Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

18 July 2014: Spring 2014 season wrapup

Fredrica and Akira
This cat is so chill.

Just a few months ago, I noted I followed an unusually large (for me) number of shows. This time around, I tried following too many shows and ended up DNFing on shows I wanted to follow but didn't get around to finishing even though I never officially dropped them. Apart from that, there were no major deviations from my expectations addressed during my initial impressions.

I already made the "because it's full of mercy" joke.

I wanted to watch Hitsugi no Chaika ever since I learned it was about a former soldier trying to make his way through regular life after a war, but didn't actually expect it to be particularly good. In hindsight, I should have been tipped off that the show would not take itself too seriously once I learned its female lead lugs around a coffin everywhere she goes. I get that anime gravity is super light, but coffin luggage sounds horrendously impractical, like something you might only attempt after eating too many mushrooms.

Fredrica and Tooru
Cat, bat, whatever.

Thankfully, Chaika succeeds wonderfully in its execution. The fights are consistently good, and the characters endearing enough to draw the viewer's sympathy. One standout in particular, Fredrica, can attribute her character's draw almost entirely to the way her veteran seiyuu plays her. Saito Chiwa exudes a perfect combination of bored petulance and trigger-happy glee as Fredrica, and hits all her marks while demonstrating how important timing is to comedy.

Zita and Vivi
There will probably be more of these two and their tragic outfits next cour.

I'm extraordinarily pleased a second cour of Hitsugi no Chaika will begin this autumn. It's been a lot of fun to watch, so I'm glad it will be back. Besides, we don't appear anywhere near resolving any of the main story arcs. Speaking of which, Nanana lurches the opposite way and concludes with nothing at all resolved, and no immediate indication of any further episodes in the near future.

Yokoi and Seki
You can't play strip poker in class.

Tonari no Seki-kun ended far too early. I'm not sure at what point I would get tired of the formula, but I don't think I'm anywhere near the limit yet. It's nice to see a simple premise executed so well.

Jumping puzzles.

The abrupt non-ending ending is responsible for dipping Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin from first to second place after leading Hitsugi no Chaika all season long. (And then a phenomenal second OVA bumped Tonari no Seki-kun ahead, pushing Nanana down to third.) I can't complain too much, because Nanana also turned out to be much better than I expected. Granted, I had pretty low expectations and was just hoping for goofy ghost-girlfriend-type anime antics. It turns out there weren't nearly enough of those, but the rest of the show was pretty solid, even though its Best Girl and 2014 Girl of the Year nominee Tensai, detective extraordinaire, did carry some of the episodes.

Not enough anime characters smoke.

I didn't exactly drop Mushishi Zoku Shou, but more like set it aside for later. Mushishi is a good show, but somewhat contemplative and not the sort of thing I want to waste in an environment where I wouldn't really get to appreciate all the nuances and flavors. In a sense, sometimes I only have time for anime fast food. At those times, the anime equivalent of the Jack in the Box two-tacos-for-99-cents deal is so good, that I'll put away six tacos with no qualms even though objectively speaking they aren't authentic. That's irrelevant, though. If I want authentic tacos, I'll drive out to my favorite L.A. taco truck run by the same Mexican dudes that have been selling me delicious tacos lengua for years. But I'd have to wait until like midnight in order to do that, and I'm hungry right now. So, I defaulted on the second season of Mushishi, but I'll get around to finishing it one day when the time is right.

Ami, Mami, and Takanya
It's instant?

I think I could watch Puchimas!! episodes indefinitely, although I'd rather see more iDOLM@STER proper. Perhaps the Cinderella Girls spin-off will capture some of the same magic. To tell you the truth, though, I sort of think the first Cinderella Girls should really be a Xenoglossia spin-off instead. It's only right.

The Ganges River
New anime tourism destination.

As far as I know, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders will be running for some time. From the progress our stalwart band of beefy heroes have made thus far on their magnificent journey, I think this is going to be a while as they chickenfight more and more freaky weirdos on their way to Egypt. The show seems okay, but it doesn't seem quite as interesting or absurd as Kyon's Bizarre Adventure from earlier in the epic. To tell you the truth, I'd be more interested in an Oreshura sequel and the JoJo's references and poses Masuzu would surely drop.

Damn it, soldier, that is not how you were trained to hold that.

