Fall 2014 – Virtually Every First Episode Retrospective

I have been very busy these last couple weekends! Working on the ANN preview guide has meant I’ve had to watch and write about virtually every full-length show that premiered this fall – I believe the only ones we missed were G Reco, Amagi Brilliant Park, and Seven Deadly Sins, and I actually wrote about the first one and took notes on the second anyway. Of course, since all that was for ANN, you guys over here haven’t had heard as much from me. So in light of that, I’ve decided to do a hyper-speed mega-Week in Review rundown of my most summarized thoughts on every goddamn show, complete with links to individual ANN pages where you can find the small essays I wrote on every single one of them. If you want to hear me praise stuff, stick to the top, if you want to hear me tear shit apart, check out the bottom. There’s been a wide, wide range of shows this season, and every one of them has earned a whole bunch of words. LET’S DO THIS.

Legitimately Great Shows

Parasyte -the maxim-: Very easily my top first episode of the season. It’s essentially just a scifi/horror thriller so far, but its execution is flawless and its great source material gives me hope it’ll remain this good. Watch Parasyte.


Fate/stay night: Equally easy second choice. FSN’s premier is confident, gorgeous, and actually gracefully told – it’s a remarkable thing seeing the visual novel’s awkward over-telling being translated into this beautiful premier.

Shirobako: Shirobako came completely out of left field for me, but I’m loving it so far. A subdued, rapid-fire drama that actually explores the real-life trials of anime production? Fuck yeah. It’s also got that “jaded optimism” tone that I love so much. Really hoping this one stays good.

Amagi Brilliant Park: I won’t have a writeup for this one unless it actually gets picked up for streaming, but yeah, I really, really liked this first episode. Great animation, and all the jokes in this reminded me of the other reason I like KyoAni – their mastery of comedy. Whether it’s timing, pacing of reactions, how to establish and subsequently undercut a repeated gag – KyoAni know what’s up.

Amagi Brilliant Park

Rage of Bahamut: Genesis: Rage of Bahamut comes out of fuckin’ nowhere (it’s based on an electronic card game) to immediately establish itself as anime’s Pirates of the Caribbean. Its Hollywood adventure pretensions are greatly buoyed by its stellar animation. Definitely the surprise of the season.

Your Lie in April: This one’s right on the borderline, but I really did enjoy this first episode. The show is gorgeous, the writing’s solid, and the potential is all there. The show’s humor is kind of crap, but fortunately it’s normally trying to be more dramatic than funny – if this holds together, we could have a new Toradora situation on our hands.

Legitimately Solid Shows

Gugure! Kokkuri-san: The more I think back on this show, the more I like it. It’s a gag comedy with actual bite and real heart, and it features Handa’s VA doing a similarly histrionic performance with a girl who’s Naru’s opposite in every way but almost equally endearing. Give it a shot.

Gugure! Kokkuri-san

Psycho-Pass 2: This first episode didn’t feel quite as solid as the average first-season episode, but I’ve still got hope. Psycho-Pass has got ideas to spare, but it remains to be seen whether a non-Urobuchi writer can execute on them.

Chaika – Avenging Battle: Chaika is Chaika. This season is more Chaika to supplement our existing Chaika. Please get your Chaika while Chaikas last.

Celestial Method: Kinda surprised by how much I enjoyed this. It’s an obvious tearjerker in the vein of stuff like Clannad or AnoHana, but I felt this first episode was very smartly constructed. I like dramas, I just think this stuff is very often ineptly written/constructed, but Celestial Method seems solid so far.

Celestial Method

Probably Worth a Look Shows

When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace: It’s nothing groundbreaking, but Trigger’s LN comedy is still a fine enough show. Decent comedy, solid concept – it’s one more of Haruhi’s endless children, but this one seems to have inherited a bit of its parent’s spark.

G Reco: Another show in search of a streaming home. G Reco is a weird show – from what I’ve heard, it’s apparently Tomino’s hand that results in the awkward pacing and action-scene incoherence of this show. In spite of that, the world and base variables are pretty great. G Reco has a lot of potential, it just needs to avoid being dragged down by its awkward execution.

Log Horizon 2: It’s more Log Horizon. The studio change doesn’t seem to have negatively affected the production, so if you liked Log Horizon, you’ll probably like Log Horizon 2.

Log Horizon 2

The Fruit of Grisaia: Another one I’m surprised I liked as much as I did. Grisaia’s source material is bad, and though this adaptation certainly displays plenty of the weaknesses of the material, it’s also a really energetic and well-animated production. It’s a harem, and there’s no avoiding that, but I had a lot more fun with it than I expected to.

GARO the Animation: I described this show as “essentially a lengthy guitar solo in the middle of a song about dragons,” and I stand by that. Garo is garish and silly and ridiculous and pretty fun. It’s heavy metal: the anime.

I Vaguely Approve of These Shows

Akatsuki no Yona: A “girl is torn between bishy dudes in warring states-esque setting” standby with little to differentiate it from the pack, but I enjoyed it just the same. A fine execution of a very well-worn narrative.

