Fall 2014 Season Anime Thoughts

We’re about a third into the Fall 2014 Season, and it is shaping up to be a decent season. I have three shows that I am currently watching right now, and here are my thoughts regarding these shows.

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Shirobako (Episode 1-3)

Shirobako is about a group of five high school girls in the animation club, who vow to meet again in Tokyo to create an animated feature together. Two years later, each has a job in the industry. The series mainly follows Aoi Miyamori, who is a production assistant at Musashino Animation, as she works on the studio’s anime for the fall season. Her other friends also hold various jobs in the industry.

Named after the white box where the final production is placed, Shirobako provides a detailed glimpse of the behind the scenes of making an anime, and it does a really good job with it. We are bombarded with a number of characters in a variety of roles, such as key animators, mixers, and line producers, and thus, it is hard to remember every character’s name. It’s a good thing that there is always a caption accompanying a character once they are introduced in a single episode. Throughout each episode, we can see the challenges and stress that each staff member has to endure. If one person doesn’t do their job, then the production schedule becomes out of sync. The number of hours that each staff member has to put in is immense and it helps us appreciate the amount of work that goes into our favorite shows. Some of the characters can be a turn-off, as their designs make them look like stereotypical otaku, but overall, the series is fun to watch. Episode 3 has been the pinnacle of this series so far, as it shows Miyamori dealing with the stress of trying to meet the deadline of an upcoming episode with everything that could go wrong going wrong. It’s a solid show, and I would like to see how this series progresses.

Rating: 7/10 (Good)

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Lord Marksman and Vanadis (Episodes 1-4)

This series is what I like to call Legolas: The Anime. It follows the tales of Tigre, an Earl from Kingdom of Brune, as he is captured by Eleonora Viltaria, a war-maiden from the Kingdom of Zhtched. Eleonora is part of the Seven Vanadis, war-maidens who are equipped with magical weapons given to them by the Black Dragon. Tigre is good with the bow, and when I say good, I mean really good. There isn’t any target that he can’t hit. Plotwise, we have two sides going at each other in war. The battle scenes looked impressive, but so far everything has been too easy for these two protagonists. Eleonara, with her magic sword that can control the wind, easily defeats a land dragon with one stroke while Tigre is very impressive with the bow. The one huge battle in Episode 3 felt a little anti-climactic and not that impressive. Even with the CGI overlay detailing the strategies of the two sides, the action feels rushed in that case. Also worth mentioning is the good amount of fanservice by the female characters. It can be certainly distracting. However, the interactions between Tigre and Eleonora make this a decent series. If you can stand the gratuitous fanservice, I would give this a watch.

Rating: 5/10 (Average)

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When Supernatural Battles Become Commonplace (Episodes 1-4)

I like this show. I like this show a lot. Produced by Studio Trigger, When Supernatural Battles Become Commonplace follows a group of students in the Literature Club, who suddenly gain superpowers…and then continue on with their normal lives. It’s pretty brilliant. The comedic timing in this show is just spot-on. There are so many memorable moments in this show I could talk about. There is Jurai Ando, the lone male character in the main cast, who is afflicted with “chunibyo” and always wanted superpowers, yet his power, Dark and Dark, is just a useless black flame. Disappointment ensues. There is also the entirety of Episode 2 where the student council president Mirei Kudo misinterprets a letter from Ando as a confession. The way she acts lovey-dovey just puts a stupid grin on your face.

Despite the comedic antics, there is a whole lot of depth beneath this series, which really balances out between the dramatic and comedic parts. Each character, although appearing generic, has a certain bit of depth that makes them really likable. Also, the animation may not look top notch, but Trigger uses that to their advantage to really add on to the comedic scenes. It’s not how smooth your animation is, but how you use it.  A small problem might be the direction where the show is heading, whether it is going on a more dramatic path or keeping with the comedic bits, but at the end, this show is pure fun.

Rating: 9/10 (Excellent)

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