Spring 2015 Anime Season: First Impressions

Arslan Senki 02Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka 03Hibike Euphonium 03Houkago no Pleiades 02Kekkai Sensen 03Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku 03Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu 03Ore Monogatari 02Owari no Seraph 01Plastic Memories 03Punchline 03Shokugeki no Souma 01Show by Rock 01Sidonia no Kishi 03Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru Zoku 02

Hello spring! It’s so nice to have a new anime season paired with the warming weather… So far, I haven’t been blown away by much this season, but a lot of series have been pretty fun and light, matching the spring weather perfectly. There’s lots to look at in this first impressions post, so let’s just right in and take a look at the newest lineup of anime currently airing in the spring 2015 anime season….

Arslan Senki

Arslan Senki 01Arslan Senki 03

While this high fantasy adventure series is exactly the type of thing I tend to really love, so far Arslan Senki has been slow to catch on. I love the setting, which is based on historic Persia, and since it’s not an environment that is often depicted in anime, it feels foreign, exotic, and fresh – when it’s actually being shown, that is (only episode 1 has shown the city and culture so far…).

The story and characters are still in the introductory stages, and while I don’t mind a slow build up, it’s actually going a little too slow for my tastes. I really just want something to latch on to, like an ultimate goal or something. That said, I’m curious about what will happen to our gentle Prince Arslan, and I’m hoping that once the main cast is assembled, it’ll start coming together… I’m still not quite sure how this will go, because judging by the OP and ED animations, it looks like it just might turn into a slightly more serious, gender-flipped version of Akatsuki no Yona

First impressions: High fantasy anime with an exotic setting and a story that’s taking it’s time ramping up.
Verdict: Worth a look.

Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka?

Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka 01Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka 02

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this anime, but the title made me think it would be a fan service-heavy harem show in a fantasy setting… And, I guess I wasn’t too far off the mark, except I wasn’t counting on the characters being surprisingly likable, if a bit stereotypical and really nothing too new. Questionable boob string aside (someone explain the appeal of it, please?), I’ve been enjoying DanMachi so far. It’s moving along quickly, with a good amount of action and some cute moments. Sure, the use of game mechanics in a non-game setting takes some getting use to, the fan service is pointless and forced, and Bell’s harem seems to just grow exponentially by the episode, but as long as the story delivers and the characters show a little more depth, I’ll probably continue tuning in.

First impressions: Boob string and pointless fan service aside, it’s actually not bad.
Verdict: Worth a look.

Hibike! Euphonium

Hibike Euphonium 02Hibike Euphonium 01

While I can’t deny Kyo-Ani’s amazing production values, I’m just not feeling much for Hibike! Euphonium. The dynamics between the cast is falling flat for me, especially with regards to our lead, Kumiko, who just seems really dull at the moment. I’m sure she’ll have some sad backstory about why she’s so indecisive and hesitant about band and her personal relationships, but 3 episodes of her mostly just looking silently pained has failed to make her appealing to me. The story is also really taking it’s time to get going, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, except that I’m left bored rather than curious about the future events.

First impressions: I can only hope the story and characters will eventually catch up with the amazing animation.
Verdict: Consider it.

Houkago no Pleiades

Houkago no Pleiades 03Houkago no Pleiades 01

So far it’s been a fairly typical magical girl anime, but there are glimmers of something more going on with the multiple worlds and the unlimited possibilities humans possess. It’s a little reminiscent of Madoka, but so far much lighter and carefree. That’s not to say things might change later on in the series, whether it goes darker or stays fluffy… But, whatever direction this series decides to go in, I definitely think a big change in needed, and needed very soon, to keep the story fresh and interesting. Character designs are quite cute, though I don’t really care for or have a good sense of any of them quite yet.

First impressions: A typical magical girl anime with possible glimmers of something more.
Verdict: Consider it.

Kekkai Sensen

Kekkai Sensen 01Kekkai Sensen 02

Atmosphere, setting, and beautifully detailed backgrounds aside, I’m sad to say Kekkai Sensen has failed to really catch my attention so far. My main complaint is that I have very little sense of the characters despite being 3 episodes deep into the series. I have no idea who they really are beyond very basic surface impressions. The anime is also very jumpy, lacking general cohesion between scenes, themes, and story. I can’t tell if it’s just going to be totally episodic, or whether there’ll be some overarching plot. If there’s going to be a larger story going on, what will it be? I can’t really say, and while I don’t want to be spoon-fed the details (surprises are always fun), without even a hint of direction, at the end of the day I can’t think of any real reason to continue watching this: the characters and story are nonexistent and, while it looks stylish enough, there just hasn’t been enough to keep me watching.

