Winter 2014 – Week 13 in Review

Welp, last week of the season. Some shows triumphed, some shows floundered, and some just stopped producing new episodes. Let’s run it down!

Kill la Kill 24: Kill la Kill managed to top my expectations in one way while kinda just barely falling beneath them in another. On the positive side, this episode was actually very thematically coherent – it basically focused entirely on “people shouldn’t be defined by what they wear, however people choose to represent themselves, they are beautiful.” This was something the show has occasionally taken interest in, so it was a fair endpoint, even if the show’s obviously still pretty scrambled idea-wise. On the negative side, I actually kinda wanted this episode to go bigger than it did – it had a bunch of beautiful shots as always (and lots of much-appreciated friendship-fanservice between basically everybody), but considering the fights never have any stakes, I was expecting it to get a little more absurd than it did. That’s not really a valid complaint outside of the context of anything but Gurren Lagann, though, so I guess I can live with it. I’ve kinda learned to take my enjoyment where I can get it with Kill la Kill – it’s a fair piece of pop entertainment, but it lacks the focus, insight, or emotional truth to go beyond that. In the end, I’d call it somewhere around a 6/10.

Kill la Kill

Chuunibyou Ren 12: My god, this episode was bad. So, so, so very bad. So monumentally bad. Episode 11 was bad too, but only as a disappointing finale to a half-baked story arc – this episode basically represented everything wrong with this season, acting as one more cynical betrayal of everything that made the first season great. Characters reduced to slapstick props. Romcom cliches in full effect. Pandering bait that leads nowhere. It started out as a default romcom episode, which was already a great disappointment, but, I mean, that’s what this season has been. And then of course we go to the bathhouse for a little fanservice. And then we leave the bathhouse with a few choice gay panic jokes. And then we reach a contrived confession-bait, at which point I was already perfectly confident in how the show would end. Aw shucks, those crazy kids almost kissed! Go get ‘em, guys! TUNE IN NEXT WEEK, DRONES. God, what a cynical, meaningless, insulting waste of time this season has been. Fuck you, KyoAni. 3/10.

Chuunibyou Ren

Witch Craft Works 12: Witch Craft Works ended in Witch Craft Works fashion – with an awkward and largely meaningless central plot, a bunch of great individual moments, and a last-minute save by the Tower Witches. It was actually kind of funny comparing the last battles of this show to Kill la Kill – though WCW’s style is pretty mundane, the fight choreography and understanding of weighted conflict is just miles ahead of Trigger’s work. And though the ending didn’t really resolve much of anything or even make a huge amount of sense, I wasn’t actually disappointed – I’ve never watched this show for the plot, after all. It was funny and kinda visually compelling and always a pleasant ride, basically everything I could ask for from a generic popcorn show. 6/10.

Witch Craft Works

Nagi no Asukara 25: This episode had some Chisaki-Tsumugu scenes and that’s all I’ve got to say about it. I am drama’d out – Nagi no Asukara has been spinning in its wheels for most of a season now, and at this point it’s just tiring watching these characters retread these conflicts. It was pretty crazy when the first Ofunehiki turned out so poorly – having the second one turn out poorly in pretty much the exact same way is… well, actually a very NagiAsu thing to do. This is still a fair enough show, but dear lord did it need a harsher editor.

Nagi no Asukara

…and that’s actually all I’ve got for now. Both Sekai Seifuku and Samurai Flamenco have also ended, but I’m planning on writing essays about both of them, and so I’m saving their last episodes for this weekend. Which is kind of a nice feeling – I get to begin the next season by finishing off my two obvious favorites from the winter.


26 thoughts on “Winter 2014 – Week 13 in Review

  1. I think Chunnibyou Ren might be one of my biggest disappointments with anime. I thought that maybe the season could be somewhat salvaged with the Satone development around the middle portion but even that got hand-waved off during the finale and had no impact whatsoever. Which really sucked because I had stopped caring about Yuuta and Rikka’s relationship long ago. Huge step backward with that franchise and I’d be fine if they just left it alone. At least the first season was good.

    Samurai Flamenco essay? I’m looking forward to that one.

    • I just found the 1st season decent (everything Kyo Ani is good at, but nothing truly greatl), so I wasn’t as disappointed as others.
      Still wouldn’t have expect to actually enjoy D-Frag! far more at the beginning of this season.
      That was some pretty great trolling, though.

