Summer Season 2015 First Impressions - Part 1

Summer Season 2015 First Impressions - Part 1

As I was getting buried under the never ending backlog of "plan to watch" anime, I decided to take a look at the current season. With the return of some ghosts from the past (yeah I'm talking about the DBSuper series), there were some anime who caught my eye either with their intriguing premise, the reputation of their source material or because of their creators.
So, this season is looking promising but you never know. (Take last season for example - shows that started off with a bang but just couldn't keep the same standard till the end) Still, you can't help yourself when your favourite series from your childhood starts airing again or you see a really bizarre comedy manga getting an anime adaptation or see some big budget works.

Because I had my backlog to deal with, I picked all these out based on pure instinct. Here's the list (and why I picked them) :

     • Akagami no Shirayuki-hime (The title Snow White with the red hair sounded interesting)
     Charlotte (Because Jun Maeda and P.A. Works)
     Himouto! Umaru-chan (because of all those Umaru fanboys in the community)
    • Shimoneta (The premise is very interesting with the whole "A world where dirty jokes are banned" thing)
     Gangsta (the name and the premise)
     Gakkou Gurashi! (Lolis and horror seems interesting enough. Plus the name reminds me of Higurashi)
     Gate : Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri (A bunch of Otakus riding tanks in a fantasy land)
    • God Eater (Ufotable and their deep pockets. Some action eye candy)
     Non non Biyori (I loved season one)
    • Overlord (I always expect something from Madhouse)
    • Prison School (Because of the manga's reputation)
    • Rokka no Yuusha (Novel's reputation and the director Takahashi Takeo)

I know those weren't the best of reasons to pick these anime but hey, I like going with my heart and not be too analytical. (I know there's a lot of other series airing as well but I just don't have enough time to check out all of them. Plus I am a binge watcher, so I will probably save up a good series for later.) I have watched all the episodes that have aired so far for the above mentioned series and here are my thoughts.
So, let's get started.

Akagami no Shirayukihime
Akagami no Shirayuki-hime titled "Snow White with the red hair" in english, seems to be Japan's take on the classic story, but it only uses the name for publicity as it is fundamentally different from the original. Sure there might be references to the original here and there like a poisoned apple or the phrase "Mirror mirror on the wall...", but the main storyline is something entirely different. The story begins with our beautiful heroine, who has long bright red hair, spending her life comfortably working as a herbalist until one day a stupid Prince of the state sets his eyes on her. Dazzled by this beauty with the bright red hair, the prince decides to hoard this gem in his collection by trying to force her to be his mistress. Before she is confined to this fate of darkness and despair, she decides to go for the run, leaving some of her bright red hair behind and a bad taste in Prince's mouth. Pissed, by this act of defiance, the Prince decides to send a man to pursue and capture her. As luck would have it, she is rescued by a Prince from a neighbouring state, one who has more power and authority than the aforementioned 'idiot'. Our heroine then decides to go with this prince charming to his country and spend her life there trying to be a court herbalist.

Now, in all the three episodes that I have watched, the traditional 'damsel in distress' formula is used. The heroine gets herself in a bad situation and the prince comes at just the right time to save her. The only difference here is that the heroine, despite her fragile physical appearance, is a very determine woman with great mental strength. Meaning, that she isn't like your typical shounen anime female who just gives up after she is forced to submit to man's strength. Rather, she keeps on fighting and does manage to almost get herself out of those complicated situations, but she does require the Prince's assistance. After all, this is a shoujo anime, and a romance at that.

So far, everything is in the 'okay-ish' territory for me. The characters seem to be doing okay despite being a little stereotypical. For example, the Prince is your usual kind-hearted, strong and "I'm not interested in all this royal crap, I just wanna see the world" type and the female seems to give off a tomboy outside, soft gooey girl inside vibe.This is only the third episode in this 24 episode series. Yes, there is going to be a second season in 2016 so I hope they will flesh out all their characters. (Here's to hoping she grows her hair out) Good thing is, this is not such a fluffy shoujo so far, so you can safely try it if you like shoujo anime.

