Summer 2015 Anime

July 1, 2015

Here is my list of Summer 2015 anime series that look interesting


 

– Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace

Mysterious murders solved by middle school kids. Either an homage to, or based on the works of the author Edogawa Ranpo, a respected mystery novelist who died 50 years ago.

– Overlord

Fantasy setting and an interesting idea, in that the main character looks like a giant skeleton and he wants to take over the world.

– Gate

People from our world take tanks and guns through an inter-dimensional gate to explore a magical world. Not sure what to make of this, but I always check out shows with a fantasy setting.

– The Red-headed Snow White (Akagami no Shirayuki-hime)

Another fantasy setting (!) and there are some interesting ideas here, too. Snow white is a doctor.

It's a cold, processed, almost colorless world, but people still reach out to one another in My Teenage Romantic Comedy is SNAFU 2.

It’s a cold, processed, almost colorless world, but people still reach out to one another in “My Teenage Romantic Comedy is SNAFU 2”.

When word came that Yanagi Nagi was going to work with Round Table for the OP to the second season of Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru, I was pretty excited to hear the results. Nagi has a great voice, and Round Table is an awesome band, but they need a vocalist for people to realize what they can do. They did a great number backing Maaya Nakamoto a few years back, but their big hits are back in the “featuring Nino” period.

I also like the visual treatment, that features a limited palette and a lot of graphic textures. The following two images show how the graphic treatment and limited palette is used in contrast to periodic moments that might represent those times in Hikigaya’s life when people manage to crack through the stony facade he has constructed.

BEFORE: Hikigaya's desaturated, cold life is about to be interrupted.

BEFORE: Hikigaya’s desaturated, cold life is about to be interrupted.

AFTER: the brief moment when Hikigaya connects with another person, bring warmth and color into his life.

AFTER: the brief moment when Hikigaya connects with another person, bring warmth and color into his life.

Kaori with violin

Kaori with violin

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso was a challenging show to watch at times, but it certainly had its charms. There is a saying about Ludovico Ariosto, that he loved the characters he wrote about in Orlando Furioso, and thus he watched over them, like a benevolent god. Unfortunately the gods of Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso are anything but benevolent; they seem to enjoy tormenting their characters. Watchers of Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso should be emotionally prepared for tragedy and drama, but there are some very beautiful moments as well.

Personally, the thing that drew me to this show was the role that music would play. There are shows that purport to be about music in some way, but that don’t take that part of the setting seriously. I can happily say that Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso delivered here. The show included major performances that were built up in previous episodes. Often there is a lot of talking over the performance, either by observers who explain hidden layers in what they are hearing, or sometimes flashbacks are played out, but, in the final episode the music of the performance is allowed to fully command our attention for most of about nine minutes.

Was Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso worth watching? It kept me engaged, even though it could feel emotionally manipulative at times. If the setting of the world of pre-professional musical performers intrigues you, it does deliver. In the end, it probably comes down to your tolerance for teary story lines; if you enjoy being on an emotional roller coaster, this is a good choice for you. If you are looking for light-hearted comedy, this show should be avoided.

Aoi Miyamori of the Musashino Animation company.

Aoi Miyamori of the Musashino Animation company.

Although Shirobako looked, at first glance, like another “cute girls doing cute stuff” show, it turned out to be a great series about the trials and triumphs of working in the animation industry. The characters are entertaining, and the situations might prove familiar to people regardless of the industry in which they work.

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Oda Nobunaga embraces his wife, as the difficulties of the Sengoku Jidai threaten to overwhelm them.

Oda Nobunaga embraces his wife, as the difficulties of the Sengoku Jidai threaten to overwhelm them.

Nobunaga Concerto is a bit behind the rest of the shows airing this season; episode three is out now, however, and it does seem that it is trying to be something unusual. Most series based upon the conceit that a high school student that has slipped back in time to the Sengoku “Warring States” period (in this case about the mid-1500s) are light in tone, and often comic, but Nobunaga Concerto takes a different approach, both to animation (which involves motion capture and rotoscoping), and to the story, which is more serious.

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A quick post about how I think the season is going. In my first post on the Summer 2014 anime season, I listed several shows that had caught my eye based essentially on the first episode. We are now up to the third episode of most shows, and that gives a better sense of how what a show is like, so I am revisiting that list to see how it has changed. Most shows are holding up well, one is not performing as well as I had hoped, and a couple of other shows have managed to impress me.

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Summer 2014 includes some shows about artisans at work, including Barakamon.

Summer 2014 includes some shows about artisans at work, including Barakamon.

All of the Summer 2014 season anime series have premiered, so it is time for a quick post on what looks good so far. This is essentially based upon first episodes (some shows have had a second episode already), so things can still change quite a bit, but as of now, here are the shows that still look promising to me.

The shows:

  • Aldnoah Zero
  • Barakamon
  • Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun
  • Glasslip
  • Rail Wars!
  • Zankyou no Terror

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