Winter Anime Season 2015 – Review April 5, 2015Posted by coolmikeol in Anime, Otaku, Seasonal Anime Reviews.
Tags: Anime, Coolmikeol, Winter Anime Season 2015
The Winter Anime Season of 2015 is pretty much done, and it’s been a mixed bag, though most were very enjoyable for me. Majority of these animes were more of a casual watch for me, where I didn’t care too much for its story because it was either a slice-of-life show or shallow plot, though there was a couple that kept me waiting for more from the next episode. If you want to see a full list of what animes I’ve watched, you can always check out My Anime List. Here’s a quick list of what animes you’ll find I watched that will be reviewed in this post:
As usual, SPOILERS will be avoided as much as possible, but sometimes may pop up through my writing if I think it’s not too much of a SPOILER.
Aldnoah.Zero Season 2 continues right where season 1 ended. Rather though, the second season is more like a second half to a full 24 episode series as the episode numbers continue from 13 onwards from the first episode of this season. Taking place 18 months after the end of season 1, it is revealed that Inaho is indeed alive and well, now equipped with a bionic eye which allows him to process information at a much faster rate, allowing him to do much more elaborate feats of scientific counterattacks against the Vers empire and their Orbital Knights. As for Asseylum, she is also shown to be alive but in a coma, uncertain to awaken again. Slaine is also very much present now, taking the second half of the story much more than in season 1 where he has been promoted from mere servant, to Knight, to Count, intending to hope for Asseylum’s recovery. During the first half of the season, battles in space and on Earth are common between the UFE (United Forces of Earth) and Martian Kataphrakts. The battles where Inaho is involved is considered victories as either the Martian forces are usually taken out or defended against successfully. Midway in the second season, things take drastic changes when Slaine’s hope wavers enough for him to despair in Asseylum’s recovery at all, leading him to another path of hatred and destruction. This is further perpetuated when Asseylum wakes up shortly after giving up on her and siding with her sister, Princess Lemrina Vers Envers, with the announcement of marriage between the two (masquerading as Asseylum) which gave Slaine dominate power over the Vers forces fighting the UFE. While we should of seen Slaine back down from attacking Earth, that marriage announcement along with Asseylum’s memory of Kaizuka Inaho, and eventual return of her full memories of the events in season 1, caused him to take illogical measures against the UFE, specifically against Kaizuka Inaho. Being locked in a lie, Slaine’s increased attacks on Earth prompted the UFE to take the fight to them, first taking back stolen territory by three Counts, then attacking the Vers Moon Base with the intention to assassinate Princess Asseylum, an ironic action seeing as we were previously protecting her to stop the war. The UFE thought that by taking out the supposed leader of the attacks on Earth, that it may stop the war. Asseylum was brought to safety by Count Klancain during this event, and refused to return to the Moon Base as Slaine was no longer the person she knew. During the final showdown between the UFE and Vers Forces, the actual leader of the attacks, Slaine, finally sees that his attacks are fruitless and orders the surrender of the Vers forces, staying in the abandoned soon to be self-destructed Moon Base. Inaho who witnesses this flies around the Moon Base, teasing Slaine for a final fight, knowing full well that he would not resist. After a clash of bullets, words and blades, both Kataphrakts are damaged. Inaho’s non-critical head destroyed while Slaine’s took a fatal hit in the chest area, tumbling to burn in the Earth’s atmosphere. While Slaine could have been left for dead at this point, Inaho acts as a guide for them to both survive landing back on the surface, though their Kataphrakts are totally destroyed. As Slaine crawls feebly from his machine, Inaho points his gun at him, at which he is captured by the UFE. At the end, it is revealed to all that Slaine Troyard is the one who sparked Interplanetary War 2. Princess Asseylum, now Empress of the Vers Empire makes a peace treaty with Earth. While it was announced that Slaine was dead, in actuality he is kept under lock and key at a undisclosed UFE prison where Inaho tells Slaine that the reason he is alive today is because it was the wish of Princess Asseylum. He cries and realizes his mistakes, allowed with a chance to live with his mistakes and Asseylum’s wish.