Charlotte
From the creator of Angel Beats! comes yet another Key anime about a bunch of highschool kids who have superpowers and a silver haired female lead with a tragic backstory. Charlotte revolves around a group of 5 students, all part of the student council of a school for 'gifted' students. They all have special abilities which allow them to do things like teleportation, possession, pyro-kinesis, telekinesis etc. As the anime emphasises, all these abilities are incomplete in one way or the other. Since, only a few people can use these abilities, if someone is caught by the authorities, they are subjected to some vigorous experiments which might leave them mentally and physically damaged, so much that they won't be able to live a normal life as these abilities disappear as they turn into adults. To protect these students, Hoshinoumi Academy was setup so that these gifted children wouldn't be caught and won't have to suffer a cruel fate. And it is the job of the Student Council to look for people with special abilities across the city and then either get them transferred to that school or convince them to not use their abilities in a way that will arouse suspicion. And last but not the least : Plot Twist, this is Angel Beats! season 2.

Okay, it's not a sequel for Angel Beats! but Jun Maeda's signature stuff is right there staring you in the face. I've already mentioned the female lead with a tragic backstory. And then there's the 'special' baseball match with a last minute turnaround. Putting all that side, the series hasn't done anything phenomenal so far. Yes, the concept is quite interesting as the 5 second limit on their abilities restricts them in a good way and forces them to use some clever strategies which is a good thing to watch, but they haven't been able to put up a good show so far. The comedy was really good in the first couple episodes but for the last two episodes, it went down. I know I'm being a little harsh here but that's only because I have expectations. It seems like they will follow a student of the week routine for a while to maybe develop their characters (I really hope they do) so they can give us a sad tear jerking ending. I'm all up for that as long as it doesn't seem forced.

So, if you're thinking of watching this, beware of the cliches and the protagonist's little sister, though the former is not so choking. At least the animation and the music in nice.

Gakkou Gurashi!
Before I even begin, let me get this out of the way first : The only reason I decided to pick this up is because the last time I saw a bunch of cute lolis with the word horror attached to the genre, I was blown away by the goodness that hit me with a cleaver. Yes, I am talking about Higurashi here. (Even the names rhyme with 'gurashi') I know expecting something like that from this is quite stupid but I can't do anything about my weak adolescent heart that is in love with the show that was nicknamed "Attack of the Killer Lolis.

So, studio Lerche brings us "Life with lolis after a zombie apocalypse" with a bunch of school girls that are now trapped in their own school after a zombie outbreak. Watching episode one, I was really wondering if I was gonna see zombies all blushing saying "It's not like I wanna eat you or anything... BAKA!" No, seriously, the anime has a really weak start with a really annoying character doing some annoying stuff in the beginning. It isn't only till the last minute of episode one till things get "real". I really thought the anime might adapt a more serious tone from that point on but it surprised me by how it is trying to maintain the contrast between the moe and the horror/mystery. I guess you could call this an all girls moe version of Highschool of the Dead without all the adrenaline pumping action, fanservice and the extraordinary boob physics.

I think the real fun is gonna start when they are gonna run out of supplies and will be forced to venture out to look for them. I can see this developing into an interesting show if they execute this thing properly and not try to ruin it with some cliche nakama stuff or something like that. Just hoping that they develop their characters nicely because right now Yuki is really giving me a hard time with her moe routine. I feel like patting her head... with a shovel! I know that the whole delusion routine is quite realistic considering the situation as the mind does get like that after a really traumatic experience but she really needs to snap out of it pretty soon or I'm gonna be really pissed.

So, everything is looking nice so far and I have some expectations from this. This might be my bias towards Higurashi speaking but this might be worth a watch this season. I'd suggest trying the first three episodes, it is quite interesting if you think about it.

GATE
"What would happen in a battle between a typical fully upgraded army from Age of Empires/Mythology (with it's mythological beasts like dragons, elves etc along with humans of course) versus the one from Rise of Nations? (with guns, tanks and missiles) The answer is : A one-sided slaughter. (Maybe I should call this Battlefield vs Warcraft?) GATE : Jietai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri on first look gives off an impression of a serious military show. Probably twisting the whole perspective making it difficult to decide which side is the "good" side. So, a mysterious gate just appears out of nowhere in the middle of a road and some ancient people who look like they're straight out of an strategy RPG come charging out screaming "Lok'tar O'gar motherf*ckers!" and start attacking the civilians. Coincidentally, our main 'Otaku' protagonist happens to be there and starts acting like a hero saving people. Turns out he is from the JSDF - Japan Self-Defense Force. Soon, the army gets there and the whole invading army is annihilated. Then all the big guys decide to return the favour by planning an invasion into the land beyond this mysterious gate. Our Otaku MC is awarded a certificate for his bravery and he is promoted as well. And then the invasion begins.