First impressions: Lacks cohesion and the characters bore me… Where is this anime going and what is it even trying to do?
Verdict: Skip it.

Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku

Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku 02Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku 01

Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku is something we’ve all seen before: energetic protagonist attends a new school hoping for a rose colored student life, only to discover everyone has super powers and must battle each other for some reason! While I don’t mind this anime, I think any enjoyment will depend heavily on how much you like the main character, Eruna, who is like a battle-ready version of Kanako Miyamae from Maria†Holic. I honestly find her little tiresome at times, but the fights (when they happen) are a bit fun to watch because of all the strange powers each student possesses. Overall, this anime feels generally uninventive and half-baked, recycling a bunch of plot elements so frequently seen in anime.

First impressions: It’s full of plot elements and tropes seen too often in anime, but if you like the main character, you just might enjoy this anime.
Verdict: Skip it.

Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu

Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu 01Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu 02

I am quite certain that even if I went into this anime with no knowledge of the Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi franchise, I would still find this series a general disappointment. Nagato really does not have enough presence to really carry the mantle of a main character, and while I do find her kind of cute, she’s mostly just very dull. I’ve liked episode 3 the best so far (episode 1 was nothing special, episode 2 was a mess of jarring, awkwardly strung together scenes), but only because Haruhi made her appearance.

Compared to Nagato, she’s just way more energetic, exciting, and interesting, with a ton of presence. While I am curious how the show will maintain Nagato as the main character when she basically disappears next to Haruhi, I don’t think I’ll be sticking around becayse overall, it’s just been just an unremarkable, below average shoujo romantic comedy.

First impressions: Unremarkable rom-com with a bland main character.
Verdict: Skip it.

Ore Monogatari

Ore Monogatari 03Ore Monogatari 01

I’m really enjoying Ore Monogatari, which has been very sweet and funny so far. The anime manages to balance the silly comedy and the adorable romance (and bromance) pretty well, and it hasn’t felt too melodramatic thus far. It also looks like this anime will feature an actual romantic relationship, rather than spending all it’s episodes in a perpetual loop of blush, stuttering, and meaningful eye contact, only to culminate in a confession in the last episode.

I really hope Yamato gets fleshed out better, because all we know about her is that she’s adorable and loves to bake sweets. The first episodes have been great, with the relationships moving along pretty quickly, and I am definitely looking forward to what trials and tribulations are main characters go through… after all, this series is slated for whopping 24 episodes!

First impressions: It’s adorable and looks like it will feature an actual relationship.
Verdict: Watch it.

Owari no Seraph

Owari no Seraph 02Owari no Seraph 03

While the premise is at least a little interesting (if a bit incomprehensible), I found the first 3 episodes of Owari no Seraph so painfully obvious when it felt like it was trying so hard to be so serious and dramatic. It’s just not subtle at all, and where it tries to be mature, it ends up feeling rather childish and awkward instead. The characters are also walking tropes, and I really don’t feel anything for them. But, with all that said, for whatever reason, I actually find this series kind of enjoyable to watch. Maybe I just find it hilarious, or maybe I’m curious about why people say this is only going to get better, but whatever the reason, I’m still watching this anime.

First impressions: Angsty teenagers fight vampires in the most predictable manner possible. So bad it’s good? Who knows.
Verdict: Worth a look.

Plastic Memories

Plastic Memories 02Plastic Memories 01

While I like the premise about androids that are indistinguishable from humans having a definite and finite lifespan, and the implications of this knowledge for both the android and those it interacts with, the execution of Plastic Memories is sadly lacking. I quite enjoyed the first episode, which I thought had some nice moments, even if the comedy was really out of place and awkward. However, I was disappointed that the subsequent episodes put more emphasis on the comedy (which I don’t find particularly funny), and less on the drama and what could be meaty philosophical questions.

First impressions: Nice first episode, but the focus switches abruptly from drama to comedy, killing the mood.
Verdict: Skip it.

