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Spring Anime Season 2015 – Review June 30, 2015

Posted by coolmikeol in Anime, Otaku, Seasonal Anime Reviews.
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With the wrap up of the Spring Anime Season of 2015, comes another review of said animes. This season there wasn’t anything that really stood out, something that I found apparent when going to FanimeCon this year and seeing a more broad range of cosplay than just one or two series dominating. While this can be a bad thing, I felt that having an off year gives us a break off focusing on popular anime series and allows me to explore the smaller series that would otherwise be dwarfed. It also allows me to catch up on older animes as well. If you want to see a full list of what animes I’ve watched, you can always check out My Anime List. Here is a list of animes that I watched from this season:

Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken 2 Sure-me

Denpa Kyoushi (TV)

Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka

Etotama

Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic

Hibike! Euphonium

Nisekoi:

Owari no Seraph

Plastic Memories

Re-Kan!

Shokugeki no Souma

Triage X

Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo (TV)

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.


Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken 2 Sure-me

Danna 2

Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken 2 Sure-me pretty much Continues from the previous first season. As seen from then, Kaoru the wife of the main characters, is pregnant, and this season is the couple transitioning to become parents. While they have their doubts and hardships along the way, their friends and acquaintances help them out. A nice casual watch for an anime short series.

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Denpa Kyoushi (TV)

Denpa Kyoshi

This anime is one for me that is more miss than a hit, something of a throwaway for me, though I’m still watching on a borderline enthusiasm. This anime is about a genius who would rather be an otaku than work. He is coerced into being a teacher by his younger sister in an attempt to get him to do something better with his life. While being a teacher, he helps people with special needs and situations, by using his genius and otaku skills.

I’ll admit, the first episode was fine, but there are other aspects of this anime that are a letdown for me. First off the animation: Clearly its very cheap, even from the picture above. It’s like watching an anime from the mid 2000’s or something. While I usually don’t mind the quality of the animation, this one stands out and it just screams cheap and lazy, and the studio is A-1 Pictures, the same studio who has done animes like Sword Art Online, Aldnoah.Zero, Fairy Tail, Oreimo, etc. Maybe that’s the style of the original art, but either way, I’m not a fan. Second is the seiyuu (voice actors): Some of the characters don’t look like they match their character. Even the main character siblings Junichirou and Suzune Kagami feel off; Junichirou is way too enthusiastic for my taste, even though I think it works for his character. Suzune is completely off, and turns out, this is this first role that this seiyuu has gotten. She would have been better off suited for playing minor characters to gain experience before getting a major role.

The story is alright in my opinion, but it is repetitive with how things go when Junichirou “starts his lecture”. The only interesting thing I find about the anime so far is the characters he meets that he has to help. Each and every one of them have specific quirks that makes them unique, ranging from the strict disciplinary council person, a girl afraid of her anime sounding voice, a guy who never backs down a fight, and a cross dressing boy who stays home to play MMORPGs because of his fear of others mocking him for his interest in female clothing, to name a few.

For the last reason mentioned, will I probably continue watching this series to the end, which I was surprised to find out will be a 24 episode long season. I would of rather had this series end at the usual 12-13 episodes and have some other better anime from this season have 24 episodes, like DanMachi or Nisekoi:, but of course I know it doesn’t work that way.

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Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka

DanMachi

I’ll be honest, what got me initially interested in this anime was the name of it. Translated into English, it means: Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? When I told my friend that a new anime that looked to be about fighting monsters in a fantasy world, he sounded somewhat interested, until I told him what the name of the anime was. (He’s not into slice-of-life, fan service, non-serious type things.) DanMachi (the shortened version of its Japanese name), revolves around Bell Cranel, a newbie adventurer to the dungeon in the city of Orario. Guided by his goddess Hestia, he grows stronger with hopes to become a hero who can also help his goddess, whom has given him a fighting chance. Throughout his journey, he meets new people, gains new experiences, and tries to pick up girls in a dungeon… sort of.