As expected, they are all waiting on the opposite side and our army skilled in the "Advanced Warfare" manages to fend of all attacks. And after everything has calmed down a little, they set out for a little recon into the nearby village. This is where all the Otaku stuff starts showing up with elves, magical girls, and gothic lolitas popping up. It might look a little serious in the beginning, but really it's just a bunch of Army Otakus walking around guns blazing singing their favourite anime openings hoping to find some of their Otaku fantasies(like cat-girls and magical girls) as they venture an unknown land in a fantasy world. It's basically a clever ploy by A-1 Pictures to grab the attention of the anime audience by satisfying their various subtle fetishes. I mean who wouldn't wanna go into a fantasy world where you're a boss and you find all the cuties from different species all over you. Eh?

The show looks okay so far, nothing too ground-breaking for me to get out of my chair and scream in joy. Looks like there is going to be a bit of a drama involving the politics and the people from the new world which might lead to the main character taking some drastic actions. I would have preferred if there was more blood in the series but since this is A-1 Pictures, who usually love making cute stuff with drama like Anohana or Shigatsu, I don't think I'm gonna have any satisfaction there. Though the animation quality is quite good so far. A thing that I noticed is that the people from the other world don't really speak the same language as the MC so there is a communication gap here. I think it might make for some hilarious situations. (Though that stab at 'Murica there.) This seems like an average show so far. So, pick this up if this seems like your thing. I am only going to watch maybe a couple more episodes before I finally decide whether I'm going to follow this for the whole season or not.

Himouto! Umaru-chan
Well... Why did I pick this up?? This is just basically your typical moe slice of life fodder that comes along every season. I'm sorry, but as much as I love slice of life, I didn't find this amusing at all. The anime is about a highschool girl who seems like a perfect creature on the outside (around school and such) but at home, she is just a lazy hardcore Otaku living with her older brother. So, Onii-chan gets harassed by the imouto for the sake of comedy every other episode with the imouto putting on a bunch of different cute menacing acts to have her way. (She turns into a mini chibi version of herself when she's at home/ acting out of the perfect character)

With every episode a new character comes into play and we get to see little miss perfect deal with it. The comedy is okay, nothing too hilarious. At least the artstyle hold its own. Despite all the gaming references in a slightly annoying opening, I don't think I'll be recommending this anytime soon. Sure, you can try it if you're a hardcore slice of life fan. But if you're looking for comedy, there are much better shows airing this season. And even for slice of life, there's Non non Biyori. I wouldn't say I was disappointed, I just don't feel like investing my time in this right now. (Because I have a huge backlog and all)

Non non Biyori
The second season of one of my favourite slice of life shows. This show is my salvation from all the frustrations and all the worries in life. This is one of those shows which is meant to be watched once a week (kind of like Mushishi, though the latter is just epic). As the name says, we are going back in time to see the whole thing again. Except that it's not repeated or anything, it's just that the clock is turned back to the time when Hotarun came to the village but we see different scenarios this time. If I confused you a little, don't worry, this show is not one to think about. Just lay back, relax and enjoy.

I will probably be following this series for the whole season simply because I like it. I know this is basically just your "typical moe-sh*t" if you were to get all serious about this. I just love the different feel that this show carries with it because of it's country setting and how it usually avoids all the curses of a typical Slice of Life anime (stuff like fanservice and the usual comedy routines). Seeing Renge, I always imagine that this is what Gin-san's daughter would probably be like.So, that's it for part 1 of the Summer Season 2015 first impressions. I will probably upload the part 2 in a couple of days. It takes time to scrounge the internet for all these images and plus I'm very lazy. Well, thanks for reading this so far. Also, I will only be following 5 series of the 12 that I mentioned above.

Part 2 is out. Click Here.

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