I also defaulted on Break Blade. It's just not particularly good, and the television broadcast appears to basically just be the movies cut up into chunks. I heard there were going to be new scenes, but the only thing I maybe noticed was just one bit that I probably simply forgot was there all along. I suspect a lot of people will disagree, but Break Blade is quite disappointing, despite its production values and aspirations at serious wartime melodrama. Really, the entire affair is too flawed and silly to take itself so seriously. I'd like it much better if it were just silly all the time. Alternatively, I'd also like it better if it cut out all the lighthearted parts and just made the entire thing grim and dark, even though I find it really difficult to take any of the battles or armies seriously.

Cure Lovely, Cure Princess, and Cure Honey
One of these is not like the others.

HappinessCharge Precure! is mostly hitting its marks thus far. I vicariously despised and insulted Window through Iona's bitching, but was also relieved to see Cure Princess is much less useless than she used to be, even if she is still a social basket case. Cure Honey doesn't sing her love song about rice as much as I feared, and she stomps deadbeats in the face relatively frequently despite being a pacifist. The biggest gripe I have is with the legions of scrub Cures who were easily trounced by the so-called "Precure Hunter," stripped of their powers and battle costumes (man, these girls are lucky they're in a children's show) and imprisoned in glass coffin-shaped mirrors which luckily never get broken. In my view, Cures lose a bit of credibility after a single boy basically tees off on thousands of them. Even though I'm pretty sure "Precure Hunter" is just a dumb putz who would end up getting a swirly if he ever pulled that shit on Cure Marine, I can't really contest his astounding winning streak against JV Cures. The dude is as effective at putting down weak kids as malaria.

Oh yeah, Kogoro smokes.

I'm way behind on Detective Conan. Someone has started fan subbing it sort of regularly again, though.

This is a Japanese man.

I dropped Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo Returns, but only after watching all the spring 2014 episodes. (It's also airing in the summer 2014 season. I was disgusted enough with it to quit in the middle of an arc even though Kindaichi was about to reveal the identities of the murderers.

Tama sucks.

selector infected WIXOSS is not very good, but there are a few bright spots if you enjoy sadism. Basically everyone in this show having anything at all to do with the game is either an idiot or horribly selfish. Naturally, I liked the horribly selfish characters best. In the case of Akira, she was both an idiot and horribly selfish. Naturally, I liked Akira best. Actually, not really. I only watched WIXOSS because of the Ayako Doctrine, so obviously Hanayo is my favorite character. Speaking of which, until the show explained it in one long expository dump, I couldn't figure out why Hanayo was still playing along after she got what she wanted.

Yuzuki and Hitoe
Most girls just cut off their hair.

That's one problem with WIXOSS: You can't really tell what the motivations of the characters are and what the rules and constraints of the game are unless the show straight-up tells you. I mean, I knew this was going to try becoming the Madoka of card battle anime, but none of the mechanics are apparent without explanation. It would be a lot better if it could just show you instead, or allow viewers to figure it out on their own. The other problem is even after I did learn the rules, I still didn't care. At best I can claim to be rooting for Hanayo in hopes that she continues to screw people over. Frankly, I'm a little surprised all these sentient cards aren't entirely malevolent. It must be a pretty wretched existence.

Rinna and Branyaa
I picked a picture of Branyaa because that was the only character's name I remembered.

I defaulted on Mangaka-san to Assistant-san because it is pretty bad. Drawing on the earlier analogy, even as a 50-cent taco, it's unappetizing. It's not funny and there's no reason to like any of the characters. (Although I do have to admit a cretinous male lead is technically better than a potato.) This is another show that illustrates how important timing is to comedy, except it's an example of how to do it wrong. On a positive note, I like the idea of Branyaa. That's sort of amusing. And I heard there is some wicked fan service later, but I'm pretty skeptical of that claim based on what I have seen. I guess it's worth watching if you've been seriously hurting for more tiny Kugimiya Rie-voiced tsundere girls.

In other news, the GIRLS und PANZER OVA was RADICAL.

It really takes too long to write these season summaries. Maybe next time I'll just embed entries I wrote for The Twitter. Or I could just watch fewer shows. That probably won't happen because the summer 2014 season also looks to be pretty good. This is turning out to be a pretty good year. 2004 was pretty good, too. I can't promise I'll still be writing these in 2024, though.

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