Another review is out! This time I hit Chaika’s second half, which entertained me plenty in spite of its problems. Chaika definitely remained reliably entertaining this season, but it’s a shame it didn’t get the extra couple episodes it needed to really nail the dismount. Maybe a little rejiggering of the Gaz’s Island arc could have also made space for a proper conclusion… but who knows. Either way, at least we’ll always have all those wonderful Chaika gifs.
I had to stretch to get a top 10 this year. I’m ready to admit that. Last year, it was easy – in fact, it was too easy, and I ended up expanding my list to twelve shows basically by necessity. But this year didn’t have quite the top shelf of 2013, and so concessions had to be made. There are certainly a couple notable absences here, with I’m guessing the biggest ones being Kill la Kill, Space Dandy, and maybe Nozaki-kun. The reason for those absences is simple – I didn’t like any of those shows very much. If you’re looking for a general “all the shows that enjoyed positive appraisal among the kinds of people who make a point of appraising shows,” I’m guessing all three of those would be included, but this is my list, and I’m gonna talk about what I wanna. (Incidentally, if you are looking for a list like that, my fellow critics at ANN all contributed their own top five lists to this recent retrospective – and that’s all shows that started in 2014, so even my list over there is pretty different). My list may be a little shorter this year, but it’s still got some real gems, and considering three of the year’s best shows aren’t included simply because they aren’t finished (Shirobako, KimiUso, and Parasyte), I’d say we made off okay. Let’s run it down!
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!
Pretty killer episodes this week, at least from the top shelf. KimiUso, Shirobako, and Parasyte all turned in stellar performances, Chaika kept up the dramatic intensity from last week, and Log Horizon suddenly decided to toss off one of the best speeches I’ve seen. The other episodes were middling, but the season’s looking strong as we move into the endgame. Look forward to a pretty stupid amount of content over these next couple weeks – I’m planning on participating in the 12 Days of Anime posts (one post a day for the twelve days leading up to the 25th) along with all my usual review shenanigans, my top shows of the year post will follow that, and even ANN might have some kind of bonus piece to contribute. I hope this is what you want, internet. This is all the blood I have!
Alright, enough of that. Let’s run down some cartoons.
This was kind of a slow week overall, outside of nuts-good episodes from usual highlights Shirobako and KimiUso. Although both Chaika and Fate Stay Night also pulled out very fun episodes, Rage of Bahamut and Amagi were kind of subdued, and the bottom tier of Log Horizon and SAO both fell below average. But I mean, I’ve had seasons where I was happy to see one show keeping it together… I should probably be able to take it in stride when only four of the six shows I really like put out top-notch episodes. And this was the first great Chaika in a while, a very important Chaika in fact, so let’s start right there. Running it down!
Anime got pretty heavy this week, you guys. Between Shirobako and KimiUso, things were altogether a little too real in the land of Japanese cartoons. That’s how I like it, though – the sharp stuff is what I watch media for, and you can’t depict earnest triumph if you’re not willing to accept the possibility of failure. Pretty much everything else is holding steady, but my favorites are actively climbing at the moment, and it feels pretty goddamn great. Here’s hoping they both turn out to be as good as this week would promise.
There was no Rage of Bahamut this week, but everything else kept up the year-saving tempo. KimiUso exchanged last week’s animation showcase for a more subdued but equally impressive character-focused episode, Shirobako gave us moe animation tsunderes, and Amagi pulled off another Haruhi-style triumph. But the real surprise this week was Sword Art Online – following on the heels of a fairly pointless filler arc and tedious exposition episode, SAO pulled out what was quite possibly its best episode of all time, and almost definitely its best fight of all time. Even if you don’t watch SAO, I might still recommend just checking out the second half of that episode if you enjoy fight scenes – the direction and animation were all kinds of impressive this time. You did good, Sword Art.
Anyway. Let’s run down the week!
It’s that time again! Forget earnest textual critique, emotional reflection, or thematic exploration, it’s time to PUT SHIT IN A LIST WOOOO. This season has offered us a ridiculous bounty of shows, and I’ve responded in kind by ruthlessly punishing anything that fails to continuously dazzle my senses. I dropped Garo, I dropped Grisaia, I dropped Inou Battle… at this point, it’s pretty likely I’m even dropping Psycho-Pass (I’ve stalled on watching the latest episode, so I left it off the list). In spite of that, this season continues to offer a hefty pile of top-tier shows, all of them jockeying for that storied number one spot. Who gets the spot? Why, it’s motherfuckin
Not much to report – this season is very easily the best of the year, pretty much every show I’m invested in is putting out stellar episodes, and I’ve dropped almost everything I’m not enjoying. At this point, the only real hanger-on is actually Psycho-Pass – I feel kind of committed to finishing it, but I’m not really enjoying the stuff it’s doing. On the other hand, KimiUso, Bahamut, Shirobako, Parasyte – any of them could comfortably be the best show of another season, and none of them show any sign of falling apart. It’s a good time to cartoon.
With two more shows dropped this week, it’s looking like I’m finally approaching some kind of sustainable schedule. Thursdays are still goddamn ridiculous, and who knows if I’ll ever catch up on Mushishi, but the weekend is starting to look kind of manageable at this point. All the shows I’m most enjoying are still extremely impressive – Shirobako, KimiUso, FSN, and Bahamut all put out possibly their best episodes this week, and Parasyte held pretty steady. Let’s run them down!