To explain things a bit better, in this world,  adventurers seem to have levels and skills, similar to an RPG. Guided by a god or goddess whom can check an adventurer’s stats, these adventurers are part of familias, groups under a single god or goddess. Some of these familias can have a lot of people, or it can be like Hestia’s which consists of only Bell officially. When venturing the dungeon, floor numbers mark how difficult they are. Adventurers level up as they fight, gaining new abilities along the way. Being foolish or weak in a bad situation can get you killed, so growth in combat and skill is encouraged to all adventurers.

While the general aspect of the plot is not really new, what stands out are the characters. Hestia looks to be just a fan service character, but she really does feel like she pulls her weight when it comes to being a responsible goddess that she should be. She may be a bit funny, but she knows when play and when to work. When the situation arises, she is shown to show her seriousness to protect her familia. Bell’s character growth is greatly emphasized as record breaking as he reaches level 2 by the end of the season, a feat that usually takes maybe a year that Bell achieved in a month. Sounding like a shonen character, Bell’s dream is to become a hero, and with his ability to grow fast in terms of experience towards leveling up, it may be within his grasp. Also, he is Kirito, a weaker version in the beginning at least (his seiyuu is the same). (“Asuna” is also present in the form of Eina, Bell’s Guild guide.)

The season as a whole was enjoyable, but due to the saturation of animes that have had similar themes recently, it had less impact that it should if otherwise. The fights with the minotaurs, I couldn’t help but think of Sword Art Online. Sure Bell’s fights were probably better than Kirito’s due to having to rely on physical skills than video game skills, but in the end I didn’t get hyped as I felt that I should have. I am looking forward to a future season to see the Hestia familia progression, hopefully we get one.

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Etotama

Etotama

Etotama is an anime about personification of the deities of the Chinese Zodiac, and how the cat clan is trying to join it. This was one of those late start animes, where I start watching an anime after a few weeks after it started because of lack of interest at the beginning based on synopsis, but start because of either good reviews or funny clips I find online that gets me interested. The latter happened to me as I saw some funny scenes showing Nya-tan doing her usual antics in her attempt to get towards her goal of joining the Chinese Zodiac, who protects Japan spiritually. In order for Nya-tan to join the Zodiac, she needs to obtain each of the 12 current deities Sol/Lull seals, whether it be through a battle or other condition. The main issue for Nya-tan though is Chu-tan, the Rat deity who wishes to destroy the Cat clan for reasons unknown until the end. I’m glad that I found this show because it has a little of everything with an animation twist. Besides the slice-of-life stuff, we get jokes that pierce the 4th wall, and the action battles that happen in three dimensional space in a mini form. Each of the Zodiac characters are unique in their own way which makes them all feel important.

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Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic

Kiniro Mosaic 2

The second season of Kiniro Mosaic. It continues in the same style as its first season, but introduces new characters into the fray. One of the appeals of this anime is its emphasis on love of blonde hair, English, and foreigners. It doesn’t matter what anime it is, I cringe whenever English is spoken by a Japanese seiyuu, because it usually is bad. In this anime it’s actually the best you can get, but the English is used in more of a hilarious effect. As this is a slice-of-life anime, its hard to really say too much about it, just know that I like the slice-of-life genre, and that’s all you need to watch this show.

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Hibike! Euphonium

Hibike! Euphonium

Hibike! Euphonium is Kyoto Animation’s latest anime series, and it is a true masterpiece to illustrating the drama school music groups feel when getting ready for a competition against others like them in the country.

