Fall 2014 – Week 11 in Review

This was a somewhat hit or miss week in animeland, with the usual top tier turning in great episodes, but everyone else varying from solid to blargh. Amagi Brilliant Park, Chaika, and Bahamut are looking like they’ll fall somewhere under my initial expectations, the top four of Shirobako, KimiUso, Parasyte, and FSN are all keeping it together in solid form, and the MMO contingent are both doing their best to end the season on a high note. Let’s see what we got!

Parasyte 11: Kind of a grab bag of scenes this week, but most of them ranged between fairly to very entertaining, so I can’t complain. Kana’s crazy dream was great, as was her incredibly misguided romcom adventure in the first act, and that brutal fight scene halfway through put most shows’ action direction to shame. I wasn’t the most enthusiastic about Shinichi’s date (we’ve been over that material a few times now, and Parasyte isn’t really a show that rides on romantic tension), but the ending was certainly a nice twist. Parasyte chugs merrily along.


Amagi Brilliant Park 11: Amagi might not have earned an emotional resolution, but it can certainly sell a dramatic arc. This episode was fairly joke-light, but still entertaining, as the immediate conflict of Kanye trying to scrape together those last fifty thousand was pretty compelling stuff. It certainly wasn’t a highlight, and at this point it’s looking like Amagi will ultimately be a somewhat inconsistent and obviously trifling show, but I’m still pretty fine with the ride.

Amagi Brilliant Park

Shirobako 10: Things were both focused and fun in this week’s Shirobako. Aoi’s visit to the effects studio was a wonderfully surreal bit of education and comedy that really hammered in the strength of “Shirobako neutral.” Some shows kind of have to be constantly throwing new things at the audience to keep working – like Amagi Brilliant Park, where the fundamentals of the characters and narrative are pretty flat, so it rides entirely on exactly how funny and fast-paced each new episode is. But Shirobako doesn’t have to dance for us – it’s fundamentally entertaining, has a great cast, and is always presenting compelling ideas. Shirobako doesn’t have to rely on its highlights to be a good thing.

Not that this episode didn’t have highlights. The scene where the director finally finished the storyboards was great, Honda staring down the twin paths of moe and cakes was fantastic, and the show is effectively using Misa’s career woes to reflect on the anxieties of almost the whole cast. Things are going as well as ever in Shirobako land.

Incidentally, I might have maybe drunk-watched this episode and livetweeted half of it, so if you want a slightly less considered interpretation of this episode, I’ve included those ramblings at the bottom of this week’s post!


Fate/Stay Night 10: Goddamn are this show’s Big Episodes a lot of fun. Last week’s downtime was well paid for this week, with a fight that’s up there among the best yet. The show’s theatrical storytelling is only getting more, well, cartoonish over time, but that totally works for the kind of story this is, and the execution makes any amount of vaguely plotted or self-indulgent storytelling worthwhile. Fate/Stay Night is actually better at what it is than what Fate/Zero was at this point – that show had a clear disconnect in slow-building drama versus Grail War battles that actually made some of its fights kinda tedious, but FSN is all about justifying these fights, and keeps its story to the fundamentals of a very small number of characters developing and bouncing off each other. And the show is just damn beautiful, and the fights have a great sense of weight in spite of their fantastical nature, and the episodes generally just fly by. FSN is tremendous popcorn. Hell, let’s do one of the best little exchanges – combo-reversal!

Fate Stay Night [HorribleSubs] Fate Stay Night - Unlimited Blade Works - 10 [720p].mkv_snapshot_14.47_[2014.12.16_18.58.17] [HorribleSubs] Fate Stay Night - Unlimited Blade Works - 10 [720p].mkv_snapshot_14.48_[2014.12.16_18.58.24]

Sword Art Online II 23: The arc ended well! God damnit, the arc ended well. Asuna and Yuuki actually had some great personal conversations, the tragedy wasn’t overplayed, and Asuna’s final confrontation with her mom was handled with some real subtlety and beauty. The aesthetics were on point this episode, and even the writing was fine. You can’t keep surprising me like this, SAO.

Sword Art Online

Log Horizon II 11: We got the actual raid battle this week, which was pretty fun. A whole lot of “we’re all one character” communal speechifying, but the heavy helping of specific raiding details made this a pretty enjoyable episode overall. The Shiroe arc has been more consistently good in general than the Akatsuki material, and I’m hoping that holds true through next week’s big confrontation.

Log Horizon

Rage of Bahamut 10: I have to say, I’m fairly sure my Bahamut honeymoon has ended at this point. This episode contained plenty of stuff happening, but I just didn’t feel grabbed by it like I was in the first half. The slow middle episodes certainly hurt – Bahamut’s always been a show riding largely on momentum and execution, and so bogging it down with episodes that are both slow and less aesthetically impressive really hurts. But I also just don’t care that much, I guess?

