Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

30 September 2014: Summer 2014 season conclusion

Slaine has seen some shit.

Aldnoah.Zero was far and away the best show from Summer 2014. I know a lot of viewers disagree with this opinion, but I thoroughly enjoyed all of its episodes. I've written a lot about it. Probably too much, considering I don't like it thaaat much even though it did almost get a perfect score on my little chart jobbie.

Tamako and Miwa
Need more Tama and Miwa episodes.

Barakamon has an unremarkable concept and a placid setting but is genuinely funny and executes all of its efforts deftly. And even though I generally dislike children, Naru was still pretty okay. She's not quite Yotsuba okay, but I'm incredulous that Naru and the kids from Eureka 7 belong to the same species. (Yes, I know "anime children" isn't really a species. Work with me here.) That said, I preferred the wacky antics involving Miwa and Tamako a lot more. Despite being ambivalent at best to the "Cute Girls Doing Cute Things" genre, it appears I've got a ravenous appetite for the underdeveloped "Girls Fucking Around" genre. (See also Sabagebu!, infra.)

The fan service is also out of control.

I was compelled to sample Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun because of the Ayako Doctrine. I'm glad I did because the show is one of the better exercises I've seen involving unrequited love. Chiyo's crush was the least interesting one of this bunch, but I was still sympathetic thanks to her broad assortment of curious faces and penchant for muffling outbursts under her breath. From a purely situational comedy perspective, though, the would-be romance involving Kashima and the inadvertent crush on Seo are both more entertaining. Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun is really funny, providing someone doesn't spoil the sight gags for you ahead of time. Anime Twitter, I am looking in your direction.

The face of evil.

I'm relieved Sabagebu! had essentially nothing to do with airsoft or survival games. I certainly was not expecting this shoujo anime to actually be about girls shooting each other in the tits and otherwise being horrid to each other. It was brilliant in the sort of way Galaxy Angel and the first season of Tantei Opera Milky Holmes were brilliant. Huh, three comedies in my top four shows this season. How about that?

Ha ha ha. Esdeath.

Technically, you could call Akame ga KILL! a comedy as well thanks to its wild tonal shifts. This kind of emotional whiplash doesn't bother me, although I know not everyone cares for it. For me, it's more surprising that Akame ga KILL! is way more shounen than shows I typically enjoy, but there are thankfully few scenes of grimacing fighters talking about their feelings while their bodies slowly absorb power from the killing intent emanating from irritated, impatient viewers. I previously stopped reading the manga when it introduced Esdeath, but it turns out she's unexpectedly amusing. I am fully on board now with Esdeath and whatever wacky and/or torturous shit she does.

Window and Megumi
To a mahou shoujo with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

HappinessCharge Precure! continues to have very solid episodes that feel a lot more like character development than filler. I'd be okay with filler episodes that featured hard core wall-to-wall beatdowns, but Pretty Cure filler episodes tend to generally be lackluster all around, so this is definitely a net gain. These recent episodes also serve to remind viewers that heterosexual romance is a Pretty Cure staple—something that seems to surprise some viewers every year.

She got better, but Kuro still sort of sucks.

Prisma Illya dragged itself down in the middle episodes by building on story elements I didn't care about after introducing a new character I didn't really like. At least the knock-down, drag-out fight with Bazett at the end was rad. I'm looking forward to ufotable's Unlimited Rin Works series this autumn a lot more than 2wei's eventual second half, though.

Perhaps Sera can solve the mystery as to why Genta is so fat.

Detective Conan still serves as my control, although it bumps the curve up a bit this season with an above average run. I'm looking forward to more Sera episodes. I'm pleased Hidaka Noriko is back on my radar and somehow even better than ever.

Rinka and Minami
They're fighting over a boy.

Tokyo ESP is one of those anime that can't quite live up to the manga. The adaptation itself was faithful, and the production not objectionable, but it simply did not have the budget to match the standard found in its first episode. This is not to say that the show looked bad necessarily, but I certainly wish it looked better. Perhaps with more money to throw at the animation the silliness from the Tokyo ESP manga wouldn't have faltered so bad. Mostly, though, it's just a pity the anime wasn't able to render all the crazy melee action that dominates its fight scenes. A full season of Tokyo ESP that looked as good as its first episode would have been amazing. This is an unfair qualification to toss out casually, though, since the first episode of Tokyo ESP is relentless. It builds excitement straight from the start, speaking directly to fans of its spiritual predecessor, Ga-Rei Zero. (These overt homages to Ga-Rei Zero also disappear after the first episode.) I'm also disappointed Tokyo ESP didn't give us the equivalent of "Paradise Lost." Longtime readers of this blog will remember "Paradise Lost" is what Nagato Yuki's own bad self, Chihara Minori, performed to blow the roof of an old Animelo venue.

Sinon and Kirito
Not a baseball episode.

Sword Art Online 2 is pretty much what anyone who watched the first season should have expected. I seem to have a more moderate view of the series as a whole, neither decrying its Kirito-worshiping silliness nor reveling in it. Nevertheless, I found the Death Gun arc of the light novels rather silly, and it's just as bad as I remembered now that the anime has faithfully adapted the story. I did enjoy the Asuna-centric story from one of the later novels, though, so perhaps the anime franchise will improve if we get it in Sword Art Online 3-ish, providing the current season sells well enough to fund an Asuna-centric sequel. (This assumes the producers are willing to support a sequel that would leave Kirito riding the pine most of the time.)

Sailor V and Artemis
Best Girl. Best Cat.

Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Crystal is dreadful, but not any more dreadful than the original Sailor Moon series. I like the idea of Sailor Moon, but I simply cannot get enthused about this show, just as I found it difficult to care about the original manga or first television series. Perhaps I'm too dull to appreciate its mythology and inter-character relationships, but basically every episode always leaves me wishing there were a Sailor V anime instead—one true to the manga—featuring unambitious stories about a lovestruck Aino Minako chasing ikemen across town while kicking crooks in the neck, all day, every day.

As I mentioned earlier, I put JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders and Space Dandy 2 on hold and dropped Zankyou no Terror, Rail Wars!, and Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!? entirely.

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