Unblogged shows/OVAs of Summer 2014

fate kaleid blade dance free hanayamata sabagebu little busters ex psycho pass kill la kill

There’s definitely not as much shows that we’ve missed this season compared to spring, but undoubtedly there were some we just couldn’t follow. So here’s a list of what I specifically watched outside of what we’ve covered. (Honorable Mention to Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun).

Fate-kaleid liner Prisma Illya 2wei!

Fate kaleid liner Prisma Illya Zwei! - ED - Large 02

For better or worse, the 2nd season of this cash grab spin-off is giving more of everything it offered in the first one. On the plus side, this means we get more fast-paced battles and multiple cameo appearances of characters from the Fate Universe, including Bazett and Caren. On the neutral side, this means more Yuri undertones, one decent character arc involving Kuro, and uninspired references to the Fate Universe. And on the negative side, this means more crappy CG, more telegraphed plot lines, and more annoying middle school events. Not to mention its identity as a stand-alone story gets thinner as it desperately tries to come up with excuses for cramming references and cameos. It baffles me how popular this show has gotten to warrant a 3rd season announcement, but it’s definitely doing its job at delivering more to the fans.

Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance

Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance - 12 - Large 01

So in the end, this show failed to offer in every possible way. As a fantasy, it doesn’t offer much world-building beyond the existence of good and bad spirits. As an action series, it relies too much on cheap cuts and forgettable opponents. As a drama and mystery, it lacks escalated conflicts, memorable backstories, or even proper foreshadowing. As a harem, the girls aren’t that memorable and the lead becomes more predictable as the show goes on. And while the fan-service can occasionally bring a giggle, it’s never as adorable or sexy as it wants to be. The music was surprisingly good and eventually the girls became tolerable to watch, but everything else is just predictable and boring.

Free! Eternal Summer

Free Eternal Summer - ED - Large 06

I was not a fan of the first season of Free!, mainly because I thought it tried to be too much at the same time. It was too mundane for a sports anime, weightless as a drama, repetitive as a comedy, and too stereotypical to take seriously as a slice of life. But much like Love Live and Date A Live, I found myself enjoying how confident this sequel was compared to the original. I can’t really fault Kyoto Animation for trying too much on the first series considering how much of a risk Free! was, but they managed to drastically improve on the previous season while trimming much of the fat. Comic relief doesn’t drag on, the sports aspect fuses seamlessly with the slice-of-life format, and rather than attaching the drama to an overplayed friendship motivation, they focus more on what they want to do with their life. More power to fujoshi out there; your flagship series just got better. And if anything, “Future Fish” is awesome. 🙂

Hanayamata

Hanayamata - 12 - Large 36

Declaring this show to be a chore to watch or a beautiful delight is hard to distinguish for me. While it had stunning art direction, great pacing, and a consistently balanced tone, it’s also full of predictable melodrama, stereotypical girls, and WAY TOO MUCH YURI UNDERTONES (seriously, does everyone have to blush every 2 minutes?). Ultimately the content is what made this show forgettable for me, because the execution behind it is excellent. Don’t go into this expecting an introduction in traditional Yosakoi dancing, especially since they recycle the opening dance; expect a yuri drama/comedy disguised as friendship.

Sabagebu!

sabagebu 1

Out of all the shows in this list, this is the biggest surprise for me. I expected a typical moe club show with occasional gunfights and cheap melodrama, but the actual content was more like the random, mean-spirited humor of D-Frag. The survival game in the title is no cover; they turn almost everything into a survival game somehow, even poking fun at action films. Racing old people in the deserts of Australia? TURN IT INTO “THE ROAD WARRIORS”! Lost in the jungle with a humanoid cat? MAKE IT INTO “PREDATOR”! Movie references aside, the bulk of the comedy comes from the colorful cast of characters that, while never developed, leave a memorable impression based on how strange their interactions are.

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The main lead is a greedy, backstabbing soul that only looks out for herself, but she never runs out of situations that end up with her getting the short stick and others unknowingly getting her help. Couple this with a masochist with ridiculous strength, a model that’s constantly shot on the boobs, a silent cosplayer, a sentient platypus, and a president who somehow has actual military connections, and you can imagine the crazy situations they get into. I haven’t even mentioned the amount of side characters along the way, but that would spoil some great jokes. Yes the presentation could look butt-ugly at times, but I’m amazed this show avoided the yuri overtones this genre is expected from. If a surreal laugh is your thing, this will keep you entertained all the way till its explosive finale.

Little Busters EX

Little Busters EX - OP - Large 06

Despite my critical take on Little Busters Refrain, it gets better and better the more I think about it. Sure it was rushed at points and was drenched in Key’s cliches, but it’s in my opinion the best ending they’ve had for an adaptation as far as I’ve seen (haven’t seen Air). So I’ll make this perfectly clear about these 3 new arcs: they represent everything right and wrong about Little Busters in one neat package. All of these routes are extremely rushed and each take a small part of what made the series. Kanata’s route was melodramatic as f#ck with one-dimensional villains and a predictable ending, while the Sasami route was silly and sad with lots of fairy tale aspects. Saya’s route benefited from taking half the ep count of the series, adding to the dreamworld aspect in Refrain and offering a great combination of laughs, tears, and food for thought. It’s a shame that the experience got weaker as it went on, but it’s the package I expected and enjoyed. If anything, it’s worth watching for the OP alone. That is the best version of the Little Busters opening thus far.

Psycho-Pass New Edit Version

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Having seen Psycho Pass when it was airing, I was wondering how they could possibly keep this re-run fresh aside from editing two eps together. Fortunately, the new scenes that were promised didn’t pad the time that was given to fill 46 minutes. They feel so natural in the context of the story that you’d barely notice that they were new in the first place. Saying that, the experience of re-watching this show in a 2 ep weekly format was far more comfortable to watch than when it was airing. The cliffhangers felt less intrusive and the longer run-time eased me into paying closer attention to the themes and execution of the story. Psycho Pass isn’t as original and smart as people think, often borrowing off of greater sources in science fiction or philosophy, but it’s still the well-crafted cop story that I enjoyed the first time I watched it. This Re-edit isn’t required viewing, but it’s definitely a great way to re-experience the story before moving onto the upcoming sequel.

Kill la Kill Special

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Being that I was slightly disappointed by the ending of Kill la Kill, I was expecting this to be a predictable graduation ceremony with many goodbyes and loose ends tied. What I didn’t expect is how they were going to keep this going for 27 minutes, and how their answer to a graduation is to literally blow up the school by doing exactly what previous episodes have done in the past. This is when I started to love this special. The way they repeat the roles of all the characters, shoehorn a previous villain and stage a final battle that’s arguably more ridiculous than the past fights; it almost feels like a parody of the entire show. Yet at the same time, they managed to leave some closure on the annoyingly open-ended final episode so that a continuation would no longer be required. I actually felt quite emotional after seeing a proper goodbye to this world and its characters, something that never occurred to me in the series. That alone is a reason to watch this extra episode.

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About theweirdman

I'm a long time follower of anime, and will continue to do so for years to come

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