Favaro and Kaisar are a pretty endearing pair, Rita’s awesome in her own way, but Amira is just a kid, and I don’t really care about her story. Bahamut is also very much a Hollywood action movie narrative, meaning its turns are much more Stuff Happening than cohesive twists, so my response to the introduction of Martinet is mainly “oh, I guess you’re the villain now.” Not that I’m against Martinet – his crazy vamping was probably the best thing about this episode. But overall, I just don’t really share the enthusiasm I was seeing online about this week’s Bahamut – the show’s beginning to feel like an obligation for me. We haven’t seen anything like zombies fighting mermen while being swallowed by a giant enemy crab in half a season now, and that’s the kind of stuff I thought this show was promising.

Rage of Bahamut

Chaika -avenging battle- 10: Welp, there goes Chaika. This definitely ended “correctly,” in that all the pieces were used in the way they pretty much had to be, but the overall thing felt kinda underwhelming to me. Partially because it was rushed – we’ve had maybe three episodes of buildup, but virtually all the conflicts the show had been building were forced to resolve in two minutes or less. Partially because earlier stuff was rushed – Niva being used as a deus ex machina (“I have personality” she declares, fooling no-one) would have seemed hackneyed regardless, but the tiny amount of time Niva’s had in general made it even more tenuous. And partially because the themes just didn’t really go anywhere – I knew they wouldn’t, but it was still kinda disappointing to finish this with such a binary villain. Still, the fight scenes were nice as always, it was fun seeing all the heroes team up, and the show didn’t actually shoot itself in the foot or anything. In the end, Chaika’s definitely more endearing than it was good, which makes me sad it wasn’t a little bit better overall.

Hitsugi no Chaika

KimiUso 10: Holy god damn what can I even say to this. This episode was just… gah. Gorgeous shots, one after another, perfectly articulating all the anxiety and longing this entire show’s been building towards. The first half was a beautiful elaboration of Kousei’s lingering pain, the second half a glorious release. This show is so damn heavily based in its aesthetics, and anything I could say to articulate what makes them great would seem trivial, overly simplistic in the face of their own beauty. So I’ll let them do the talking – let’s show off some of the gorgeous shots that made this episode such a grand resolution to Kousei’s search for individual meaning in his art.

[HorribleSubs] Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso - 10 [720p].mkv_snapshot_04.29_[2014.12.11_22.06.46] [HorribleSubs] Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso - 10 [720p].mkv_snapshot_06.07_[2014.12.11_22.11.05] [HorribleSubs] Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso - 10 [720p].mkv_snapshot_06.29_[2014.12.11_22.11.35] [HorribleSubs] Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso - 10 [720p].mkv_snapshot_07.08_[2014.12.11_22.13.38] [HorribleSubs] Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso - 10 [720p].mkv_snapshot_10.49_[2014.12.11_22.19.57] [HorribleSubs] Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso - 10 [720p].mkv_snapshot_10.50_[2014.12.11_22.19.46] [HorribleSubs] Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso - 10 [720p].mkv_snapshot_11.31_[2014.12.11_22.20.41] [HorribleSubs] Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso - 10 [720p].mkv_snapshot_11.57_[2014.12.11_22.21.16] [HorribleSubs] Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso - 10 [720p].mkv_snapshot_15.19_[2014.12.11_22.25.17] [HorribleSubs] Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso - 10 [720p].mkv_snapshot_18.21_[2014.12.12_02.07.54]

I’d say each of those pictures is worth a few thousand words. What a thing.

Anyway. Here’s drunken Shirobako rambling!

7 thoughts on “Fall 2014 – Week 11 in Review

  1. Yea last week episode of Chaika had given some hopes that the ideas would go somewhere. But it kind of just ended without giving any attention to them.. Also that Niva side-change happened so fast like you said. Enjoyed Toru class change though, it was very rpg like with gear and abilities switch, though that armor was dumb especially with that random back tail. Also he kind of just overpowered his brother so the whole ”you found your true path” resolution they were trying to shoehorn in since the last few episodes just felt really awkward (I mean the fight wasn’t reflective of what they attempted to say about him leaving behind his past code for new ideals).

    • Yeah, it seemed clear that they cut a great deal of content from the light novels in a way that was actually detrimental to the adaptation. A shame they didn’t get a full season’s worth of episodes again…

      • The anime actually had an original ending written by the LN author. I hope the LN ended a bit more coherently with less rush. Maybe someday there will be a translation I can read.

  2. Sure does make me happy that my top picks of Shirobako, KimiUso, and Parasyte are all continuing next season. Sometimes I just really like anime.

    I’m with you on feeling disappointed about Bahamut though. I was really enjoying that show initially but now it’s just kinda alright. I don’t really care much for the story and honestly it’s been hard to follow. And I don’t know if it’s just me, but the way the show is shot doesn’t seem as big or as flashy anymore. Like, the action went from high quality Western styled to just your regular anime stuff. I’m not really well educated in that area so I can really pinpoint what the change is and it’s just a gut feeling, but it still doesn’t feel as BIG to me anymore.

    • I agree with you on Bahamut’s framing. I think a bit of it comes down to pacing, but the show just isn’t elevating its material nearly as well as it did in the early episodes.

  3. I honnestly wasn’t that big on KimiUso at the start, but since the start of the concours, we had one amazing episode after another.

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