Mike's Fall Season 2014 Review

Some season huh? Overall, this one was pretty good. It wasn’t as good as last season, but it sure as hell was better than the season before that. I was wondering if, apart from Psycho-Pass and Fate/stay night, this season was going to just limp into the new year and for the most part it didn’t. I mean, I thought most of the ending themes were sort of crappy and I had to dig pretty deep to find ones that I liked, but that’s really just small potatoes. There were good anime this season and don’t let anyone tell you any different.

Top 5 Shows

Honorable Mentions: Your Lie in April, I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying

5. Amagi Brilliant Park

5

This show didn’t really grab me at first. Kanieiiiiii  seemed a little too aloof, Sento felt a little too emotionless, and the magical talking amusement park animals threw me off a bit. But once I got past that, a well-written and enjoyable comedy was waiting  for me underneath. Watching Kanie turn around a literal magical theme park that uses happiness as a source of fuel was surprisingly endearing andiv little scenes such as the magical animals taking turns to pose as Kanie at school, or watching the park staff conduct interviews for new employees really stick out in my mind, simply making me smile upon reflection. Overall, this show is just good, that’s all there is to it. But god damn, I wish they would’ve just kept that chick as an actual “AV” actress rather than an Animal Video narrator. That would’ve been the best. The. Best. 

4. Akame ga Kill

4

Man, they sure didn’t f*** around when it came to killing off their characters in the back half of that show. I mean, like basically all of them. And that was kind of to the show’s detriment. The thing about shock and awe is when you do it too much, too often, it becomes expected and routine. The death of the show’s characters felt less like “Oh God! They killed that character! I–What?!” and more of “Oh look, that guy’s dead now too. Huh….I wonder who bites the bullet next week?” The show was still excellent though. I did feel an emotional tug from some character deaths, even when I felt I could set my watch by them sometimes. It’s an easy Top Ten Show-of-the-Year even when it gets kill-happy and I was delighted to find out that I didn’t call the show’s endingv (in my head). It was not what I expected and for once that was a good thing. Twenty-four weeks after episode one, I can confidently say it was well worth the ride. You should watch it.

3. Psycho-Pass: Season 2

3

Originally, I predicted Psycho-Pass was going to be the top show of the season and would compete with Kill la Kill for the number one spot. As you can see by the number three next to it, I was incorrect. This doesn’t mean it didn’t try though. Its pacing and atmosphere remained top notch, even though it felt a little condensed with only eleven episodes to work with. Compared to the twenty-two its first season was granted, it felt claustrophobic. While its plot and writing remained its strength, the main antagonist Kamui, felt like a bit of let down compared to how enthralling Makishima was as a villain; he simply lacked the visceral flair of his predecessor. Finally the protagonist Tsunemori, as good as her character can be when she is on her game, felt weaker overall than the first season. The main reason being: she never grew as a character. In the first season, Tsunemori started out as a green, book-smart detective fresh out of the academy and developed into a pragmatic, sensible, but definitely hardened woman of the law by the end. This season, she ended the same way she began with no true character development to speak of. This, more than anything else, kept Psycho-Pass out of the top spot. It was the show you remembered, as great as it was before, just more of it. For some people that is more than enough, and god bless them but for me personally, I wanted the show to evolve. And it never really did.

2. Parasyte

2

I never expected this show to end up this high, but here we are. Parasyte simply has gotten better, and better, and better since it began and doesn’t look to be falling off anytime soon. I’ll admit, the right hand thing is one of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen in anime and if you can’t get past that then you really can’t watch this show. If you do, though. you’ll be treated to one of the best shows of year and maybe one of the top shows going into 2015. Alien Parasites is the name of the game and man is it enthralling. The way that they inhabit their human hosts, learn their structure, functions, and use their bodies as a means of survival is some of the most compelling theatre I’ve seen all year and the show just makes it work better than I ever could have dreamed. The way they experiment with their hosts and interact with other parasites and humans is positively riveting and I’m not sure I can accurately do it justice. Just give it a look, I think you’ll like what you see.

1. Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works

1

The best looking anime of all time. Drop the mic. Pack it up, let’s go home. For a while, I thought Kara no Kyoukai was the gold standard by which all shows should be judged when it came to how good an anime can look. Well, it has just been usurped. Fate’s visuals are absolutely stunning and its animation is just jaw-dropping. This show really sets the standard of what anime can do as a visual medium and confirms to me that Ufotable must be made up of mystical witch doctors that work some kind of magic voo-doo allowing them to bend colors and shapes to their will. Oh, it also helps that just about every other aspect of the show is high class as well. The Holy Grail War has always been an outstanding premise and that is no different here, its BGM is always on point and its characters, for the most part, are well-written and nicely developed. Hell, I didn’t even hate Shirou as much as I thought I would. But that doesn’t change the fact that he is a weak lead character for this show and it would’ve done itself a huge favor had it instead cast Rin into that role. Yeah, she can be more tsundere than I’d like, but she’s overall a stronger, more interesting character and more capable of leading a show like this. Apart from that though, Fate’s flaws are very few and hard to find. It really is that good and it makes sure that you know it. I happily accept this knowledge.