Let me tell you a little story:

While I was never in a band, I was in choir throughout middle and high school. I was in it for more of a casual arts experience, but I also participated in city-wide choral events, which was for people interested in doing more with choir. In my junior year of high school, my choir director entered us into a national music festival competition called the Heritage Festival. Not everyone in my choir went, only people who were interested and were able to sing well were chosen. The few months we had before the competition, we practiced and prepared for the event which was to take place at Las Vegas, out of state for me which was fantastic as it would be my only school field trip of its kind. There wasn’t much drama leading up to the trip thankfully, it was more of a trip for us as a group to see how well we would stack up against other schools around the country who were competing at this particular event, doing our best was our goal, and I felt that regardless of what happened, we would of been alright with the result. There wasn’t any future event after this even after if we won, now that I think about it.

The trip itself was awesome; starting off with the bus ride which was an all day thing but I had my trusty Nintendo DS to play games with. The next day was the competition, where I was starting to get the nerves about the competition, the worst time to have them. Having thoughts that we didn’t practice enough when compared to the other groups, didn’t help my attitude towards the others in my group, but those thoughts didn’t last long as our turn came up soon enough. Just like in the anime, we walked up onto a brightly lit stage, with the audience and judges standing by, and braced for our performance to do well. When push came to shove, things felt and sounded well, and watching back the footage my parents recorded, it all came together perfectly. Later in the day, we got the results, with our choir group receiving Gold 1st, the highest rating out of all the groups in this particular event of about maybe 10 or so. I was so ecstatic about it, I couldn’t believe that we were able to do something that I’d usually see much more professional looking groups achieve. We were pretty much a mixed rag tag team that won it in the end. This was truly one of my favorite experiences from high school, comparable to what Hibike! Euphonium made us feel.

Back to the anime, what I liked about it was that it stayed on course to the story it wanted to tell. There was no cake, barely any other school related events, just band. It focused on the group itself, the musicians, the instruments, the director, and the drama from them combined. From the get go, the entire band chose their goal and went for it, tripping and failing along the way. Fighting the fate of the previous year’s band, this new band with a new director wanted to prove that they could make it to the nationals. I loved how the progression of the characters was slow but steady, organic to the situations ahead of them. At times I could relate as a former music student, but I could never fully immerse myself as I never learned to play any instrument well. Watching the final performance by the anime band brought chills to me as it made me recall my own memories of the music competition I participated in during my high school years. The end was quite quick, showing the results in an instant before playing the credits and showing a picture of the group, with it ending of a hint of the story to continue, which I’m sure it will. I would definitely recommend to watch this anime, especially to people who have experienced that music competition feeling.

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Nisekoi:

Nisekoi 2

If I had to describe this second season of Nisekoi, it’s “underwhelming”. Don’t let that fool you though, as it’s still quite a good anime. The introduction of new characters, funny events, and Chitoge admitting to herself that she loves Raku is quite entertaining. The underwhelming part comes from the lack of progression in terms of the plot line of Raku, his locket and the secret within. It’s like when in the first episode of this season where Raku tells the girls to wait longer for them to try to open the locket because the lock is still jammed, that he is also speaking to the audience to wait as well. I have a feeling that this will end as a movie and not a final season, which I would not like. Also, Kosaki needs to step up her game, she seriously being overshadowed by everyone else who’s a love interest to Raku, even her sister.

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Owari no Seraph

Owari no Seraph

Stepping off the Sawano Hiroyuki train from the recent second season of Aldnoah.Zero, I watched Owari no Seraph, or Seraph of the End. 

“One day, a mysterious virus appeared on Earth which killed every infected human over the age of 13. At the same time, vampires emerged from the world’s dark recesses and enslaved mankind.” – MyAnimeList

While this describes the basic premise of the show, it does hide a fact that hints to be driving factor for the wars between the humans and vampires. Even after the end of the season, this fact is barely revealed which will probably be explored in the second season which was already announced before the start of the first.