Punchline

Punchline 01Punchline 02

Silly and colorful with a lot of panty-oriented fan service, Punchline is really a mess, jumping all over the place with no clear direction and a cast of dull characters. I liked the first episode well enough, but was far less enthusiastic about the second and third. Humor is very hit or miss, and I don’t care for the fan service. But, it’s Mappa (I’ve had a good track record with them lately) and apparently there’s some “big twist” coming up in episode 6, so I’ll try and stick with it at least until then… maybe.

First impressions: I would actually say skip it, but apparently there’s supposed to be a big twist in episode 6, so maybe it’ll be worth watching….?
Verdict: Consider it.

Shokugeki no Souma

Shokugeki no Souma 02

Furikake gohan Transforming seasoning - Shokugeki no Souma 02 - 06If you thought the erotic eating scenes in last season’s Koufuku Graffiti were excessive, then you’ll be shocked by Shokugeki no Souma as it takes the term “food porn” to the next level…  Over the top, borderline ridiculous, and strangely epic, I am really enjoying this anime a lot, especially with the whole shounen-battle-with-food thing going on. The fan service is also not quite as awful as I feared it might be, and actually, I think it’s done pretty well if only because the unnecessarily erotic “food porn” aspects are only used once or twice an episode and are treated more as a reoccurring gag. I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes, and hope that Souma faces some challenges, failures, and rivals so that the series stays fresh and continues to be interesting.

First impressions: Food sure is sexy… but it might be a little too sexy for some.
Verdict: Watch it.

Show by Rock

Show by Rock 02Show by Rock 03

Show by Rock is definitely very cute, but so far, that’s about it. I enjoyed the first episode enough to continue because it set up a very basic framework for the overall plot… however, after 3 episodes, nothing has really happened to advance it forward, and I’m afraid it’ll just be more of the same for the foreseeable future. I just want cute girls fighting monsters with rock music, dammit! So, while the CG music scenes are actually not bad (I just wish they had mouths!) and the characters are generally cute, I’m going to need a little more substance if I were to continue watching.

First impressions: Fluffy, cute, and silly, but could use more weight.
Verdict: Consider it.

Sidonia no Kishi: Daikyuu Wakusei Seneki

Sidonia no Kishi 02Sidonia no Kishi 01

Sidonia no Kishi returns for a second season, continuing the story right where it left off last season. Things are moving along pretty quickly, with new enemies, more intrigue, exciting space battles, and new girls for Nagate’s little space harem. I’m hoping we get more information about the origin of the Gauna and how Sidonia came to be in it’s current state… Definitely a must see if you watched the first season! Can’t wait for some fast paced space battles. Any guesses on what the death count will come to this season?

First impressions: More intrigue, more space battles, more enemies, more harem.
Verdict: Watch it.

Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. Zoku

Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru Zoku 01Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru Zoku 03

If you liked the first series, watching the newest season of Yahari is a definite must. It’s more of the same, and it picks up right where the first season ended, with really no break in the narrative. I’m also really liking the new character designs, and the animation has definitely improved since the first season. And, while I don’t always understand where these overthinking high schoolers are coming from, I can’t wait to see where the story goes, what conflicts will arise (and how Hachiman will resolve them), and how the characters will develop this time around.

First impressions: Hachiman’s back! Where will his reluctant interactions take him (and everyone else) this time?
Verdict: Watch it.

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2 thoughts on “Spring 2015 Anime Season: First Impressions

  1. I agree with everything you’ve said about Arslan. It’s fantastic to see a change from the usual European-centric setting when it comes to historical fantasy, and I’m reasonably confident that we can expect to see some solid world-building over the course of the series. But while I don’t mind and sometimes even prefer a slow build-up, the show really does seem to be spinning its wheels a bit on the plot front. That said, this is going to be at least 25 episodes long, and since Arslan is right up my alley in terms of general taste in anime, I’m more than willing to wait it out at this point.

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    • I’m in pretty much the same mindset… I’m willing to give Arslan the benefit of the doubt because I love the setting and the fantasy genre, and because it’s going to be 25 episodes long. If it was slated for only 1 cour, I think I’d be much more wary, but I figure they have a bit of time to ramp the story up, hopefully in a big way.

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