 

Best Female Character

“Kaori Miyazono” of Your Lie in April

female

The one word that comes to mind when I think of Kaori is “Passion“. She feels music in such a way that I only wish I could. The way she is able to discern a person’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions just from the way that they play is just engrossing. She loves music. With all of her heart. With all of her being. With a youthful exuberance and ferocity that I’m honestly envious of. When she goes into competitions, her goal is not to win; never to win. Her goal to make sure the people in that theater never forget her. Simply outstanding.

Honorable Mentions: Akane Tsunemori (Psycho-Pass), Liselotte Sherlock (Trinity Seven)

 

Best Male Character

“Yuji Kazami” of The Fruit of Grisaia

male

This might possibly be my favorite male character of all time. I’m serious, I just love this motherf***er. He keeps his cool, he doesn’t lose his mind around breasts, and when dumb shit hits the fan he just rolls with it and has fun. A real character defining moment to me is when he walks into his room to find a naked girl changing in there, just to get a rise out of him as we later learn. Where most male characters would proceed to lose their motherf***ing mind, he doesn’t even react. He just says, straight-faced “Who called a stripper here? Today isn’t my birthday” and just walks right past her to his fridge and starts drinking green teavi.  He then later makes up a marching chant about how she is “A bitch in heat” on his way to school. I. Just. Loved it. And I love him. He is anime and you can too.

Honorable Mentions: Seiya Kanie (Amagi Brilliant Park), Shinichi Izumi (Parasyte), Sakuya Tougane (Psycho-Pass)

 

Best “?” Character

“Migi” of Parasyte

migi

You know, I have no idea what gender Migi is or if it even has one. I guess technically you can say it is male since it inhabits the right hand of a male, but it is voiced by a lady. I couldn’t figure it out and the show never really tilted one way or the other about it so Migi gets its own category. Congratulations. In all seriousness, Migi is a really interesting character. It doesn’t understand human emotions, suffering, and other little imperfections that define what it is to be human. Its attempt to wrestle with these aspects of the human condition is truly engaging.  All it knows is the most basic instinct of life: it must do whatever it can to survive.

 

Surprise Hit

I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying

danna

I can’t think of any anime that tackles the concept of marriage. Not the part about getting marriedvii. The part about what it’s like being married. That really makes Danna ga viii unique. It tells the funny and occasionally heartfelt tale of a married couple simply living life and being in love with each other with an ending that would’ve been legitimately surprising had it not been telegraphed for the last half of the series. Telegraphed, but fitting none the less. The show had three minute long episodes but it’s one of those shorts that I really wish was the full twenty-four.ix

 

Biggest Disappointment

The Fruit of Grisaia

fruit

This show had the tools to be great but steadfastly refused to be. What could have been an expertly done slice-of-life comedy or a well-told drama featuring my new man crush, chose to be a pretty bad version of Bakemonogatari. It had a main character with a legitimately interesting back-story and potentially gritty career that could have carried the show by itself and instead chose to unfortunately treat itself like the eroge adaptation that it is and gave every single girl their time in the limelight whether it was really warranted or not. The problem is the girls in this show are barely good enough to be support characters much less the main draws. They’re really just shallow, one-note characters all around, apart from the fact that hey, they have really nice breasts or wear pig-tails because that’s all kawaii and sh**. One of the best and most interesting male lead protagonists to come out in past few years is, for the most part, shoved to wayside simply because he lacks breasts and a vagina. No show this season was more disappointing than this one.

Dishonorable Mention: Sword Art Online II

 

Best Insert Song

Passion Flower (Aikatsu!)

 

Top 5 Openings

Honorable Mentions:The Day” by Satomi Satou (In Search of the Lost Future), “world’s end, girl’s rondo” by Kanon Wakashima (Selector Spread Wixoss)

5.  “BLAZING” by GARNiDELiA (Gundam G no Reconguista)

4. “Kimi no Matsu Sekai” by LAGOON (Magic Kaito 1412)

3. “ideal white” by Mashiro Ayano (Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works)

http://vimeo.com/112189824

2. “Enigmatic Feeling” by Ling Tosite Sigure (Psycho-Pass: Season 2)

1. “Let Me Hear” by Fear, and Loathing in Las Vegas (Parasyte)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZVr-Zu9vPM

 

Top 5 Endings

Honorable Mentions:Seven-Colored Symphony” by Coala Mode (Your Lie in April), “Wolf Heart” by Oresama (Wolf Girl & Black Prince)

5. “It’s the Right Time” by Daichi Miura (Parasyte)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtqCMuE7_x0

4. “TRINITY×SEVENTH+HEAVEN” by TWINKle MAGIC (Trinity Seven: Ending 4)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUZeG2WGEVE

3. “Moonlight” by Sora Amamiya (Akame ga Kill)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMHmrW3jfAw

2. “BEAUTIFUL≒SENTENCE” by Magus Two (Trinity Seven: Ending 1)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5V1ouM3RlY

1. “Fallen” by EGOIST (Psycho-Pass: Season 2

 

Final Thoughts

What do we have next season? We have More Durarara, more Kuroko’s Basketball, more Dog Days, more Aldnoah.Zero,  more JoJo’s, Tokyo Ghoul maybe actually being not shit. What the f*** else could you want?! HIGH SCHOOL OF THE DEAD SEASON TWO! THAT’S WHAT THE F*** ELSE YOU COULD WANT! Ahem, next season looks absolutely stacked and some of these shows could be some of the best of the year. I can’t wait to find out. In the meantime…

F*** all the skinny b****es in the club.

Watch Anime.

 

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