The show plotline wise is comparable to Attack on Titan and Black Bullet, where the surviving humans are forced into living within walls to protect themselves from the dangers outside. As mentioned with the DanMachi post, because I’ve seen this kind of thing before, it was like a “been there, done that” feeling. The animation was quite poor, as it felt like I was just watching paintings panning on the screen at times. The music was good for the series, as mentioned that the series composer is Sawano Hiroyuki. Recently Hiroyuki’s music has been everywhere, from Attack on Titan, Aldnoah.Zero, to this now, and for the game Xenoblade Chronicles X. The saturation factor is numbing his music for me, so ironically I hope he’s able to take a little break before going on to his next project. The characters are a mixed bag of stale personalities; we have the strong shonen character that usually does what he feels, the scared weak boy, the older guy of the group whose just as hard headed as the shonen character, the tsundere, and the short sly leader girl. Together this makes the main team of a vampire hunting squad. I know there are other characters, like vampire-turned Slaine Troyard, but I hope you get the picture. Owari no Seraph is alright, it has its faults, but I also feel that things are just getting started, like a prequel to the real thing, the second season which will air in Fall of this year.

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Plastic Memories

plastic-memo

Plastic Memories, more like “Feels” and Memories is an anime about a world where androids, called “Giftias” with human emotions exist, and the saying “All good things must come to an end” holds true. Tsukasa is newly employed at SAI Corporation where these androids are created, part of the Terminal Service Department, whose job is to retrieve Giftias that are close to their expiration. If a Giftia is not recovered by the end of a their lifespan, they may go berserk and cause damage and injury to anyone around them. There is no way to extend or repair a Giftia’s lifespan, the only option left would be to replace or upgrade, but the memories within the Giftia would be lost. Essentially, you lose the Giftia you know no matter how the matter is taken care of.

Right off the get go, we see the job in action in the first episode when Tsukasa, with partner Giftia Isla, try and recover the child-type Giftia Nina from an old lady named Chizu who treats her as her own grandchild. At first she refuses to listen to the Tsukasa/Isla pair, barely opening the door before slamming it in their faces at times. As time winds down, Isla decides to climb the fence in an desperate effort to talk to the old lady, however she meets Nina. Convincing her “grandmother” that she should allow them in to clean themselves up and talk, the old lady reluctantly agrees to. As Isla and Nina talk, the Chizu changes her mind on the matter after overhearing Nina say that it would be best if they retrieved her before her time is up, to avoid her causing any trouble to Chizu who she loved. Chizu realized that she only thought of herself and not of Nina’s feelings. In the end, Chizu and Nina say their heartfelt goodbyes to one another, before being deactivated and brought back to SAI Corporation. I found myself nearly crying a bit, it was hard not to as I’ve had similar situations happen to me with family members passing on over the years.

Throughout at least the first half of the season, I felt that it was a mix of drama and light-heartedness on the somewhat extreme sides. It wasn’t until around the mid point that the story revolving around Tsukasa and Isla really started. I won’t spoil the rest of the story onwards, but I feel that the end of the series was fine and realistic, something I initially felt was rushed. I didn’t feel sad because the episodes leading up to the finale got us emotionally prepared.

———————

Re-Kan!

Re Kan!

A slice-of-life anime, now featuring ghosts! Re-Kan! is about a girl with the ability to see the supernatural around her. Most of the time that would result in scary hauntings and stories, however, this is more of a light-hearted story of a girl who helps the spirits of the city and how they help her in return, in funny fashions.

There were times where the show is just slice-of-life, but it does have it’s episodes of “feels”. Almost all of the characters, except for the male character of the group were interesting in their own way. If you like slice-of-life anime with the added ingredient of humor with ghosts, then Re-Kan! might be your thing.

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Shokugeki no Souma

Shokugeki no Souma

Easily one of the best animes of the year so far, Shokugeki no Souma or Food Wars, is pretty much Iron Chef but expanded into a school.