Akatsuki no Yona

Lord Marksman and Vanadis: I get the feeling this is going to completely descend into Fantasy Boob territory (just check out the harem-friendly OP), but this first episode was actually surprisingly well-constructed fantasy, and the relationship between the two leads works.

Tribe Cool Crew: It’s a children’s show about dancing. It’s a pretty good children’s show, but still.

Who Invited These Shows. Was It Steve? I Bet It Was Steve

Terra Formars: Grey and full of exposition and not particularly interesting. It’s probably gonna be this season’s “grrr grim grim I’m an adult” show, taking the place of Akame ga Kill.

Terra Formars

Wolf Girl and Black Prince: Another one of those weird shoujo romances where abuse is supposed to be romantic for some reason. I actually kinda like this show’s ditzy lead, but this is not a good show.

Denki-Gai: One of those 4koma-style adaptations with no actual jokes.

Maybe More Interesting Than Watching Paint Dry, Depending On The Paint

Laughing Under the Clouds: Three brothers in silly costumes make non-jokes while everyone monologues the exposition at you.

Laughing Under the Clouds

Trinity Seven: It’s like Harry Potter if Harry Potter were written by a horny fourteen-year-old boy.

World Trigger: Possibly the laziest production I’ve ever seen, applied to a generic shounen frame that already doesn’t really have anything going for it.

In Search of the Lost Future: The childhood friend dies at the end. This summary brought to you by @savedyouaclick.

In Search of Lost Future

Gonna be the Twin-Tail!!: How could anyone possibly have thought this concept deserved an entire episode, much less an entire series.

What Merciful God Would Allow For Shows Such As These

Daitoshokan no Hitsujitai: Harem visual novel adaptations and shows about nothing have apparently crossbred to create a terrifying harem visual novel adaptation where nothing fucking happens.

CROSS ANGE: Proof that humanity is not fundamentally good.

Cross Ange

So that’s it! Overall, I was actually greatly surprised by how many shows I legitimately enjoyed – I’d say only the bottom four or so had absolutely nothing to recommend them, and I’m probably going to check out the second episodes of everything in “Probably worth a look” and above. Maybe anime isn’t so bad after all!

19 thoughts on “Fall 2014 – Virtually Every First Episode Retrospective

  1. I’m liking Amagi, too. But it feels so much like a Shaft show (especially Arakawa) with KyoAni art that I get confused and hesitant. Luckily it’s not as lifeless and unlikeable as Arakawa, though. I guess I’ll just get used to it. Helicoptaaaaaa

    • Doesn’t Grisaia feel even more like a shaft show though? I swear, the eyes are exactly the same, and the girl with the razor is pretty much senjougahara with her stapler.
      I really like Amagi. I love how this completely left-field plot has found a resonating way to be something important to the main character, whom I also really like.

      • After the third episode, I feel like Grisaia is the poor shallow diatant relative of Monogatari…it even has head tilts!

  2. “It’s probably gonna be this season’s “grrr grim grim I’m an adult” show, taking the place of Akame ga Kill”
    The problem here is that Akame ga Kill is still airing and has a foothold on being a crappy “mature” show.

  3. We now await for a full preview post for the new paint season. Which brands of paint are more interesting to watch dry? What are the underlying themes of anti-rust cobalt blue? WE NEED TO KNOW!

  4. Wow, did you watch all of those in a row? That’s something.
    That’s quite a high amount of great shows you got there and Mushi-shi haven’t even started yet.
    Btw i watch Parasyte based on your recommendation, it was great and there’s surprisingly a couple moments of comedy there 🙂

    • Same here, never heard of Parasyte before, now along with Fate/Stay the top picks of the season for me.


      I dont like new Psychopass. Particularly Akane’s ‘development’. She never needed to become badass and the boss in order to develop. Whats up with the psycho-pass improving meds? Sounds like cheap plot device to create new enemy out of thin air. I dont like where this is going at all.

      Also, Terraformars is not that horrible. And it is improving. Ep 2 had good pacing and the visuals are not bad at all. The problem is censors. I read manga so am probably biased though.

    • Yeah, something is definitely what it was. And I agree, this season’s looking pretty great – I’ve already dropped a few shows (G Reco, Kokkuri-san, Grisaia), but I’ve still got plenty to watch.

    • I don’t know Bob’s reasons, but I dropped Kokkuri-san too—I couldn’t even finish the second episode, it was that disappointing after the first one (which had already showed signs of teetering but nonetheless had potential). Main premise and setting is quite good, kinda like a leaner, more focused, less cynical Zetsubou-Sensei, except the show doesn’t seem to have a solid idea as to how to go about it. It feels undecided about what kind of wacky it wants to be—piercingly poignant (a little girl with broken insides who behaves outlandishly comical as a result), or just plain-old lazy anime-wacky (“it’s a man but actually a dog and a pervert! ha ha!”). It leaned way too much into the latter in the second episode, so it lost me.

  5. Grisaia source material is bad? And if you actually played the VN theres no Harem route its a Chara-ge

    • I actually did play the VN, for way too long – I’m very confident in saying the source material is bad. And it doesn’t need a harem route for the anime to be a harem.

    • Ronja should have aired the 11th. Haven’t seen any subgroups take it, witch is a shame.

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