In the ending, I understood how Slaine felt when Inaho told him why he was saved, by a wish by Asseylum. Even though Slaine knew what he did, and everyone else knew as well, when told that it was her wish, he probably felt that she was giving him a chance, to live beyond the chains of hatred that grew in his heart. In the final scenes, you can see the eyes of Slaine look more open than ever, evident by the visible pupils that he never had up to now, open to the opportunity to live once more in peace. If Inaho and Asseylum didn’t wish for his saving, there would be no mercy on him from the UFE. They saved Slaine from himself. You could easily tell that this all began at the start of S2, when he almost lost the princess, where his mind started to erode from mental instability of worrying about her all the time.
I really enjoyed S1, but didn’t really notice the series’s faults until S2. The few qualms that I have with the series are shared by others I know, like how Inaho seems to be the only competent fighter when going up against a Martian Kataphrakt. He seriously can’t be the only one who knows science in order to counteract the Martain’s highly specialized machines. Only later in the series does some of the other soldiers have the ability to at least aim or not get scared off in the beginning of the battle. Another thing is that I felt that the Martian Counts were relatively weak in using their Kataphrakts. In the beginning of the series, the Martian forces were depicted to be powerful, unrivaled, wielding powers beyond our world (litterly), when they invaded Earth shortly after Asseylum’s supposed death. However, I felt that a lot of the time they would get cocky and not use their machines to the utmost extreme. For example, in the battle between the UFE and the Solis (beam weaponry), he died because he stood still monologuing at a enemy that couldn’t move at all, taking his time to shoot after he said what he wanted to himself. Taking into account his ability seen from moments before his death, he could of easily destroyed most of the forces if he concentrated on the battle instead of being dramatic, unless it takes that long to charge and shoot his weapon. He can shoot down multiple missiles, make massive AoE (Area of Effect) explosions, and shoot down tiny inconspicuous communication relays in the air, but he panics and can’t defend against High-Speed Cannon fire? Sure the tatics that the Deucalion uses to be out of range is understandable, using the curvature of the Earth to hide while using it’s gravity to attack, but if the guy’s laser is as strong as they say (able to shoot from the surface to Earth’s asteroid belt), he should of been able to shoot through the water to compensate for the curve to hit the Deucalion. While I side with the UFE, I’d still like to see the Martians having some more advanced battle power over the fairly basic KG-6 and KG-7 Kataphrakts that the UFE uses.
I felt that the ending to Aldnoah.Zero wrapped up nicely, a bit too nicely for its own good. If I were to draw a line graph for my rating up to the ending, it peaked right before the last episode. Before I saw the ending, I tried to imagine how it would end; who would die, who would win, etc. I also was using some of the musics from the second original soundtrack as foreshadowing or sorts for what to expect. There was a somber version of “aLIEz” which made it sound like there would of been a tragic bittersweet death in the end, though we never got to hear it in the anime in the end.
While there was no death of the main characters, the world thinks that Slaine Troyard is dead, which reminded me of the ending a bit of Code Geass, an anime I found that I kept comparing Aldnoah.Zero to. When Lelouch is killed, the world saw that as a positive thing as he was the source of evil in his world, the same how Slaine was the one who instigated the war between Vers and Earth after Saazbaum died. I can also mention other instances of parallels between Aldnoah.Zero and Code Geass in my opinion; Slaine’s rise to power in the first place resembles Suzaku’s rise to power where they both were servants/foot soldiers, to pilots of their own special machines, to taking control of entire forces for their own plans. Inaho was kind of like Lelouch, though different in a couple of important ways. Obviously he was not emotional or willing to sacrifice others, nor did he sit back and watch others fight for him, he fought for himself and others. While he was severely injured at the end of S1, he gained a valuable resource from that fight in the form of a cybernetic eye that allowed him to have a greater capacity to process information and act on it, kind of like how certain people had the power of Geass in the Code Geass universe. It even had the downsides of using it too much.
