Winter 2015 Anime Season: First Impressions

Aldnoah Zero 02   Anatsu Kyoushitsu 03   Death Parade 03   The Idolmaster Cinderella Girls 01   Koufuku Grafitti 02   Maria the Virgin Witch 02   Rolling Girls 01   Saekano 03   Tokyo Ghoul Root A 02   Yuri Kuma Arashi 04

Another year, another anime season, another mixed bag…. There’s lots to choose from this time around, but what’s worth a watch? I am personally not being blown away by the offerings this season, but there are a few series that just might (maybe? possibly? am I just being optimistic because it’s a new year?) break out into something a lot greater, given a little time.

A couple notes: I am watching Durarara!!x2 Ten (and I’m enjoying it), but I really have to rewatch the first season because I can’t for the life of me remember anything from the first season. Oops.

And, because I didn’t want to waste time talking about the follow anime, I will say that I caught the first few episodes of Absolute Duo and Seiken Tsukai no World Break, and I don’t recommend watching them. Absolute Duo is very, very, very mediocre, while World Break is total trash.

And, as always, if you have any comments or recommendations on what this season has to offer, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

Aldnoah.Zero (Season 2)

Aldnoah Zero 03Aldnoah Zero 01

Pretty much more of the same from last season, except with more space battles. Actually, I’m enjoying it a reasonable amount, especially since I have lower expectations and the plot seems to be moving along in a tangible direction this time around. It’s still a bit predictable, but Slaine’s aggressive actions and plotting combined with Inaho, the super computer cyborg, have been fun to watch, if a bit silly and overly convenient at times. Obviously a must watch if you caught the first season.

First impressions: More of the same (actually a little better)…. but in space!
Verdict: Show me what you’ve got left, Aldnoah.Zero!

Anatsu Kyoushitsu (Assassination Classroom)

Anatsu Kyoushitsu 02Anatsu Kyoushitsu 01

I’m not really finding this anime about a class of misfit students tasked with killing their tentacled, smiley-faced teacher particularly interesting… Maybe it’s just not my thing, but I find the characters flat and boring. As for Koro-sensei, I guess he has some sort of sad/tragic backstory, but I wish he had moments of real darkness, showing just how scary he can be, in contrast to his generally cheery appearance (I mean, really scary, not like that little scene in episode 2). Anyways, if I hear/am told it’s good, I might pick this one back up and marathon it at a later date… but, until then, I’ll be passing on Assassination Classroom.

First impressions: I just… don’t care about anyone in this show.
Verdict: Class dismissed.

Death Parade

Death Parade 02Death Parade 04

Fun, mysterious, and suspenseful, I am really enjoying what I’ve seen so far of Death Parade. While I’m not so sure about the logistics or ethics behind the game playing and afterlife judging, I do like the atmosphere, even if it feels a bit contrived at times. I loved episode 3, and I’m looking forward to seeing where the series goes, but hoping that it doesn’t get repetitive or stale. I’d also love for more philosophical moments about life/death, as well as a bit more friction between the differing views and moral standpoints of our judges. On a side note, the OP is so fun to listen to.

First impressions: Mysterious, suspenseful, and interesting… hopefully it doesn’t end up repetitive.
Verdict: Let the games continue!

The iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls

The Idolmaster Cinderella Girls 03The Idolmaster Cinderella Girls 02

I really loved the original series from 2011, so I was pretty excited to see a new generation of cute idols take to the stage in Cinderella Girls… So, how does it compare to its predecessor? Well… I’m disappointed to say that so far it hasn’t matched up at all. My main gripe is with the pacing and the incredibly jarring shift of focus from 3 main girls to a whopping 15.

The story is also moving pretty quickly, with the girls in a concert by episode 3… I was hoping for a more gradual progression, seeing their struggles and setbacks before making progress on their idol careers, but all we got was a quick montage instead. Ultimately, I am feeling very little for the characters, which is not a good sign in a show that relies on the appeal of its idols to reel in the audience. On hold for now, and maybe I’ll consider marathoning it when it ends.

First impressions: Takes the time to introduce 3 main girls… then abruptly dumps 12 more into the mix.
Verdict: Just not feeling the appeal of these idols.

Koufuku Graffiti

Koufuku Grafitti 01Onigiri - Koufuku Grafitti 02

Honestly, Koufuku Graffiti isn’t a very interesting show, and the only reason I’m watching it is for the food…. This is just barely holding my attention, mostly because despite supposedly being about food, very little actual cooking has been shown (it’s mostly just still shots of meals), which is a bit disappointing. Episode 3 did have a little more cooking, and I hope that keeps up.

Characters are cute but generally pretty bland and nothing new, the whole “food tastes better when eaten with others” is nice I guess, but ultimately nothing particularly special. The food does look deletable (however, the rest of the animation is pretty questionable at times), and I love that adorable song they play during the preview, but that’s hardly enough to give a solid recommendation for this show. That said, I will be watching it, mostly just for the food… because, yum!