Yukihira Souma’s dream is to become a full-time chef in his father’s restaurant and surpass his father’s culinary skill. But just as Yukihira graduates from middle schools his father, Yukihira Jouichirou, closes down the restaurant to cook in Europe. Although downtrodden, Souma’s fighting spirit is rekindled by a challenge from Jouichirou which is to survive in an elite culinary school where only 10% of the students graduate. Can Souma survive? – MyAnimeList

What I like about this anime is how serious everyone is about cooking… (That’s an understatement for this anime). Of course everyone is serious, it’s pretty much almost like your life is on the line, your cooking career life that is. Even though I can’t cook, and I might not understand all the cooking terms thrown at me, I do like watching series where a behind the scene process is being done. Even more so, watching food look so good, that it makes me hungry everytime. It doesn’t help my appetite that they describe everything that is done, to the point that it sounds like anything they make in the anime can be done in real life with similar results with people who are skilled as chefs.

This anime also contains fan service, as what anime doesn’t these days? While it was predominantly present in the first few episodes, it has grown less and less as the tone of the anime grows from serious. I’ve seen this kind of thing happen in a number of animes, which makes me think that probably fan service is used to lure people in generally before really getting into the juicy stuff of the actual series. While it has toned down at the midpoint of the 24 episode series, it’s still used to emphasize the ecstasy of dishes made from master chefs.

Looks like cooking animes are on the rise, as we had also Koufuku Graffiti earlier this year too. I’m glad that this series will be 24 episodes long, and so far it’s been a good ride. Things are not getting any easier for our chef with the headband (aka Kirito who can cook and handle a knife, but is not a adventurer like Bell), and that’s good. They keep pushing him to go beyond what he is already extremely good at, something I would fail on the spot. This show makes cooking look right a real sport, and it’s definitely heading in the right direction to be a winner for the season, let alone the year, at least for me. Will be writing about this anime again once it ends around the time the Fall Anime Season begins. See you there.

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Triage X

Triage X

From the creator of Highschool of the Dead, is Triage X, an action packed, fan service. Think Highschool of the Dead, but instead of fighting zombies, they’re fighting criminals by their own terms, “healing the city of the cancers that corrupt it.” It’s pretty much the vigilante group Black Label vs. gang and criminal organizations going at it, violence, sex and all. I enjoyed watching it, but at the end it just felt like another mission is done for them, just like the smaller ones that were done early on in the show.

———————

Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo (TV)

Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches

Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo aka Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, is the story about Ryuu Yamada and his encounters with the 7 witches, girls who have special powers that activate with a kiss. While it sounds like a harem story, it actually isn’t which is a breath of fresh air. It’s also an anime where kissing is not just limited to the female witches, as Yamada finds out that he has a power of his own that helps him deal with the witches, and others involved, alike.

As this is a plot driven story rather than a slice-of-life one, what I enjoyed was the the progression from Yamada and Shiraishi only, to having nearly the entire cast being a part of the final episode. Usually in animes where a lot of characters are used, the focus time for each one is limited and is more so on the main few. In this case, while the titular Yamada is always the focus, everyone seems to get a decent amount of screentime for them to feel relevant to the story as a whole rather than a plot device used once then thrown away. Throughout many twists and turns, everyone kissing everyone, in the end things are summed up in an ideal way, but leaves the question about the origin of the powers that is limited to the school itself. A slightly complex anime with romance, comedy, drama, and body swapping, it’s a good watch for anyone who is looking for a school based anime with physiological/psychological magic running around.


I’m quite surprised I finished typing all of this right before I leave for Anime Expo, tomorrow to be exact. This anime season, as mentioned at the top, was pretty average compared to other anime seasons I’ve watched. Even the best of the this season does not compare to the animes I’ve watched where I’m literally at the edge of my seat, eyes wide open, shaking from enthusiasm. I’m waiting for an anime like that for me to come. Hopefully I’ll get just that in the upcoming Summer Anime Season, but those kinds of animes are rare in their own right.  Looking forward to bigger and better animes in store for the future. In the meanwhile I got to get ready for my last anime convention of the year, the biggest of the bunch, Anime Expo. Photos and a post here about the event will be up by mid next week so please look forward to it!

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