Overall the story was concluded in the ideal best way possible. However it had a sad feeling to it as well. While the war has ended, I feel that some loose ends is present. What will happen to Slaine? He will have to live the rest of his life knowing what he did, never to be free again. As for the Martians, there will be racism between them and the Earth for a long time, even with policies in place, especially right after the end of the war. During the last few minutes, I felt that the people of Earth only care for themselves, when it was mentioned that the territory that some Martians claimed on Earth was awaiting to be returned. At the very least, I feel that allowing them a space on Earth to make their own small country as a embassy of sorts to their world is fair despite their actions over the Vers early wars. They made these wars in the first place because they were jealous of our planet and its resources. If we can be more open between each other, this problem can be dealt with, which is what Asseylum wanted. I’d like to see some more stories about the future of the Aldnoah.Zero universe, but only time will tell if it will continue. I am aware of a spin-off of the series titled Aldnoah.Zero Gaiden, staring new characters acting in a timeline parallel with the main story, but that’s all I know about it. It’s kind of like those spin-off Code Geass manga series that take alternative story-lines, that’s what this reminds me of.
I feel that actually there are a couple of other ways this could of ended officially, based on the music from the soundtrack. I mentioned this earlier, that there are some tracks that I never heard in the anime that have that somber, desperate, no hope feeling. The anime also hinted a couple of times of impending death from their dialogue, especially at the end of episode 23, right before the final battle, though we never got deaths of major characters after Saazbaum’s. There still are a few unknowns left in my mind; What is Aldnoah and what was Dr. Troyard’s research on it? What happened to the original wielders of the power of Aldnoah? When peace comes to both Earth and Mars, will it be open to immigration again if they can open a easy way to travel to each other? If their goal is to allow the power of Aldnoah to be usable to everyone, what can the average person use it for? I have so many questions I’d like to explore and research in this anime’s universe, but alas I believe that this series is done. I was thinking at one point that if they couldn’t wrap things up here tightly, we might have a movie after S2, as I’m not expecting any season 3.
Days Days 3 was one of the animes of this season I didn’t expect to watch, primarily because I wasn’t aware there wasn’t going to be a third season. In this season, more new areas of the setting and characters are revealed, along with more history and back story as well. I felt that this brought more depth to a show that seemed to be just cute and fan-service. I did enjoy this season more that its previous seasons, as besides the back story it had more action and exploration of the fantasy world than just inside of the three main kingdoms of the series. I’m not sure if there will be another season, as they left the ending sort of open to another if they wanted to continue, but I’ll probably watch it to see how much more they can progress an anime of this sort, one I’d not expect to really build up to anything major.
Kantai Collection: KanColle (The Animation) is an anime that originates from a popular browser game in Japan, where girls represent real life battleships from the World War 2 era. I remember last year I was being exposed to its existence mainly from artwork that was being posted on multiple social media websites. Kantai Collection started sort of like the Touhou Series, with video games then growing with creation of artwork or stories from fans, though the main difference is that now KanColle is now an anime too. For me, I didn’t really have an interest in the series besides seeing all the cool artwork people were making and posting on sites like Pixiv. Slowly though I did enjoy the characters and their designs and so decided to watch the anime once it started airing. Now if you’ve seen other similar animes where war machines are either represented by people or piloted by them (Strike Witches, Girls und Panzer, etc.), that’s what I (and probably some other people) were expecting this anime to be like too. (I’ve only seen Strike Witches 1st season) I didn’t have too much expectations at first, in order to not be disappointed by any previous experiences of animes I thought were like it. After watching the first few episodes, I felt that so far it was much better than SW, but at first thought that there would be a bunch of fleet girls sunk because of how one was by episode 3 (which reminded me of another anime with a death in the third episode….) However that was not the case as towards the end of the season, besides carrying out their missions and fighting the Abyssal (their main enemy), they were also fighting fate, hinted by the flashes of their real life battleship counterparts shown to be on the verge of sinking. In the end they succeed in “altering” their fate, though their story continues in a second season announced right after the final episode.
As mentioned, while the fleet girls represent real life World War 2 era battleships, the enemies they fight are separate and non-related to real life enemies faced, probably to avoid controversy. This is totally fine and I’m glad that this series is not receiving backlash from people who will dwell on the negatives of the past, especially from WWII. We all know what happened then, but this series I feel is to shed some positive light on the battleships themselves and their adventures alone, leaving the motive aside. I know that in some aspects, the missions done in the anime and probably in the game are parallels to ones in real life, but only in scenario.
