First Impressions- Spring Anime Season 2014 pt 1

We’ve come yet again to a new season of anime. There’s a lot of shiny new stuff out there and as with anything, there’s some good and some meh in terms of quality and it can be tough to find what’s worth checking out so I though I’d give my first impressions on what I’ve seen so far, and which shows are worthwhile. Let’s jump in shall we?

Ratings Scale

Bad: Stay away far away from this one.  Not worth watching

Decent: Has some okay elements to it. Might be worth giving a  couple of episodes to see how it goes

Good: Fairly solid show. Should be worth keeping up with for now

Great: Really good show. Definently worth seeing if you get the chance

Excellent: Really outstanding show. Absolutely worth following .

Majin Bone

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Description: “This story began before Earth was born. Majin, the creator of the Universe, has been resurrected in the present day.”  Shōgo Ryūjin, is an ordinary high school student who transforms into the Bone Fighter Dragonbone with the Bone Card in order to save Earth. He fights together with the White Bone warriors as they stand up to Dark Bone, a foe that appeared from darkness to devastate Earth. However, “could the true enemy be ourselves?”

 

First Impressions: As the latest thing in Toei’s evil empire of toyetic shows I was expecting this to either be ridiculous enough to be fun or ridiculous enough to be a waste of time. Surprisingly it turned out to be neither. The first episode is actually pretty low key as it introduces us to the set up the series and manages to avoid doing anything too exaggerated or goofy. Shogo is a pretty decent protagonist so far (and his obsession with porn could either be really amusing or get really old after a while) and the 2D animation and character models look solid. Of course at the end of the day it is a toyetic show so all the undertones of that kind of series are still there (and the 3D suits look kinda awkward) so while the first episode doesn’t do anything notably wrong it doesn’t do too much to wow either.  As it is it’s an alright watch for now

Rating: Decent

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders 

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Description: In a Japanese jail sits 17-year-old Jotaro Kujo: punk, fighter, delinquent…and possessed by a force beyond his control! Around the world, evil spirits are awakening: “Stands,” monstrous invisible creatures which give their bearers incredible powers. To save his mother’s life, Jotaro must tame his dark forces and travel around the world to Cairo, Egypt, where a hundred-year-old vampire thirsts for the blood of his family. But the road is long, and an army of evil Stand Users wait to kill JoJo and his friends…

First Impressions: As a huge fan of the first season and having already read the manga for this part of the franchise I was pretty excited for this and so far the anime is meeting my expectations. The first episode is pretty much just the prologue but it does a great job of setting things up as we’re introduced to our newest protagonist Jotaro Kujo who has a lot more attitude than his predecessors though there are still some hints that he may be a decent guy underneath. We also get introduced to the newest concept, the Stands, in a pretty spectacular fashion as there’s just the right level of ham and over the top reactions to turn what would otherwise be a pretty mundane infodump into 24 minutes of pure fun. Stardust Crusaders isn’t my favorite part of Jojo but it’s off to a great start and with some luck hopefully the anime staff will be able to make the weaker parts more entertaining. If you haven’t seen any of the series before you can jump into  the beginning of this arc and follow it just fine as Jojo’s parts are all relatively standalone so I highly recommend it.

Rating: Excellent

Kindaichi Case Files Returns

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Description: Hajime Kindaichi is a high school student who solves any case or mystery with his IQ of 180. He usually seems dull, but when there is a case, he demonstrates remarkable deductive skills inherited from his famous detective grandfather.

First Impressions: It’s been awhile since my last mystery series and I kind of needed the fix so I can thankfully say this show met that need. Despite the fact that it’s a sequel to a long running franchise that already had an anime with a ton of episodes the first episode is pretty standalone (despite what the first 30 seconds would have you believe). Hajime is a pretty straightforward shonen protagonist but the gimmick about him having a high IQ is pretty interesting and we see some shades of it over the course of the episode and the side characters are also pretty decent so far. The episode also does a solid job of setting up the first major mystery though there are a couple of instances where it kinda feels like it’s going through the motions in that area as well. As the mystery isn’t actually solved in the first ep it’s hard to say if this will be a keeper or not but it does enough right that I’m willing to  stay in for more.

