that it will be either rushed or incomplete like how the ALO arc was in the first season of SAO.

 ———————

Zankyou no Terror

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 Zankyou no Terror was one of those animes with an interesting premise:

“In an alternate version of the present, Tokyo has been decimated by a shocking terrorist attack, and the only hint to the identity of the culprit is a bizarre video uploaded to the internet. The police, baffled by this cryptic clue, are powerless to stop the paranoia spreading across the population.”

Seems simple enough, and looking at the image above, you would probably assume that these people pictured are responsible. While they actually are, they have a reason for doing so, than just causing panic and chaos. I don’t feel like spoiling it for people who want to watch it so I’ll just share my feelings of the series.

While it was cryptic at times, with the terrorists riddles and such, everything that was done was done for a reason. It was fantastic how smart and prepared a lot of the characters were in the series without the feeling that they were hiding behind a plot shield. In the end, I felt that things were settled with the best results.

(Writing without revealing spoilers is so hard….)

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