Fall 2014 Watch List #2

This Fall pretty much dropped off a cliff for me, entirely due to personal time-based reasons. Plus I just swapped up one of my imports, so it’s worth talking about why.

Winners/Imports:

Yuki Yuna wa Yusha de Aru

Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken

Rock Solid:

Shirobako

G-Reco

Keepers:

Akatsuki no Yona

Finished:

Hitsugi no Chaika s2

Might Finish:

Unlimited Blade Works

Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai

Shingeki no Bahamut

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso

Some Comments:

-Shingeki no Bahamut’s not an import-quality show for me any more. Keeps focusing on dramatic elements of the story, which is really, really basic and uninteresting. Hasn’t had a swashbuckler Favaro moment of the kind that made me fall in love with the show early for weeks.

-I’m giving my money to trips-Yu instead. At least, hedging my bets by preordering 1 and 2 so I can cancel later if 11-12 somehow fall flat. Don’t think they will, though – it’s one of those things where even though it could see the bottom fall out, I just don’t believe it will. I trust this show a lot at this point. It’s been come-home-early-to-watch great throughout the season, and the overall product really feels like it’s optimizing the talent of everyone involved. Plus, the box is physically large and if there’s even a small chance of getting cast commentary on later episodes, I want to be on that train. A good portion of why I like post-2010 Kishi Seiji is that he’s carried off a lot of shows that use lighter moments to make characters likable before tossing them into serious dramatic situations, and this is probably the show with the best buildup/payoff ratio from that out of anything he’s done thus far.* Likeable characters are literally the most important and transient part of any really good story in any medium – you can leave stories unfinished, half-ass animation, and market poorly, but if you’ve built a really strong cast, they drag that thing across the finish line.

-That said, I’m hedging my best by preordering v1 and v2 simultaneously, so I can keep the v1 discount and still be able to cancel if I want to.

-Unlimited Blade Works keeps me coming back every week primarily because I like the fashion sense of the cast. Not that the action is unfun, just that that’s what stands out the most about the series to me at this point.

-Odds are I find time for one or two shows in the might-finish category. Really liked lots of shows this season that I haven’t been able to keep up with, and for some reason I suck at staying current when not watching an episode the day it comes out.

-I’m beginning to regret importing s1 of Chaika. The powerful ending sold me on what had been a solid show based around a classic adventure party setup, but s2 switched up the formula and spent a lot of time explaining mythology and backstory and such that I never really care for. I hate how this sometimes feels like an obligatory part of fantasy nowadays.

*Even if it’s not the best period. I’ve slapped a personal 10/10 on 3 of his shows so far – Jinrui, Kamisama Dolls, and Angel Beats. Jinrui doesn’t really fall into this category – was pure force-of-will comedy slam-dunking. Angel Beats grew on me the more I watched it and tended to focus on the insane high-point episodes (soccer, baseball, graduation, and high-tension especially). Kamisama Dolls, incomplete plot and all, puts the Kyohei/Aki and Kyohei/Shiba arcs at center stage and sticks them every time. The way the finale wrapped both those two up was everything I ever could have asked for.

This is also fun because I pointed out how his resume gets misinterpreted a lot before the season, back when plenty of people were writing Yuna’s premature obituary, just like they’re doing for Assassination Classroom now.

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