Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

20 April 2014: Winter 2014 Season Summary

Hachiken's actually about to have his mom's home cooking for the first time in ages.

I feel as if I watched too many shows last season. However, there also isn't anything that I regret not dropping. Does that mean the winter 2014 season was particularly good or does it mean I'm not making very good use of my spare time? Maybe it's both. There were quite a few good shows, or at least okay shows with lots of good moments.

Yokoi and Seki
I can't believe they're allowed to show this uncensored.

Tonari no Seki-kun triumphs by combining creativity with simplicity and a standout performance by Hanakana. Anime comedies based on increasingly astounded reactions have a low success rate with me because the jokes get tired. Luckily, Tonari no Seki-kun isn't so much about Yokoi's incredulous reactions to Seki's mischief, but rather her interaction with him as she hopelessly gets drawn into whatever diversion he pursues. Consequently, I hereby nominate Yokoi and Seki for the title of Best Anime Couple 2014.

Cure Heart
As it was in Max Heart, the second-most-powerful
DokiDoki! attack is a kick to the face.

DokiDoki! Precure scores misleadingly high in the Winter 2014 ranking because I'm only considering the final three episodes. The show as a whole underachieved, but the ending was pretty good. It had nice teamwork that made all five Cures look good, and it had a ludicrously overpowered Cure Heart finally living up to the reputation she carries in her civilian form as the overachieving Mana. Also, giant Lance. P.S. Spoilers.

Additionally, you also shouldn't turn your back on a fire, the ocean, or children.

The second half of KILL la KILL should satisfy anyone who liked the first half, but probably won't change the mind of anyone who didn't already like it. (Unless their beef was that the first half didn't have enough naked Nonon.)

Aki is a sweet kid, but she'll never be Best Girl as
long as Tamako is throwing her weight around.

Likewise, the second cour of Gin no Saji should appeal very much to the people who enjoyed the first season of Silver Spoon. The winter 2014 episodes once again end too early and leave the story unfinished, though, because the original manga is still ongoing. I don't actually know how far in the story the anime adaptation got, but I certainly hope we get additional seasons.

This tends not to be an effective method for ducking creditors.

As I mentioned earlier, Wake Up, Girls! is a good show despite its flaws. It definitely doesn't deserve all that Yamakan baggage. Really, the more I encounter it, the more I believe anime fans who fixate on these types of notions and parrot them as memes (e.g., the Tsukihime anime doesn't exist, season two of Mahoromatic ended at episode 12, Yamakan invented the Internet) are woefully incapable of independent thought and/or are too insecure to develop their own opinions.

Linda and Banri
Another kotatsu-based bending opportunity wasted.

Golden Time had real problems, mostly because it got melodramatic about someone I didn't care about: High School Banri. High School Banri—that is, Ghost Banri—is fucking Potato-kun. He embodies all the bad qualities that I was relieved College Banri didn't have. I didn't care what his problem was. I just wanted him to go away and leave College Banri alone so he could go to Paris with his beautiful nutjob girlfriend, Koko. Anyway, the ending to Golden Time was pretty good, but getting there was a bit annoying. I'm also pretty God damn sure that's not the way amnesia works.

Mazinger Z
The resemblance is uncanny.

Robot Girls Z was amazing and probably would have been even better if I wasn't so ignorant when it comes to super robots. That's one of the problems with shows that rely heavily on references. That I enjoyed Robot Girls Z so much despite knowing next to nothing about the genre should speak fairly highly for it. I'd totally watch more, if only for the awesome hats.

Tampoco has another bad day.

Witch Craft Works was far better than I expected or hoped. Its two lead characters are fairly boring, but all the supporting characters are great fun. I'm particularly fond of the hapless Tampoco and the running jokes about her misfortune despite her best (futile) efforts at being the villain of the story and Kagari's rival. Were it not for Robot Girls Z, this show would be a shoo-in for the Best Hats 2014 award. As it stands, it will have to settle for being the show that changed my mind about J.C. Staff's historical difficulties with animating engaging fight scenes.