Overall it was an anime that was enjoyable to watch. It didn’t use fan-service too much like SW did, and had a more serious tone while giving the fleet girls personalities and their own lives as if they were real people. I do plan to watch the next season of KanColle. Heck, I’m even interested in trying to play the browser game now. If only they localized it to the US, then so many more people would be able to play. I’m thinking that this year, like every other year, this will be one of the animes that influences a lot of people to cosplay from, as the characters from this series definitely commands attention due to their size and complexity of their attire. I’m looking forward to seeing what the cosplay community will do for this series when I go to cons this year such as FanimeCon and Anime Expo.
This anime can simply be described in two words: Food Porn. It’s about a girl named Ryo who learns that cooking and eating is best when done with people you love and care about. With her cousin Kirin and friend Shiina, they experience and enjoy food in exaggerated ways, and also enjoys each other company as they also study their way to all go to the same high school. I enjoyed this another very Shaft Studio animation, making me hungry on various occasions. Also, every time I hear Rina Satō’s voice, I think of Misaka Mikoto, so Ryo here felt like a very mellow, non-tsundere version of her. Anyways it was a good casual anime to watch and be introduced to very texturized Japanese food that can get anyone hungry, regardless of whether or not you ate recently or not.
The second season of Log Horizon has just concluded, and well if you’ve followed the general story of the series, SPOILER alert, they aren’t home yet. At least though they’ve finally some clues as to how to return home, after keeping that part of the story for so long in the dark. For me, most of the episodes in the middle of the season weren’t that interesting, especially the separate adventure of the younger group of the Log Horizon guild. Obviously towards the end of the season, things started to get serious and interesting again when new stronger enemies began spawning, which started bring clues to the adventurers of a way back home. In the end though, they were able to establish a means to find out more about how to get home, though it will take time until that happens it seems. I also like how at the end, they casually reveal that one of the characters that went missing in a dramatic way in the middle of the season is actually alive and well, just in a far away place, with no explanation whatsoever. The series is definitely open to another season, but I’m hoping that main story wise, it builds up more. It’s been pretty boring for the majority of the episodes, though I know part of the reason why that is, is that the series has many characters that it wants to explore. While that’s fine and all, there is a point where you’re spreading yourself thin from the main characters. Hopefully in a future season, they finish up this series’s story. I’m ready for it at this point because I feel that the more they drag it out, the more they’re building up hype for something potentially not worth the long wait.
This anime was quite enjoyable, as it was a way to enter the Detective Conan universe without having to watch the hundreds of episodes that series has.
If you’re not familiar with the main plot line for the Magic Kaito series, “Kaito Kuroba is a normal teenage student whose father died under mysterious circumstances eight years ago. Eight years later, he is made aware of his father’s secret identity; a famous international criminal known as Kaito Kid, and that he was murdered by a mysterious organization because he tried to steal a gem which was also targeted by them. The goal of the organization is to find within a year the Pandora Gem, a mystical stone said to shed tears during the passing of the Volley comet (which happens once every 10,000 years): drinking these tears bestows immortality.” – Wikipedia
Kaito’s goal is to prevent this organization from gaining immortality, and throughout the series he succeeds in style as Kaito Kid, the cool and popular criminal who people respect and admire due to him being tactful and always returning the gems he steals if they aren’t the one he’s looking for. Even though it was pretty repetitive throughout the whole season, I enjoyed each and every one of Kaito Kid’s heists, especially when Detective Conan would make a guest appearance. I guess I like watching cool people remain cool through stressful situations.
Every time I hear Matsuoka’s voice (Kirito’s voice actor), my mind screams KIRITO because I’m so used to it, as I bet many others hearing his voice would think of. In this anime, he plays a guy named Tomoya Aki who wants to create a visual novel based on his encounter with Meguri Kato, with acquaintances and fellow otaku girls Eriri Spencer Sawamura, his half-foreigner childhood friend who’s always valued her relationship with him, though she acts tsundere, and Kasumigaoka Utaha, a cold, composed renowned literary genius who shoves everyone aside from our protagonist. Along with his cousin Michiru Hyoudou, a non-otaku who plays anime cover music for a band, they make a doujin circle in order to create something great together, even though things are rough along the way.
