A Fair Start.
A new year and season of anime is upon us, and have been for the last month. January is over and I once again found myself watching over thirty different shows while trying to manage a schedule that I couldn’t even pretend to manage. So let’s take a look at the best and the worst of the month.
The rule of a new season of anime is usually that the very first airing show is most often outright garbage. Memories of Diabolik Lovers and The Severing Crime Edge certainly remain as good examples as to why that would be, and this season was no different. While the first show I saw was technically Buddy Complex, a show so generic that I’m not sure it even has a script, I would not claim that show bad enough to prove the rule. However, that was merely a pre-air, with the first officially airing show being Recently, My Syster is Unusual, aka. ImoCho.
ImoCho is dreadful. It’s a comedy without laughs or jokes and, similarly to Diabolik Lovers, only wants to make the main character suffer in the worst ways without pay-off. Long-winded discussions on whether or not the show counts as incest aside, allow me to sum up the premise of ImoCho from my perspective:
We follow a girl who suddenly have a older brother from their parents remarriage find herself possessed by the ghost of the brother’s supposed little sister who died while being in love with the brother. In order to get into heaven, the ghost sister needs to experience all her romantic and sexual dreams with her brother, through our main girl’s body. If she refuses or takes too long in fulfilling this, she will die.
It’s a show about a girl being forced into having her own body utilized for someone else’s sexual endeavours for her own survival. Make up your own mind as to whether or not you find that too disturbing to enjoy, because I certainly did. I watched the four episodes released in the first month and have no plan on watching any more. While I might not call it the worst show of the season thus far, it’s really only competing with one other show. That show being Pupa.
Where do I even start with Pupa? After months upon months of dreading the show on Just Another Anime Podcast, it finally arrived. A horror story about a brother and a sister, the latter becoming a flesh eating monster which then somehow devolves into softcore erotic cannibalism. Now, a good director and writer can take any concept and make it good… Pupa is not a show with a good director or writer. Pupa is a short-show with little to no animation, pacing or presentation. It’s not scary, it’s not interesting, it’s just nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Unfortunately far too many shows so far are incredibly mediocre. Shows like Z/X Ignition, SoniAni: Super Sonico the Animation, Nobunaga The Fool, The Pilot’s Love Song and Strange+ are all shows where I have a hard time describing my opinion as they’re basically just bags of boredom. Be it because of the shows being generic being belief or because whenever they try to do something different it just ends up stupid and annoying. Shows like this I have a hard time deciding whether or not to drop, because I don’t really care about them too much either way.
But enough about the bad and the boring, let’s talk about some really good stuff. My top 5 best shows of January 2014 to be precise. In the number five spot we have Noragami, a surprisingly good action show about the homeless god Hato and a girl who’s getting involved with the spiritual world around him. It has some truly gorgeous animation and fun characters and manages to actually tell a interesting story at the same time. It’s my favourite Bones show of the season, sorry Space☆Dandy, and that should count for something.
In fourth place we have Inari, Konkon, Koi Irohai which hit me out of nowhere by surprise. It has some of the best written female characters of the season by far, which is always appreciated. The story follows a girl named Inari who one comes into contact with the goddess of the local shrine. Having her wish granted, she ends up in a situation she had not planned on. I don’t want to say anything more, but if you’re up for a little shoujo romance show with a supernatural twist, check out this show. You owe it to yourself as it’s the best in its genre since Kamisama Kiss.
In third place we see the show with the single best episode of the season, Nobunagun. A show that is so incredibly over-the-top with everything it does that I’m not sure just how the creators came up with any of the stuff going on. Fun characters, great action and surprisingly good serious moments when it needs them as well. I love Nobunagun, which once again shows that when I predict a show will be shitty, I am almost always wrong. That goes for this show, Love Live! School Idol Project, Sasami-san@Ganbaranai, Haganai: I Have Few Friends and Kokoro Connect …for the first half.
Second best is Golden Time, a remnant from last year that proves itself stronger and stronger. Though the show had some problems with filler and wasting time at the start of the year, it’s now back on track and I can’t wait to sit down and watch the episode from this week, which I’ve not seen yet. One of the best pure romance stories since Say “I Love You”. I just really hope they don’t screw up the ending. I really hope they don’t. Also, at this point Ghost Banri has gotten ridiculous, though still not as ridiculous as the people saying that Banri himself is evil because he makes a metaphorical ghost of his past self that he doesn’t know about sad.
And the best show is Sakura Trick, which you already knew based on my gushing about it on multiple occasions. You can argue against me all you want, but the show is right up my alley and I love it. Is it perfect? Not at all. Will it be the best show of the season? I don’t know, I don’t think so, but right now there’s no show that makes me happier than this one. I love the characters, I love the artstyle, I love the jokes and I love that they’re not afraid to be a bit more sexual than many other shows in its genre, I find that respectable after too much cutesy non-serious stuff.
The fact that the show seems to be popular is good too, because I was afraid we’d get another period of nothing. But already next season we have two shows about lesbians, which is great, and then in summer we have a show about gay boys in Love Stage!!… Unfortunately I’m hearing really bad things about that one, but who knows? Maybe it’ll be just fine and we can start having LGBTQ relationships more regularly from now on.
Some honourable mentions go out to No-Rin and Witch Craft Works, both of which turned me around completely after the first sub-par episode. Nisekoi, which I like but don’t really get all the appeal with, but I still find it fun. Space☆Dandy, which seems to be getting less good each week in some aspect, but still remains a lot of fun either way. I also want to give some props to Wizard Barristers, if just for its amazing animation. Final mention goes to Saki: The Nationals, which is fun, but really really needs to start stepping up its pacing.
Next month should be interesting, especially with the start of a new PreCure. I did not like 2013’s Dokidoki! PreCure, but I have a upcoming review talking in detail on why, so I’ll leave it for now. It’ll also be fun to see where the more plot and event driven shows take things. Could we maybe have a underdog show rising to some unseen strength? I highly doubt it, but you never know. As for now, I’m alright with the first month of anime. Not great, not bad, but decent enough for me to look forward to more.
Anime I Watched in January 2014 (Alphabetical Order):
Buddy Complex, D-Frag!, Dokidoki! PreCure, Engaged to the Unidentified, Everyone Gather! Falcom Academy, Go! Go! 575, Golden Time, Hamatora The Animation, Hozuki no Reitetsu, Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha, Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions – Heart Throb –, Magical Warfare, Nisekoi, No-Rin, Nobunaga The Fool, Nobunagun, Noragami, Onee-chan Ga Kita, PuPiPo!, Pupa, Recently, My Syster is Unusual, Robot Girls Z, Saki: The Nationals, Sakura Trick, SoniAni: Super Sonico the Animation, Space☆Dandy, Strange+, The Pilot’s Love Song, Tonari no Seki-kun: The Master of Killing Time, Wake Up, Girls!, Witch Craft Works, Wizard Barristers, World Conquest: Zvezda Plot, Z/X Ignition.