Meow and Dandy
This bar was pretty rad.

Space☆Dandy is a dandy in space. Actually, it's an episodic, accessible collection of canned adventures that are ususally pretty entertaining. Personally, I wanted more Houko and more Honey. I never did get around to watching any of the dubbed episodes.

I bet Suzu makes this face all the times she's off screen.

Seitokai Yakuindomo * is proof it's possible to have a successful comedy franchise built almost entirely on the same three-and-a-half jokes as long as the show looks good and the characters are charismatic. A lot of the times, I did just feel as if GoHands was showing off, but I'm happy to watch GoHands show off every week pretty much indefinitely.

Sera, Conan, and Kaito
Ass shot.

I only watched six episodes of Detective Conan this season because that's all I found subbed. The show is as good as it ever was. Hence, Detective Conan remains my anime control by which other shows in any given season are measured.

Meanwhile, Hiyori's real body is lying somewhere being eaten by bugs.

I would have liked Noragami a lot more if Yukine wasn't such a little shithead. Yeah, he's supposed to be a shithead, because that's basically critical to the main plot from this season, but man, he was irritating. It didn't help at all that he was voiced by Kaji Yuuki. That dude is anime poison. If he's that way on purpose, then "congratulations," I guess. The high points of Noragami to me were the episode where they're all falling for an abnormally long time, and the brief bit when Toyosaki Aki locked her turbo genki differential so she could slide into hardass mode while she threatened Sawashiro's preposterous lion-taming Village People stunt double character.

Cure Honey
Needs more Cure Cutie Honey.

HappinessCharge Precure! is amusing because it's different. (The God damn Cures have a fucking embassy, for crying out loud.) Unfortunately, I'm not a big fan of Window. Sigh. I watch Pretty Cure for the fights, Toei.

Try not to confuse bloodlust with the regular kind.

Like Nova, I nearly dropped Nobunagun every week. I never did, though, because when it's good, Nobunagun is awesome. Then again, when it's not good, Nobunagun is pretty shitty. (E.g., sexual assault is funny when it's two women raping a teenage girl.) None of the C5ISR jazz was particularly realistic, but it never needed to be. It was all just a framework for Sio to do Sio things and maybe trot out her Nobunaga Dance every once in a while. I'm pretty glad I didn't drop Nobunagun, to be honest. I would have missed out on Jack's big reveal. As far as hidden powers go, that was pretty radical. Nobunagun sits at the bottom of the list of shows I finished winter 2014, but I would definitely watch more if it got another season.

People in this show sure blush a lot.

I dropped No-Rin (or Nourin, whatever) because it wasn't as interesting as I expected. I wasn't planning on watching it originally, but someone convinced me to watch it after describing the scenario as being about popular idol who gives up the stage and the spotlight after a fan mails her delicious fresh vegetables that he grew in his agricultural school. Well, that's not exactly what happened, and not exactly what the show is about. Some may trumpet its biting social commentary and spot-on indictment of various aspects of the modern Western human condition, but I wanted to see Yukarin powers and vegetable-inspired romance. It's not a bad show, just not one I wanted to watch. Hanakana's character is kinda despicable and disgusting, now that I think about it, though.

Cyber Sengoku-Punk worlds don't always have hand sanitizer.

I only started watching Nobunaga the Fool as a goof so I could claim to be watching two Nobunaga-themed shows simultaneously. I dropped Nobunaga the Fool because it didn't have Sio doing Sio things or the fancy Nobunaga Dance. I was fully willing to resume it had I seen any reports that Kawamori went off the rails again, but thus far I've not seen any reasons to undrop it, even if Joan of Arc is a really unconvincing boy. (What is it about putatively French anime girls pretending to be boys? Why is anyone ever fooled?)

Cure Heart
Cure Heart activates Overmana Mode.

The hardest part about writing these season summaries is finding time to capture new screenshots and format the bitch. I've been doing these for a long time, but technically I've been not doing them for even longer. Certainly I have less time for them now than I did 12 years ago. At least my appetite for (or taste in) anime hasn't appeared to have changed much.

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