Rating: Good

Captain Earth

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Description: Just before summer vacation, high school student Daichi Manatsu suddenly sees a mysterious, circular rainbow over Tanegashima Island on TV, knowing that he’s seen it somewhere before, and decides to head there to investigate. But upon arriving, Daichi’s life turns upside-down when he meets a giant robot who asks the boy “are you the captain?” Now, Daichi must fight the mysterious invaders threatening the planet from inside the cockpit.

First Impressions: This was one of my most anticipated shows of the season and so far my expectations have been met. The setup seems a bit bizarre ala Star Driver but it also feels a bit more grounded and though I’m not sure if that’ll be to the show’s benefit or not it works pretty well for the first episode though the fact that we already have libido powered robots probably means that there’ll be at least some level of camp in this show which should be fun. Not totally sure what to think of Daichi so far as a protagonist but he doesn’t seem as angsty as the promos implied he might be so that’s a plus though given that this seems to be a coming of age kind of thing I imagine it won’t be too long before the angst kicks in. Of course the best feature of the show is by and far the gorgeous looking robots so even if the rest turns out to be crap I’ll at least stick around for that and the show has just enough mystery to it that I’m extremely curious to see where it’ll all go and how much of it will make sense. For now though the show’s off to a sweet start.

Rating: Great

This World is Still Beautiful

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Description: Nike,  is the determined princess of the Rain Dukedom who has a mysterious power: she can control rainfall. After losing a game of rock, paper, scissors to her older sisters, she is forced to unwillingly marry the king of the Sun Kingdom, Livius I. Livius (or Livi for short) conquered the world in three years, and is known as the “Dreadful King.” However, when Nike meets him for the first time, she finds to her surprise that he is a boy younger than she is. Livius abruptly asks Nike to call forth the rain, and when she refuses, he has her thrown in jail. The story follows the two who, while at first are a married couple only in name, gradually begin to establish an emotional bond with one another.

First Impressions: I had no real expectations for this show one way or the other and only really intended to check it out to see if Pierrot would continue to live up to their reputation of (somewhat exaggerated) mediocrity so I’m happy to that I actually enjoyed this show a lot more than I thought I would. Nike is a surprisingly likable heroine so far as she lacks a lot of the more irritating traits you’d expect from  a princess character archetype and the first episode does a solid job of balancing comedy with serious moments and doesn’t really seem to be leaning totally one way or the other yet but it remains enjoyable and fairly cute throughout. We also get a quick peak into some of the fantasy elements of the show which seem like they’ll be mixed into some politics stuff ala Spice and Wolf though it’s hard to say if it’ll reach that level of quality. My only real complaint about the first episode is a 4th wall joke that feels really out of place but other than that it’s pretty smooth sailing and the show has the potential to the surprise of the season in terms of quality

Rating: Great

The Irregular at Magic High School (Mahouka)

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Description: The anime’s story takes place in a world in which magic is not a fairy tale, but has existed for nearly one hundred years. In the spring, the Private Magic University Affiliated High School (Magic High School for short) is welcoming its new students, and names the top incoming student with the best grades the Bloom. The student called the Weed is the Bloom’s replacement. Siblings Tatsuya and Miyuki Shiba are designated as the Weed and Bloom, respectively. Tatsuya is a young man who always has a farsighted expression, and Miyuki is a young woman who feels far more for her brother than sibling love. Since the day the two entered the gates of the elite school, the establishment’s peaceful days have become chaotic.

First Impressions: As I’ve heard various terrible things about the light novels this series is based on I was expecting to seriously hate this show and was only really giving it the time of day because Madhouse is my favorite anime studio. Thankfully the first episode managed to avoid my low expectations, but at the same time it’s not much to write home about either. The main character seems kind of bland so far as he has a typical stoic emo guy personality and the other side characters don’t seem too interesting either. The setup for the storyline has some interesting elements as the class discrimination and magitek could prove to be interesting later on but so far it’s being handled in a pretty straightforward manner. There’s also some pretty heavy incest undertones throughout the episode between the main character and his younger sister (which seem like they’ll be played horrifiyingly straight) so that’s also a bit off-putting. Visually the show looks fantasic, and the soundtrack is pretty good as well but so far it feels okay-ish. I’m willing to give it another episode or two though so we’ll see if it gets better or worse from here (leaning towards worse)

Rating: Decent

And that’s it so far for now. I’ll be seeing more shows over the next couple of days so there’ll be one or two more parts to this. What are your thoughts on the spring shows so far? Let me know what you think.

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