Final impressions

Weekly Roundup – Winter 2014 final impressions – 2/2

Shows discussed: Kill la KillNoragami; Sakura Trick.

Kill la Kill – 23 & 24

Kill la Kill 24

I could not watch it in one sitting. Somewhere in the middle of the second (24th) episode, I had to stop: I could not bear the thought of finishing the series. It wasn’t just good. It was as closer to being perfect than any anime this season; duh, perhaps it was an action series I enjoyed the most since Cowboy Bebop. The series had its problems, its slower moments, but from ~18ep onwards it was pure enjoyment. And the finale did not disappoint.

I like when a series has an ending towards which it has worked for a whole season. As in: the plot doesn’t end rapidly, hurriedly (like Chuunibyou Ren), or the ending is just a formality, but the story could as well go on (to some extent Noragami). I like a strong sense of completion. (Or a complete lack of ending, like in many 4-koma slice-of-life adaptations). Kill la Kill delivers a perfect one. The story has ended. It could not end in any different way. No, scratch that: from the perspective of 22 episode, before I watched the last two, it could end anywhere. But no matter what ending there’d be, it’d be story-wise logical, probably.

Kill la Kill 24

Of course, besides well executed, extended, slow and intense ending, there was plenty of everything that makes KLK such a pleasure to watch. Everyone was included here, everyone got their screen time. Nui was so awesomely terrific. Mako’s exaggerated expressions were even better than they used to be. It was fun to watch her usual cut-in scene, even though she was unable to move. Nudist Beach double-mecha was so unexpected, yet so great. Ragyo was evolving and evolving with no end in sight, and so did Ryuko – can we just admire how super-saiyan she was at one point? And yet they ended up bare, quiet, just talking.

Another thing that worked well (just as usual, really) was how diverse in art stylization these episodes were. I am still utterly thrilled about how raw the animation looks, and yet how amazingly it is executed. And yet, despite this simplicity, there were color blooms and there were monochrome palettes; there were eye candy scenes and there were Evangelion-like sketched drawings. Blew my mind. Oh, and I took like hundred screenshots, and every one (really! I’m not exaggerating) is terrific. I don’t know who their visual director is, but this person should be given a medal.

TRIGGER is making some rom-com upcoming season, aren’t they? I’m gonna watch every damn bit of that one.

Kill la Kill 23

Noragami – 11 & 12

Noragami 12

I liked this one! Even though I approached it with a rather bad attitude, after the OP it has changed. Besides the music being plain good, there are scenes in there that make me for a second believe that Noragami is more serious than it actually is, and I’d like it to be that way.

This is something I very much dislike in the series. It’s as if it didn’t know who the intended audience is. Are they young adults? Teens? The way it is, if I want to watch similarly peculiar mix of seriousness and silliness, I’d much rather watch Kill la Kill, which does it properly. But when Noragami tries to intertwine humor and drama, the outcome is below my expectations. I’m sorry, all you Yato fans out there, but I can’t stand watching really well made drama scenes (half of Hiyori’s stuff this week) being torn down by repetitive use of the same silly faces. It’s a shame. I don’t mind mixing seriousness with humor, but it has to be done well.

Oh, I liked how Rabou’s character finally got the reason for existence. It’s to some extent curse of every (spare Yato) deity of the show: they are existent in the world, and with that much part in the plot that they got, I wouldn’t mind them being more properly explained.

I wouldn’t mind a second season… Granted they’d focus on what makes Noragami good, rather than Yukine’s issues.

Sakura Trick – 11 & 12

Sakura Trick 12

I didn’t expect much, and I got what I wanted to get. Mitsuki realized her feelings for Haruka, which was foreseeable, however her blunt proposal to go out together was quite surprising. I’m glad it happened. I have to say that after the end of 11th episode first half I was starting to get bored, but her walking on Haruka and Yuu kissing stirred things up just enough to watch it to the end.

