Summer Season 2015 Final Impressions - Part 1

Summer Season 2015 Final Impressions - Part 1

Yay! So the Anime Summer Season 2015 has finally come to an end! There were a lot of interesting titles this season with their quirky plots, goofy characters, famous directors and clusterf*ck endings.
Yeah, I'm talking about Charlotte here. But this part isn't going to cover that so let's leave it at that. I've chosen all the lighter anime for the part one. I believe all of these were nice well rounded safe picks that were aimed at a specific audience and managed to measure up to expectations. In case you haven't guessed them yet from the picture above, here are the names :
       • Akagami no Shirayuki-hime
       • Gate : Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri
       • Himouto! Umaru-chan
       • Non Non Biyori Repeat

Akagami no Shirayukihime
Besides the unusual name (which initially piqued my interest), it felt like a fluffy shoujo through and through. Yes, the main character is a rather capable and strong woman who doesn't play the damsel in distress most of the time but I can't really say that this was a unique experience, at least not in a way I was expecting it to be. I skimmed through the whole thing pretty quickly and it had my attention for the whole time (i.e., I wasn't bored), but it never made me go "Aha! That was a good one". Let's just say it isn't memorable. Maybe it is just how it is with me and romance anime. I never seem to get too involved in them (No I don't have a cold heart)

Since this is a romance anime (and a shoujo at that), the main pair is supposed to be the prime focus, and it must stand out in some way or form to pull the viewer in and leave a lasting impression. And it felt a little lacking in that department. Sure, everything was good - the story with the classic knight in shining armor setting, a beautiful girl with a characteristic that makes her unique (the red hair), a prince who can do whatever the heck he wants but still has a few restrictions because he has an elder brother which makes for some good tense situations; everything works together but it felt like it lacked a certain charm that I was expecting. But that doesn't mean that I hated the series. After all, I did say that this is a safe pick.

So, the main female protagonist of our love story is quite likeable. And the good thing about her is that she is strong but she isn't a total tomboy either. Also, I liked how her red hair further helped her bold character because she would often get in trouble because of their unusual color. The male lead however was kinda stereotypical in nature. To be honest, nothing really stood out there for me. Still, it is a well rounded and quite an entertaining show. So I would say you can pick this up as a shoujo romance with a strong female character (I really wished that she would grow out her hair but she didn't).
Akagami no Shirayukihime Rating

GATE was an anime that caught me by surprise with the diverse amount of tones it colored itself with. Initially I thought this was going to be straight up Otaku pandering with loads of fanservice and that the whole military business would be left alone in the corner as a small sub-plot but interestingly enough, they kept juggling between these two providing a somewhat entertaining experience overall. The show isn't so serious despite loads of bloodshed, war and shrewd political tactics because the lighter tone that comes with the alternate world beings (elves, magical girls, loli goth godess) evens it out.

I must say that the main plot of the show moved at a very slow pace and even after season one, the whole thing seems pretty vague. I mean the guys were invaded by the people from the other side and they retaliated, but now what? Make peace and that's it? Who knows, maybe Itami will just end up with a huge harem of all kinds of mystical girls. Speaking of the main character, this is where the whole Otaku pandering shows itself. The guy is an Otaku who is lazy, doesn't like doing anything but read doujins/manga and play games but then later we realise that he is some super OP guy who has been in pretty much every kind of special military training. (A man can dream eh?)

Now, while the anime spent some time world-building and tackled the whole political situation regarding the gate phenomenon pretty skilfully, they kind of screwed their characters a little. Especially the main character Itami. To me he seemed less and less 'human' (human in the sense that I can imagine someone like him existing IRL) as the anime went on which just really left a sour taste in my mouth at the end (seeing how they were trying to deal with the situation realistically). I mean, the guy who says "I'm doing this job just to support my hobby" will never voluntarily put himself through the different kinds of tough military training (just once would be enough).

So, in the end, I'll say this : I definitely enjoyed watching the anime but I was a little disappointed. My overall recommendation is a maybe. Really depends on your taste.P.S. The names of some of the characters are just hilarious. e.g., Pina CoLada.
GATE Rating

Himouto! Umaru-chan
If you read my first impressions on this show then you know that the only reason I picked this show was because of the unusual characterestics and the popularity of it's main character - Umaru. And after sticking with it throughout the whole season, I think I can say this was a nice and enjoyable experience.
No, I'm not going to claim that himouto is the best girl or anything, but I can tell you that this show is worth a watch if you're not looking for something too serious. The show is catered to fill certain Otaku fantasies and it does that job perfectly. There is a main character who is popular, good looking, cute, charming, has excellent grades and gets doted on by everyone around her, but she's also a hardcore nerd who just really loves to laze around, play games, watch movies/anime, read manga/comics while munching on a heck load of snacks and chugging down a ton of cola. And the fact that no-one else besides her brother knows about this, adds a certain sense of adventure and excitement to the situation. But no it's not a show about her trying to desperately hide her geeky side, but rather it's about her everyday life as a closet nerd.

The formula of the show might look a bit cliche on paper but it works really well because of how relatable it is. Especially how the enormous amount of gags and situations are almost exactly the same as what most of us experience in our day-to-day life. I mean, we all know how hard it is to find the perfect order in which you have to eat all your snacks to get the optimum amount of satisfaction, not to mention that different kind of snacks go with different media (movies, anime or games). Not only that, all the video game/anime refrences throughout the show feel like a mini game and a little rewarding to figure out. The whole show just revolves around Umaru's day to day life as a two faced little sister and how she deals with these situations. It is light, relaxing and quite fun to watch. So, if you're looking for something that like, this show will be right up your alley.

The animation quality is good overall. Nothing phenomenal, but considering how much of a mess this summer season was production-wise, I give them points for keeping the quality consistent. And since this is a slice of life show, there's always a possibility for a second season.P.S. Even though there was a well endowed female character (Ebina), there weren't any jokes on her cup size. That surprised me a little. Just saying.
Himouto! Umaru-chan Rating

Non non Biyori Repeat
Ah! The same delightful cheery tale about a group of girls in a small village returns. This show brings warmth to my heart. To me Non non Biyori is one of those series that really make me wanna go live in a small village at the bottom of a mountain, grow my own food (farming) and just enjoy the peaceful life forever relishing in the beautiful scenery. The series is just so light and is full of these innocent gags that just make you giggle like a little girl saying "hehehe.. that's so cute. Awww!" Sure, the complete absence of any kind of testosterone (a guy) in the whole setup doesn't paint a good picture for guys. You're probably thinking, "this looks like a girly show". But trust me, it's not. It's just a bunch of grade schoolers having fun. Heck, it's even nostalgic to see them having pen fights and stuff.

Look, I have a bias towards this show (I really really like it), but it is for a reason. This is just a really well done slice of life anime. The animation is really good, with a bright color palette and the soundtrack is calm and relaxing which really suit the whole setting and tone of the anime. Not to mention the characters are just so adorable and it is a delight to watch them do stupid stuff. And the best part is, they don't do that over the top cute stuff really forcing the kawaii factor, it just all feels very natural. You can just sit down, relax and enjoy an episode or two a day without any hassle.

Now, as you may have already guessed, this is going to be in my best picks from Summer 2015 season, so go try out the season one if you haven't seen it before. And if you've already seen season one, what the hell are you waiting for?
Non non Biyori Repeat Rating

For an explanation of the Rating System, click here.

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