I was actually looking forward to the Winter 2014 anime season, and there seemed to be a lot of hype surrounding some of the new shows. Sadly, some of these shows ended up being very disappointing. Overall the season suffered a weak start but as time went on some shows proved themselves to be worth waiting every week. Starting by air date:
- KILL la KILL
Undoubtedly the most popular airing anime since it started airing last October, Studio Trigger’s first TV anime (They previously produced the Inferno Cop ONA and the Little Witch Academia short film) has already become a hit, at least here in America. There are a couple key things that have made KILL la KILL popular. Those things are the action and the fanservice, and both are prominent and over-the-top, which is sensible considering that it’s being directed by Imaishi Hiroyuki (previously having directed Dead Leaves, Tengen Toppa Gurenn Lagann, and Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt). Sadly, KILL la KILL is the weakest thing Imaishi has ever worked on, and there are many evident problems with it, but for now I’ll just say that I feel it suffered from an extremely weak first half. However, starting with episode 14 and continuing to the present with episode 20 that aired on Thursday, it suddenly became entertaining. It still suffered from some of the same problems as before (i.e. not even trying to cover for having almost no budget), at least now it isn’t boring. I find myself anticipating each episode, which is something I haven’t felt for most of this season’s other shows (Though apparently Samurai Flamenco evokes a similar feeling. I’m considering marathoning it before the final episode). Ignoring for now how much I disliked the first half, KILL la KILL is one of my top anime for this season.
- Saikin, Imouto no Yousu ga Chotto Okashiinda ga. (ImoCho)
This is a strange show. Already gaining a place on ANN’s The List: 7 Strangest Harem Set Ups, the anime is about a highschool girl who, after getting a new step brother, is suddenly contacted and harassed by a ghost who must bone the brother in order to enter Heaven. The premise is already ridiculous. Even so, I started watching this anime expecting nothing more than pointless otaku pandering and lame humor. So did everyone else, apparently- HorribleSubs named their release of the show’s first episode [HorribleSubs] ImoCho – Another Shitty Sister LN Adaptation – 01 (They changed “LN” (Light Novel) to “Manga” in subsequent releases after realizing that it was indeed adapted from a manga). Lining up with most people’s expectations, the first few episodes were representative of a shitty sister LN/manga adaptation (Titles in this genre include OniSuki, OniAi, and NakaImo, all of which are irredeemably terrible). The signs were there, though: For example, the main character was not the generic male, but the rather interesting female lead. As the weeks went on, ImoCho slowly but surely stopped taking itself seriously, and while still containing pretty good plot elements, essentially became a parody of itself. And the thing I like most about this show is: It’s actually funny.
Space Dandy is proof that pretty much anything can get massive amounts of hype just by slapping the right name on it and giving it the right advertising. I was hyped myself after hearing that Watanabe Shinichiro (known most for Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo) would be the director and that BONES (known for both adaptations of Fullmetal Alchemist, Eureka Seven, Darker than Black, Soul Eater, and never animating a decent sequel series) would be animating it. However, as I watched the world premiere on Toonami (one of the few times I threw away my pride and watched a dubbed anime), I realized that it wasn’t that good. I could tell it was supposed to be a comedy; However, it was a very weak comedy. Thinking it to be a pitfall of the English dub, I watched the Japanese version the next day. I laughed a bit more than I did the previous night, but it still sucked. But, I kept watching both versions every week, and eventually, there was a good episode! I’m not going to describe what it was that suddenly made it good at the moment, but since then Space Dandy has had a strange fluctuation of some really good episodes and some really not good episodes. At the time of writing there is still no official confirmation on whether it will run for 13 episodes or if it will for any more than that, but if it does end up being only 13 the team over at BONES had better get their act together fast. As things stand, I can’t see this show making waves across myself, much less the world, which it looks like they were aiming for. In my opinion, while the show has its moments and a few really good episodes, it will more than likely be dismissed into mediocrity by the general fandom (though I’m sure some reviewers are going to be very busy praising it for things like “taking risks” and airing in America before Japan). I really hope it gets better, because I kind of want to like this show.
That concludes the first part of my thoughts on Winter 2014 airing anime. This season I’ve been watching 16 airing anime including 2 that I’ve dropped, so that means there’s still 5 parts to go. Thank you for reading!
To learn more about any of the shows I’ve mentioned, try searching for their names on Google, or using a database like AniDB or MyAnimeList.