    • Yeah, we’ll always have the first season. And my Flamenco post should be done in… wait, no, it’s already done! I’ll be posting it on Monday.

  2. So I recently moved to an apartment with enough room for a couch. That means that I watch anime from far enough away that getting up and skipping to the good part is too much effort. So instead I started taking note when I wanted to skip something. So I’m going to give everything a skipping rating, where 5/5 means that I was desperately waiting for the two minutes of interesting content, 0/5 means I watched everything attentively, and 3/5 means that I wanted to skip dialogue between or about characters and ideas that I didn’t care about.

    Just finished Samurai Flamenco. This might sound really weird, but I feel like the producers could’ve taken a lesson from TTGL or KLK on how to baffle the audience with visual style. I think it was a great show, one of the best of the season, but I’m not really sure who (if anyone) I’d recommend it to. For comparison, I think I could recommend Kill la Kill to anyone who’s watched shounen anime as a kid. Also, I found Flamenco oddly not gripping, and I’m still trying to figure out why. The show’s a 8/10, with a skipping rating was about a 4/5 at the end.

    Thematically, I consider it the strongest anime of the season. Goto and Hazama are great characters, and I thought the exploration of what it means to be a hero as seen through a brief history and conglomeration of types of hero works (including a TTGL styled fight and a kind of poor attempt at a Death Note styled back and forth) was really cool. Especially when they’re all rejected.

    One of my favorite aspects of Witch Craft Works is the world-building. /a/ has a short text file with notes here:
    It reminds me a bit of Dark Souls styled storytelling, with a vague central plot and enough background lore to keep someone busy for a long time. Also the ending actually does make a ton of sense within the larger context of the lore. Without that context, it makes enough sense to pass by. I’m not sure if that’s a failing or not. Skipping rating was about a 4/5 in the beginning, 2/5 in the end. Overall rating was a 7/10.

    I marathoned Sekai Seifuku, and I have to say I was pretty disappointed. Cool stuff with how they set up the world, fun interconnected web of people. I think I might have the same problem with it that you had with Witch Craft Works. I didn’t really understand what was happening, and I didn’t really care enough about it to pay more attention. Skipping rating of 4/5 all the way through, with 5/5 at the end. I can’t properly rate this show because of how much I wanted to skip it.

    • Wait, this whole system sounds crazy to me. Are you saying that prior to this, you’d fast-forward through any scenes that weren’t immediately interesting to you to find ones that looked like they would be?

      • No, But I felt incredibly tempted to. And it really isn’t about being immediately interesting. It’s about characters that I don’t care about, or events I don’t care about. In Flamenco, every time it tried to borrow some trope from other hero genres I stopped caring. I recognize the thematic importance of what’s happening, but I’m way more interested in how Goto is holding up, or how Mari is reacting to the despair horizon. I could care less about the megazord fights, or the mooks. I also consider that to be a failure of the show, because the whole point is that Hazama is ignoring the emotional distress of his friends in favor of a big, flashy fantasy world. For that to be convincing they needed to make his fantasy world appealing. And it just wasn’t. To be honest, I think Manglobe could take a few cues from Trigger on how to be both absurd and appealing at the same time.

        I would skip stuff on series that I’d already dropped but wanted to know the ending to anyway.

        • I guess that makes more sense. Flamenco’s a kind of unique one in that it really does just wholly commit to various different genres through its run, so obviously if you’re less interesting in one or another genre, different stretches of it will be much less interesting. That still seems like a strange general metric to apply, though – I never expect all the moments of any given show to be uniformly compelling to me, there’s always going to be stuff that appeals to me more than other stuff, or stuff that’s required to establish some grounding for other stuff.

      • I don’t know about you, but I personally have an issue with all this number crunching in general. It makes it seem like the end of these shows for many people is so they can assign a mathematical value once they run through them.

      • It doesn’t necessarily mean I think the show is bad, or that it’s made a mistake. Sometimes the author actively tries to make me want to skip a segment. Pretty often, actually.

        It’s more of a way for me to figure out how entertaining something is, regardless of criticism. So, KLK would get a 1/5 on the skip scale, which means it’s very, very entertaining. But I’d only really give it a 7/10 rating, because of thematic inconsistencies, problems with character development, and pacing issues.

