Saturday, May 10, 2014

Sensory Overload: Anime Spring 2014

For some unexplainable, lazy ass reasons, my list got delayed after 5 or 6 episodes. Although my original watch list comprises of 14 titles, I've decided to post only the top 10 series I'm watching this season, since the remaining 4 are more like filler shows to me - something to take my mind off of things. Although spring got better compared to winter (but only for a few notches), I think with the shows produced this spring - they are pretty much on the same level. The exceptional are outnumbered and the crap rules the boob tube, as usual. But as viewers, it's our job to discern the good ones from the bad ones, right? Surprisingly, there are more titles here made by lesser known studios, which gives a change of pace and variety for anime this season. 

1. Mushishi Zoku Shou (Artland, Inc.)
It's been many moons ago since one of the best made anime's graced our screens. Who knew it would made a comeback after a decade or so. After a special episode was aired early this year the report of its long overdue second season was announced afterwards, finally hitting our tube officially this spring.  Ginko at his best peripatetic self never ceases to amazed me. Each episodic stories are rich with mysteries, culture, folklore and myth, everything that is so mystifying about Japan and what we love about this series is still there. But it's the complex characters of Zoku Shou that makes this second season a journey of human study, our natural darkness that emanates from our desire towards the path of light.   

2. Isshuukan Friends (Brain's Base)
Heartwarming and cute are just the two words that comes to mind in describing Isshuukan Friends. I know it's going to be really, really dramatic along the way, based on my research about the manga. But there is something about this series that works for me and I can't put my finger on it. I guess it's human nature to want to make friends and this series shows us the joys, travails and innocence of friendship. 

3. Ping Pong: The Animation (Tatsunoko Production)
If I could sing a song for Peco I'll choose Ain't it Fun by Paramore because that's how he is as a character. Ping Pong got everything that a staple Masaaki Yuasa anime should be: unique style, superb storytelling, ugly animation. If the revolting animation turns you off and made you dropped this show in a jiffy I want you to reconsider because there is so much about Ping Pong than meets the eye and I mean that literally. 

4. Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii (Studio Pierrot)
It's a rare feat nowadays to find a really, really good Shoujo series, and I don't even like stories where the girl is older than the guy (believe me) but this one just makes my heart all giddy. 

5. Sidonia no Kishi (Polygon Pictures)
I detest CGI use for character's, it makes them look stiff and robotic for some reason. Just like Ping Pong, Sidonia no Kishi's minor flaw is its poor choice of animation, but I find the story (although it has striking similarities with Shingeki no Kyojin) especially the attempt on the concept as enjoyable and brave. What I love about science fiction are the futuristic theme of the stories, everything is beyond the realm of the impossible, laws are being shattered and taboos are broken. Although everything looks and sounds outrageous I definitely appreciate the attempt. 

6. Haikyuu!! (Production I.G.)
So far, there is no trace of the uber ridiculousness of KuroBas here, which is a good thing. The story is not really new as a sports genre, but the characters are lovable and I can't stop rooting for them. I have my favorites. Who are yours? 

7. Gokukoku no Bryndhildr (Arms Corporation)
There are shows that makes you want to vomit for their far-fetched ideas but Bryndhildr's over the top storyline doesn't take me there. I'm glued and I'm not taking things too seriously, which is exactly the point. 

8. Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin (A-1 Pictures)
Treasure hunting with a little bit of detective story, the rapport and chemistry between Jugo and Tensai is just one of the reasons I'm staying and loving this show. Let the shipping begins!

9. Baby Steps (Studio Pierrot)
Now I get the picture why this show is called Baby Steps. Ei-chan's slowly but surely aim on becoming a tennis player is so endearing. One moment he's like a deer in the headlights, the next second he's jotting down ideas on his notebook, learning things and surprising us peeps with how well he has improved. 

10. Captain Earth (Bones)
This is like a staple Bones mecha series if you ask me. There are elements of Eureka Seven (more AO than the original) and Star Driver here and there that it's not surprising if you can find references from those past series, may it be old characters, design and concept, like someone hit the refresh button or cut and paste it as a new show. Its weak first episode doesn't do this series any favor but as the story progresses we're getting all the fine meat that makes Bones one of the best working studios. 

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