I started watching this series about halfway through the Winter anime season, because I think it didn’t seem interesting at the early time of the season. However, because I was a bit bored waiting for new episodes to come out for the animes I was watching, which mostly came out usually between late Thursday to Saturday, I decided to try watching this series in the meanwhile. The pacing throughout the series was good, faster than I was expecting it to be, though the ending at first I thought was going to do a time skip to the reveal of the project at Comiket, but it turns out that they were only a fraction of the way done, hinted when they said that ONE route was done out of probably a few that they would incorporate into their visual novel romance game. I liked the characters and, even though never say it explicitly say that they like Tomoya, their actions say otherwise. Tomoya himself, to me is a bit too obsessed with the game. While that should be a good thing in terms of concentrating on finishing the project, I feel that he should also interact with his fellow female counterparts more as the main character should in a visual novel, but of course they make him somewhat dense as a typical harem male character is usually portrayed. I’ll look forward to a second season if it ever gets announced.
Shirobako is an anime about, well, making an anime. The process of creating an animation from start to finish in almost all aspects. I heard about this anime on social media and how it was very good and all. When I started watching it, I was totally confused and overwhelmed with what was going on. What was worse was that the anime was not explaining much about the anime making process itself. At one point I left it for a few weeks before returning to it again to watch other things. Once I got through the first half of the season though, that’s when started to get better. When they were making Exodus!, the in-anime “anime”, things were always in a rush with no real explanation to the viewer which turned me off to what was going on because I didn’t understand. However, during the second half of the anime where they were making the anime The Third Aerial Girls Squad, I was pleasantly surprised to see explanations of the anime making process that I was expecting in the beginning of the anime. Don’t know why they decided to explain it during the second half instead of the first, but at least they did it at all which cleared up most of my confusion.
The main characters is a group of five girls who, during high school, were in a animation club who wanted to make their own anime in the future. In order to achieve this dream they each worked their way into the industry, doing different things within it, such as production assistant, voice acting, animator, 3D computer modeling and graphics and script writing. Our main heroine, Aoi Miyamori is a production assistant/desk who works at a animation studio Musashino Animation. She pretty much has to manage everything that happens at the studio from making schedules, managing people, checking on the status of their work, etc. It really shows how much blood, sweat, and tears goes into making an anime, in a format that people can find entertaining. Now every time I think of an issue I see in an anime I watch, whether it be animation issues or story issues, I think back to Shirobako and what their real life counterparts in animation studios are doing in order to bring us the anime we know and love today. While the anime itself had its ups and downs in my opinion, I thought my feelings aside, it was a solid anime that was able to explore a lot of aspects of anime production that most of us otherwise don’t know about. Even when I genuinely hated a couple of the characters in the series (Tarō Takanashi, Daisuke Hiraoka, Shinsuke Chazawa), when the anime focused on them, I understood why I didn’t like them and how the anime was good enough for me to hate them in the first place. Because they all seemed to make more problems that solve them, they had their own stories that in a way reflect real life scenarios where people are like that too. I did find some positives to Takanashi and Hiraoka at least, Takanashi being always optimistic and Hiraoka struggling with his previous experiences at other companies respectively. I was definitely glad that Chazawa was fired, he was truly an annoying character.
In the end, I felt that Shirobako was a success at what it aimed to do, show us how anime is made. From story origin, to script writing, to storyboard creation, to key animators, editing, etc., it was nice seeing a glimpse to the process in a medium that anyone could watch. It should make us appreciate the people who create content, because I believe we certainly don’t get enough.