First impressions: Cute, but a little bland.
Verdict: I’m only watching this for the food.

Maria the Virgin Witch (Junketsu no Maria)

Maria the Virgin Witch 03Maria the Virgin Witch 01

Medieval magic meets sexual innuendo in this anime about a powerful young witch who will lose her abilities if she loses her virginity… Just based on the synopsis, I wasn’t too optimistic about this series going into it, but I am pleasantly surprised to say that I am really loving the great mix of stupid comedy, serious drama, and fun action scenes, as well as the cast of colorful characters. The raunchy humor might not click with all audiences, but I am personally really enjoying it, and can’t wait to see what Maria does next!

First impressions: Nice mix of comedy, action, and drama, with a large dose of raunchy humor smattered throughout.
Verdict: Show me more magic, Maria!

The Rolling Girls

Rolling Girls 03Rolling Girls 02

Colorful and with lots of energy, I really like the visuals of The Rolling Girls, even if I’m not so sold on the characters or the weirdly convoluted narrative. The story is still just getting started and set up, but it looks like it’ll be basically a journey type anime, possibly with a little coming of age stuff in there, involving our 4 main girls traveling around helping others and finding those heart stones. Overall, nothing has really stood out to me in this anime. This series is going to have to show me something in the story as spectacular as the explosive and colorful fight scenes if I’m to continue watching…

First impressions: Colorful, but feels like a lot of nothing much.
Verdict: Show me what you’re made of or else I’ll be rolling on my way.

Saekano (Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata)

Saekano 01Saekano 02

I’m pretty sure I’m just watching this anime for Kato and her easy-going, very normal personality, especially when contrasted against the rest of the cast that are very typical anime character archetypes… The story doesn’t seem to be anything particularly unusual, and the cast, aside from Kato, is something we’ve seen time and again, but somehow it’s still fun to watch. Maybe it’s just how self-referential it is, or how certain scenes just stick out, but I’m enjoying this anime, and I’m looking forward to seeing more.

First impressions: Self-referential and surprisingly funny despite how generic it is.
Verdict: I just want more Kato (best girl).

Tokyo Ghoul: Root √A

Tokyo Ghoul Root A 03Tokyo Ghoul Root A 02

Tokyo Ghoul picks up directly from the last episode of the first season, with no break in the narrative. The first episode was pretty awkward, feeling slow and pretty uneventful, but happily, more recent episodes have picked up the pace, mostly due to fight scenes. Kaneki has shown himself very little so far, apart from fighting. I think he’s had like 5 sentences as of episode 5, so it’s been hard to really understand his motivations, emotions, or thoughts. At this point, all I can do is hope the story will come together in the end… For now, this is on hold until is ends, then I plan to marathon it all at once, mostly because I find the story a bit agonizing to watch weekly.

First impressions: A dull start, but some fight scenes in the more recent episodes has helped keep my interest.
Verdict: I should really just read the manga.

Yuri Kuma Arashi

Yuri Kuma Arashi 03Yuri Kuma Arashi 02

Weird set up about human-eating bears aside, this anime is such a Ikuhara Kunihiko show… rife with symbolism in just about every little scene, the series has started out generally repetitive (as typical of his style – think Revolutionary Girl Utena), with a ton of sexual imagery all over the place. Half the time I’m not really sure what is happening exactly, but I do know that I want to find out more! That said, it’s only 12 episodes long, so I hope there’ll be enough time to flesh out the characters and story enough…

First impressions: SYMBOLISM.
Verdict: I’m not sure what’s going on… but I want to know more!


5 thoughts on “Winter 2015 Anime Season: First Impressions

  1. Slim pickings for me this time around – I’m now only watching Yuri Kuma Arashi, Death Parade, and Durarara. I tried out a bunch of other shows including Rolling Girls, Assassination Classroom, and Virgin Witch, but they didn’t really do it for me, so if it weren’t for the anime that are still ongoing from the fall season (Yona, Ronja, and Parasyte), I’d be watching very few titles indeed.


    • Yea, it’s not really a good season… I’m way more interested in ongoing series carrying over from last season (Yona, Garo, Shirobako) than anything new this season, except for maybe Yuri Kuma Arashi, which has really gotten good in recent episodes.


      • I’m very much enjoying Death Parade and Durarara!!, but I must admit I’m not madly in love with Yuri Kuma Arashi. However, I do agree that the most recent episodes have been much better than the first couple, so I feel okay about sticking with it right the way through.


  2. I’m really loving Death Parade; it has a very interesting concept and the characters are great, even more so now we’re getting more back story.

    Still – I’m mostly watching the ongoing series from last reason (Shirobako, Yona and Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso), or second seasons (DRRR and Kamisama Hajimemashita).


    • Yea, Death Parade is good so far! I really loved episode 3, and the backstory in episode 5 was a welcome addition to the story. But, like you I’m also mostly watching ongoing series from last season (still really enjoying Shirobako and Yona!). I hope the upcoming spring season has some better offerings…


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