I don’t understand, and I did not like, the sudden naivety of Haruka’s response to Mitsuki’s proposition. I’m pretty sure that most of anime fans understand the ambiguity of the ‘suki desu’ phrase. While it could be taken as a purely non-romantic fondness, I’m pretty sure Haruka could not misinterpret Mitsuki’s words. Especially followed up with a question to go out with her. And I’m certainly not buying her unfamiliarity with that phrase, it’s like, basic common knowledge.

Anyway, with a happy, somewhat nostalgic ending the show delivered, I’ll remember it warmly for how well and subtly it managed to show relationship when it actually tried to do so, and probably never touch it again due to oversaturation with fillers and fanservice.

Part 1 (Chuunibyou Ren; Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha; Mikakunin de Shinkoukei) – here.

Weekly Roundup – Winter 2014 final impressions – 1/2

Shows discussed: Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren; Inari, Konkon, Koi IrohaMikakunin de Shinkoukei.

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren – 11 & 12

Chuunibyou Ren 12

Rather than angry, I’m frustrated. I can’t say this was a bad ending – it’s more that this was such a predictable finale, the series could have just as well not happened at all. In retrospection, it’s become clear long time ago that the studio is not actually interested in developing anything here. I clung to a feeble ray of hope that I might be wrong, but it did not get better.

The whole Shichimiya arc was the strongest point of the season for obvious reasons. Because of it the plot transcended from filler after filler episodes to something bigger than that. There was some deeper Sophia/Rikka antagonism, then friendship. There was drama.

Then it all has gone terribly wrong. Shichimiya was a person the whole series could’ve (or rather: should’ve) be built upon. I want to say that she lacked personality, but at the same time I don’t really feel it’s true. We did not get to know her well enough. But that’s the issue here – majority of what she brought to the show worked only in relation to Yuuta or Rikka. As a result, she was just as important to the story as were Nibutani or Dekomori. No, let me rephrase that – she was just as important to the outcome as them.

At the same time, the plot itself actually felt reasonable in the paradigm it worked in. It should have been so slow – it’s true to Rikka’s character. Or Yuuta’s, for the matter. They should have ended up together. With Shichimiya’s story rushed so much, any other option would be either unreasonable or inexplicable. But these reasons don’t change the fact that we got a sub-par, cavity-filled story. And worse than that, one that has been predictable from the very beginning.

Now I’m angry.

Chuunibyou Ren

I’ll probably be giving Chuunibyou a proper review later on, after I sort that stuff in my mind.

Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha – 10

Inari 10

Ugh, these fox spirits. They legs didn’t even move for half of the time.

Well, it was a fitting ending to the story. I’m glad they did not try to have a cake and eat a cake; however petty the plot was, it was coherent and well-developed.

Don’t you guys think that this show was better before Amaterasu and Uka’s brother and the rest of supporting gods was introduced? I’d enjoy this last episode much more if there was no Amaterasu in there, if it wasn’t her pulling the strings.

I’m sad I won’t probably hear Kyoto dialect for some time now…

Mikakunin de Shinkoukei (Engaged to the Unidentified) – 12

Mikakunin 12

A fitting finale to the series. There was more drama than usual, which probably had to be done to make the ending more impactful, but it was pretty good. True to what the series has become. I’m glad that I can now look back at the first episodes of Mikakunin, and say that Kobeni and Hakuya have grown up, have developed; so did my perception of them.

I wonder if this anime has passed the ‘memorability threshold’. It’s been fun, and there was some good drama moments; but there has also been much overall mediocrity. I guess Mashiro has made up for it. Kobeni’s character has been pretty distinct too, wasn’t she? I mean, where has there been a perfectly mediocre, non-magical girl around whom weird stuff suddenly happened? I don’t recall any recent series.

I’ll miss the OP and ED, these were one of my favorites this season. Check out the OP here!

 Ah well, I haven’t posted anything in over a week. I’ve a part-time job now, and there was a fantasy convention I had to be at last week, so I’m quite behind with stuff. I’ll sure pick up less series next season.

Part 2 (Kill la Kill; Noragami; Sakura Trick) – here.