Within the iDOLM@STER universe, there’s different Production Studios with different idols working within them. While 765 Pro is the main one most people know of of established idols, this anime revolves around 346 Pro where most of them are new recruits for a unit named Cinderella Girls. This was another one of those animes I initially was not planning to watch as I was not aware of it before the beginning of the Winter Anime season. Since I already saw the original iDOLM@STER anime (not the mecha one), I went ahead and started this one. The first few episodes were alright, focusing on your typical happy, cool, and energetic personalities of Uzuki, Rin, and Mio respectively. Eventually we’re exposed to the rest of the Cinderella unit, where eventually everyone is put into their own smaller units for their own debuts, though still together for the Cinderella Girls Project. What I didn’t enjoy really was the segment where Mio went all depressed because she didn’t get the big crowds that she was expecting during her debut at a local shopping mall. Realistically, if you’re just starting you have to be more humble and take what you can as when those opportunities arise. I just got annoyed seeing her act so childish over that reason. Eventually she got over this, but I still hold that over her which makes Mio my least favorites of the idols of the 346 Pro unit. The second half of the season then focused on the other units within the Cinderella Girls Project, each episode on a different one. Particular idols I found more interesting than the others were Ranko, the goth girl with “chuunibyou” personality, who is voiced by the same seiyuu who does Rikka from Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!, and Anzu, the tiny NEET sleeping girl who doesn’t believe in work if it doesn’t pay well who is surprisingly age 17 when she clearly looks younger than 10. Even though for the most part Anzu avoids doing much, when she does work though she does it right and well, a big difference from her usual appearance.
This anime movie comprised entirely in CG was unexpectedly a good watch. Created by Gen Urobuchi who also worked on titles such as Aldnoah.Zero, Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica, and Psycho-Pass, this movie explores the essence of freedom and living a human life. In a world where most humans now live in a virtual world orbiting a now post-apocalyptic Earth, Angela Balzac, an agent for the virtual world’s system DEVA, is tasked with going down to the surface to investigate a hacking that is affecting DEVA. On Earth she meets up with agent Zarik Kajiwara aka Dingo, and together they figure out the mystery behind the hacking to discover a robot named Frontier Setter whose ultimate goal is to seek a new world for humans to live on, hacking DEVA’s systems to find people who may be willing to come with him on his journey. As this plan was made in secret by country leaders in the long past, DEVA had no interest in this plan as they believe that their world is perfect and that human exploration of space is unnecessary. This led to a fallout between Angela and DEVA which led her and Dingo to aid Frontier Setter in his preparations to leave Earth to find a new place for Humans, despite a strong attack from DEVA’s agents. In the end he succeeds in getting to his ship Genesis Ark, and leaves on a journey as a representative of the human race.
I enjoyed this movie even though I was surprised that it was fully in CG. It took a bit of time before I got used to it, and by the end it felt natural enough for me to accept it as good enough for a full length film. The story was much shorter than I thought it would be, as they found the source of the hacking much faster than I thought they would. As in the beginning, the hacker was portrayed as a bad guy, so when they first came across the source, Frontier Setter, I wasn’t sure at first if he was the actual one responsible. Him being so open to strangers, and letting our two main characters know what he was doing when it could of all been shut down, Frontier Setter is either very trusting or foolish. Either way he’s a likable AI who genuinely wants to be human by helping us explore what we used to consider a new frontier for mankind. The artwork for the movie made me think that there was going to be fan service as Angela is clearly seen to be wearing a very tight, exposing outfit, but throughout the entire movie I don’t remember much of the camera angles that showed Angela in that way. The movie kept to its story and philosophical beliefs, with the extra eye candy that Angela is anyways, but nothing more. I wanted more back story to how the Earth became the way it did, but based on some hints within the movie, it seemed that the setting is very much in the distant future and that probably what plagued the Earth to its state was natural and man-made disasters, and lack of resources to maintain such a large human population. At the least, the Earth is still habitable, but only to people who know how to live off the land as desert-ish as it is depicted now. I do recommend this movie as it sends a good message for how we should live our lives, not just virtually, and really living out in the world where you really feel human.
This anime season review was much more of a scramble to get my thoughts out there on these animes. I do know that in some parts of my writing, there might be confusion and/or grammatical errors, but I’m not writing major. I also stopped putting up synopsis of the animes themselves for me to focus on writing my opinions of the series. If you want me to return to include synopsis of animes I review, or have any other suggestions or comments about these posts, let me know.