        ZeroReq011: It’s a way for me to try to figure out how I feel about something. I can pretty much guarantee that I’m not going to sit through six hours of a show just so I can assign a number to it.

        • To me, that seems like almost a different axis from how I generally evaluate shows. For example, I didn’t find Shinsekai Yori tremendously entertaining, but I still thought it was a very impressive and worthy show. And I still haven’t finished Aku no Hana because it was straight-up uncomfortable to watch – but that was actually what the show was trying to do. Are there shows you don’t apply this system to?

  3. I would like to say Chu2 was the worst thing I suffered through this season, but I had the unfortunate experience of watching all of Wizard Barristers. Now that was a terrible show.

    Also how many weeks in a row is this with no HxH in the week in review? Gonna be a blast when you finally catch up and talk about them all at once.

    • Yep, looking forward to it myself. I’ve been busy, but HxH is a great show to marathon, so it’s nice to let it build up.

    • Or makes that much needed Hyouka 2nd Season.
      The first season ended on a low note,and is still one of the best anime ever made.

      Though, we indeed need more FMP.

      • I’ve heard there isn’t much more Hyouka material, but I’d love to see a movie or something. That show was so good.

  4. Eh, I’m kinda with you regarding the Ofunehiki, but I kinda felt that things were finally MOVING with NagiAsu what with Kaname finally cutting the passive aggressive bullshit and Miuna finally breaking under the stress of constantly ignoring her own wants (agreed about the rest of the season though).

    • Things moved, they just all moved at about a third of the pace they needed to. Which may have been a reflection of one of my other issues with the show – the fact that every single character was so inhumanly accommodating of the desires of others that they barely ever made a move to secure their own happiness.

  5. The problem with the second season of Chuunibyou is that someone decided on a sequel without knowing what’s it going to be about. “So, uhh, what’s the plan?” “Well in the first episode we’ll start lightly with re-introducing the characters.” “Okay, and then?” “We’ll feature Satone heavily in the climax of the season.” “Okay, and then?” “That’s it.” “… Fuck it. Let’s have an intern decide what the episodes in between will be about.”

    This entire sequel would have served much better as another OVA (with preferably some conclusion, kiss dammit). That would have done the series justice.

    That being said I’m actually excited for Tamako Love Story. Even though I thought TM was just an okay show (nice neighborhood atmosphere but it basically revolved around nothing) the movie actually looks interesting. Mochizou moving out and confessing before he does.

    • From what I’ve heard, they actually butchered the content of the second light novel to instead focus on a disjointed series of fan-pleasing episodic adventures. Apparently this season was pretty much willful, cynical plot-sabotage.

  6. The last issue regarding KLK have been send (woah, with one week of delay) and it serves to confirm a lot of things everyone was thinking about… like how the series message was that it is incomprenssive then whatever we want to give it (LOL). So, here you have… they even send a touchy picture of an unknown Trigger girl! though, she´s wearing Senketsu!

    The last episode of KILL la KILL is finally here! This has been the shortest 6 months I have yet to experience! This episode packed so many powerful quotes! People are people! Clothing is clothing! There comes a time when a girl must outgrow her sailor uniform (school uniform)! They’re stating the obvious, but something about these quotes really moves my heart! Episode 24 has really taught me the values of nonsensical things. The world is beautiful because there are so many things that are beyond our comprehension. It is the result of countless threads of unknown factors woven together. KILL la KILL is a grand example of this. Each and every staffs feelings, their passion are aggregated into a canvas we know as KILL la KILL. I know I am not making much sense right now, but I felt the same way with our creators as well. They are all crazy and over the top! But, after being able to interact with some of our viewers, I realized that our fans are just as crazy as our creators. With the series completed, some of our heated fans may fallen into “KLK deprivation.” I too am feeling a bit lonely that the series has ended… But fear not! Rumor says that there is a possibility of an episode 25, and my hopes are high!

    With KILL la KILL finished, I would like to thank the creators, and especially our fans for all the support we have received!

    Higuchi reporting out!”

    Yeah, that´s about it. Whatever you can have out of it, congratulations! So, now some more of those Keyframe pictures, they are so fanservical!

    Love that wacky Mako´s backback

    Now, the most waited moment!!
    Don´t hate me! they send that to me (wow, what a nice touch, sarcasm!)

    Not, really, the most waited moment for real!


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