Continued from Part Two.
Nobunagun is definitely one of my favorite anime this season. The original manga comes from the manga magazine Comic Earth Star, which is relatively new and obscure. The few anime that have been adapted from titles in the magazine have mostly been average or below average (the worst offender being pupa, which I will talk about later in this post). The premise is a bit strange: For centuries, a weird combination of Kyubey and a robot bear(?) has been approaching famous historical figures and asking them to put their DNA into little balls. Now, in the present day, a bunch of teenagers who hold the genes of those historical figures for whatever reason react with those balls to get cool powers and fight an evil and rapidly developing alien race. There are also both homosexual and heterosexual undertones, a large cast of strange characters based on various historical figures (including Oda Nobunaga, Mahatma Gandhi, Jack the Ripper, Isaac Newton, and many others), and really awesome action scenes.
The show is animated by Bridge (Mitsudomoe, Devil Survivor 2: The Animation), which has only ever made the two aforementioned titles. Mitsudomoe is a cheap copy of Kodomo no Jikan, and DeSu 2 is one of the worst anime of 2013, one of the worst years for anime in general since the beginning of the modern age of anime. With such a short and unimpressive resume one would wonder how Nobunagun could be good. However, it excels in almost every way: The characters and their interactions are fun and interesting, the story lines are well-developed, the enemy aliens are constantly evolving and never get boring, and the humor is rich. Even the animation is creative; it takes on a relatively different style than most anime this decade, and some of the sequences are very suited to the mood and provide a good feel for what is going on. I personally look forward to this anime every week more than any of the other ones this season (not counting KILL la KILL, but for that I mostly look forward to the threads about it online).
- Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren
Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren, or Chuu2Koi Ren, is the second season of Kyoto Animation’s popular 2012 anime. There was also a recap film of the first season in Fall 2013, which I watched and wrote about here. I don’t want to repeat myself too much from that last post, but I will say again that KyoAni’s work since they began adapting light novels from their own label is not nearly as good as their previous work.
However, while Chuu2Koi may never be as good as KyoAni’s previous works, it is still very good. It, while not the first anime to feature the concept of chuunibyou, may be the first to show it in a slice-of-life scenario; The main character, Yuuta, has “graduated” from his chuunibyou phase, but as he enters high school he is suddenly surrounded by those who haven’t yet given it up. What follows are wacky high school antics, some drama, and some romance. These were all very strong points of the first season. But does the second season live up to that?
The short answer is, no it doesn’t. Problems causing the drama in the first season have been completely resolved, leaving the writer with a difficult task: thinking of a new problem. This comes in the form of new character, Shichimiya. She is introduced early on as a potential new love interest for Yuuta, but this plot is quickly cast aside. Even I can’t tell what’s going to happen now; Most of the season so far has been episodic, so I don’t foresee a very strong story developing. The short stories portrayed in each episode are fun in general, however. The comedy, while sometimes working, often feels unfunny. Overall, while it is enjoyable to watch, Chuu2Koi Ren honestly doesn’t have all too much going for it, especially after a relatively strong first season.
Pupa (stylized as pupa in all lowercase letters) is almost a crime against humanity. Based on a fairly good manga, pupa had the misfortune of being adapted into an anime by Studio DEEN, famous for the offensively bad adaptations of Fate/Stay night and Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (though Higurashi seemed to get better over time), and making dozens of other sub-par to bad shows including this season’s Sakura Trick. I had been looking forward to this anime for many months. It was initially announced to air in Autumn 2013, and after it failed to air no more news was given about it until very close to the start of the Winter 2014 season. I was still hopeful; maybe the extra time was to make it better (as is usually the case with video games and movies). As time went on, I became less and less optimistic. I tried to remind myself that even DEEN has made great shows, but the moment I heard that each episode would only be four minutes long, I had given up hope that it could be even remotely good. When it aired, I knew that DEEN had failed the anime fandom once again. The show is basically the story of a girl who has become a man-eating monster and her brother that tries to protect her and find a way to change her back. The anime adaptation mostly consists of the girl literally eating parts of her brother (that grow back for whatever reason) to stay alive, flashbacks to the siblings’ past, and some creepy scientists that want to capture and study both of them. The only way I can enjoy this is watching it with buddies. I don’t know exactly how they feel about it, but I think that we all agree that it’s absolutely stupid.
Thank you, Studio DEEN. I will have another bone to pick with them later when I do talk about Sakura Trick.
That concludes the third part of my thoughts on Winter 2014 anime. 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.