The summer season is ‘heating’ up and it is time to look at the score so far of the shows airing this season.
I want to mention that I don’t watch all the shows airing in a particular season. Keep in mind that not all shows will be present in this post. In this post I’ll give a Ninety’s Choice label to a season must watch.
Fate/Kaleid Illya, the spin-off series for the Fate franchise. Following the happenings of Illya during her elementary school days and her introduction to being a magical girl.
In some way I am spoiled by Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magika, expecting a master piece of some sorts. Of course it is unrealistic to expect a show like that to appear any time soon. Fate/Kaleid is indeed no revolutionizing genre series and is a rather shallow version of Madoka Magika, depicting the cutesy outfits of magical girls and fighting evil entities.
Fate/Kaleid is not the star of the season and will most likely be dropped, or not even considered watching, by many. But I like cute girls doing cute stuff and Illya is beyond cute. The color scheme of Illya and the voice acting fits her personality perfectly. Illya’s overall design is well thought out, her hair, her outfit and her mannerisms are outstanding. This making Illya one of the cutest characters out there. Still I wonder how canon this is to the Illya we’ve seen in Fate/Zero.
Kiniro Mosaic, a story about an English transfer student coming to Japan. Along the way getting familiar with Japanese hospitality, culture and mannerisms.
I said it in my first impressions post that Kiniro Mosaic kind of feels like a commercial for Japan. The warmth of the people, the welcoming nature of the people, depicting the brightest side of Japan. I don’t consider this as a down side, but it is inevitable to have this kind of feeling during the run.
On the other hand I couldn’t help but think that this show would be better as a few minute per episode kind of show. Aiura should’ve deserved more time and Kiniro Mosaic should take a little less time to explore Japanese culture. This would even be a better way to explore Japan and its culture, highlighting different aspects in short, yet catching, episodes. And of course the Japanese styled English in Kiniro feels forced and unnatural. Still I want to credit the cast for giving it their best effort.
Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi tells a story about a world where people can’t die and cannot get children. Gravekeepers are responsible to put the dead to rest.
The premise sounds very intriguing, but the show doesn’t live up to those expectations. The show is very colorful, contradictory to the dark vibe and underlying theme of this show. This show had a lot of potential to show a world that has broken down and left in turmoil. Instead its rather peaceful and being dead, being able to still ‘live’ on, doesn’t seem that terrible.
Following the story of the two lovers who beat the odds to see each other, at least one of them does. Kimi no Iru Machi is the adaption from the popular manga series.
I’ve read my fair share of the manga and I’m pretty entertained by the anime version. It is a retro feeling adaption of the manga with all the familiar characters playing their part in the series. The retro look is achieved with sober color schemes, there are no special effects to spice up the series.
For newcomers this series has a major flaw, the non chronological storytelling. The anime is more of a representation of the events happening in the manga, instead of an anime that can also be viewed separately. It feels like a ‘next-to’ series, not a standalone product. This could scare the potential audience that is new with the series.
A demon trying to find a way to bring a girl back to life. In the show Blood Lad we get a glimpse in the life of the demon Staz who controls one of the territories in the demon world. One faithful day he encounters Fuyumi and he considers himself up for the task to bring her back to the human world.
Blood Lad explores many different elements in the quest to find a way to resurrect Fuyumi. The human world is visited and a bit of the demon world is explored. Along the way a bunch of colorful characters make their appearance.
The characters in particular don’t feel like much added value. They are presumably dangerous at the beginning, but afterwards their just kindhearted. The characters Staz and Fuyumi meet all seem part of a greater scheme and are just pieces of a puzzle. Because they explore a wide variety of the characters, the show feels messy and inconsistent.
Uchouten Kazoku is one of the more original shows this season, focusing on how a Tanuki discovers more about his father’s death. He comes in contact with many other spiritual beings during his happenings in the city of Kyoto.
In some way the premise sounds straightforward, but with the way it is being told, Uchouten Kazuka remains rather vague. I believe it suffers the same problem Red Data Girl had, where the premise was very strong, but the execution was vague.
The show of course features the top notch animation from P.A. Works. The studio should also be praised for its daring shows with a lot of originality. Despite this, I think it’s time we get something familiar again from P.A. Works, a show more along the way of Hanasaku Iroha.
WataMote shows how a normal teenager tries to find a way to blend in with fellow students when entering high school. We witness the failed attempts of this particular student named Tomoko. Trying different methods from new mannerisms to changing clothing styles.
This show is entertaining and sad at the same time. Many people will be all too familiar with this problem, just like our main character. Not everybody is destined to be popular, but to completely find nobody is also a situation one doesn’t want to be in. This resulting in isolation and depression.
WataMote portrays different aspects faced by many students entering high school, may it be in a rather comical sense. The problems are just as real. This show is a must watch and is a fitting adaption for the manga.
Despite this being a show mainly targeted for a female audience, the elements are there that Free! can be enjoyed by males. Free! still has the familiar KyoAni vibe written all over it.
The story in essence does nothing exciting, but the studio manages to create just enough drama or tension to pull you to the next episode. Free! results in a show that has strong basics and creates something extra for the female viewer. Whereas anime is mainly targeted to guys, this shows takes a different route. Proving that a style change or audience change, doesn’t necessarily mean a loss in overall quality.