Observant readers will have noticed that I’ve got no first episode impressions written out for the Spring 2014 anime offerings so far: this is because over the past month, things became a little hectic with my iOS project and the logistics associated with accepting an offer into the Graduate Studies program for a Master’s degree. Besides these priorities, I’ve been trying to catch up with my blogging, making sure that I’ve gotten all of my Winter 2014 shows concluded, and finish the backlog of posts I’ve acquired regarding some of the adventures I’ve had in PC gaming while completing this year. Time is a limited resource, and so, instead of keeping up closely with the anime offering so far, I’ve opted to get the blog back up to speed. Owing to how things are working out, I’ll do “final impressions” for all of the anime that I did end up following for Spring 2014 (right now, besides Knights of Sidonia, I’m also watching The Order is a Rabbit and Nanana’s Buried Treasure) somewhere in late June. For the time being, though, having taken a look at the summer 2014 offerings, I am quite excited, but before then, Spring 2014 has to end, and with it, the long anticipated Gundam Unicorn: Over The Rainbow special. As mentioned earlier, this collides directly with Otafest, and this year, I’ve pre-ordered, so I can get access to several days. The schedule was released yesterday evening, and from the looks of it, I may have to stick around longer to do everything I intend to do this time around. I’ll work out the logistics later, although in past years, it’s taken an average of four days for my copy of the Gundam Unicorn episode to arrive after the listed release date. I’ll address these things as they happen, so for now, let’s turn our attention to what fabulous anime await in the depths of summer, when the days are long and warm.
There are at least four shows that already catch my eye, plus three OVAs. Glasslip looks to be right up my alley, fulfilling the niche that Tari Tari did two summers ago (only this time, there’s no MCAT breathing down my neck). Aldnoah Zero has a rather exciting premise and looks to satisfy my wish to watch a science-fiction mecha anime. Lastly, while I was disappointed with the shift in attention towards the end of Sword Art Online, I am quite interested to see how gunplay and über-micro applies to Sword Art Online II, which will deal with the Phantom Bullet arc (set in Gun Gale online). Two other anime, Sabagebu! and Futsuu no Joshikousei ga [Locodol] Yattemita, will satisfy the casual slice-of-life category.
Besides the anime, there are also the Girls und Panzer OVA (finally with a concrete release date of July 25), as well as OVAs to Tamayura: ~More Aggressive~ and Non Non Biyori. Reviews of these OVAs will definitely be made over the summer, and with such exciting times, I’ll do my best to write my usual style for all of the anime I’m following (i.e. first episode impressions, midseason reflection and final reflections).
Tohko Fukami is a 17-year old girl from Fukui Prefecture, who dreams of becoming a glass artisan.
- I loved Tari Tari, and I am quite interested in seeing a slice-of-life show set during the summer again. Three years ago, I went on vacation with a tour group of the New York region and had the opportunity to visit the Corning Glass Museum, where I watched a glass blowing demonstration: the artisans made it look easy and I was reminded of the glass factory in Sora no Woto. Glasslip will doubtlessly be a coming-of-age story about Fukami’s aspirations. This time, instead of music, craftsmanship will be the focus: as I’ve followed a very academic path in life, I am greatly looking forward to how PA Works tells the story of someone who will follow the apprentice’s path. This series will probably be similar to Tari Tari and Hanasaku Iroha in terms of atmospherics and execution, featuring beautiful artwork and inviting, warm music.
In 1972, an ancient alien hypergate was discovered on the surface of the moon. Using this technology, humanity began migrating to Mars and settling there. After settlers discovered additional advanced technology, the Vers Empire was founded which claimed Mars and its secrets for themselves. Later the Vers Empire declared war on Earth and in 1999 a battle on the Moon’s surface caused the hypergate to explode shattering the Moon and scattering remnants into a debris belt around the planet. Cut off from Mars, the remnants of the Vers Empire established several massive orbital space stations within the debris belt and a ceasefire was established. 15 years later, in 2014, an attack on the Vers princess during a peace mission causes the Empire to launch a new attack on Earth, this time determined to conquer it once and for all.
- Giant mecha and an interstellar war with aliens caught my attention quickly enough. I’ve seen some of the PVs and I think there’s a princess involved, although everything else will have to wait until the series begins airing: there’s not very much information floating about Aldnoah Zero at the moment, so patience will be a virtue here. With that said, Aldnoah Zero is directed by Gen Urobuchi, who had previously worked on the Fate/Zero series (which I’ve never seen before) and also has directed the powerhouse Puella Magi Madoka Magica series, which I thoroughly enjoyed. If some of the darker elements about warfare make their way into Aldnoah Zero and present a unique perspective on conflict not covered by something like Gundam Unicorn, this series could very well capture my heart the same way Gundam has.
Sword Art Online II
This is the second season of Sword Art Online, and is set to cover the events in the Phantom Bullet arc.
- The PV shows an aqua-haired girl lying down in the prone position, aiming down her sniper rifle’s sights while the camera pans around and highlights her assets. Sword Art Online has its moments of fan service, and although I don’t mind the view (having come quite a long way from the old days when I would not watch anime that had too many free anatomy lessons), I do wonder what the Phantom Bullet arc entails, having never read the light novels myself, hence my decision to follow the second season. This time, my expectations are different (not lower, just different): instead of going in and expecting a story about the implications of virtual reality technology (which, with things like Oculus rift, Leap, Kinect and 4K displays, may actually surpass the depictions in Sword Art Online by 2020), this time, I’ll be looking for the depiction of a shooter-type MMO and seeing how well that environment fits in with the story.
Futsuu no Joshikousei ga [Locodol] Yattemita
The story is about the life of a high school girl, Nanako, and her senpai, Yukari, who end up becoming the town’s local idols (locodol) upon the request of her uncle.
- I imagine that this series will probably take after Wake Up, Girls! in styling and atmosphere. I thoroughly enjoyed Wake Up, Girls!, and although the group is much smaller, Futsuu no Joshikousei ga [Locodol] Yattemita will probably provide a small story about two girls and their experiences in the entertainment industry. The prima facie lighthearted story means that most major reviewers will probably skip over this, and time permitting, I will focus my efforts onto discussing the anime that are less well-covered.
Middle school girl Momoka is dragged into joining one of the strangest associations at her school, the Survival Game Club. Its members participate in various forms of paramilitary training under the watchful eye of charming and alarming president, Miou.
- Sabagebu! (Survival game club) is superficially similar to Stella Women’s Academy: High School Division Class C³, a series that was short and amusing. This will be my third “girls with guns” anime now, and given that I’ve been playing Battlefield 3 for some eight months now, I am quite curious to see how this one will turn out. As of late, it looks like I’m following a lot of moé anime (much more than usual). I do this because anime of this class provide an atmosphere that acts as a good counterweight to more serious fare (and the more serious shows I watch tend to be a counterweight for moé anime). Like Futsuu no Joshikousei ga [Locodol] Yattemita, I foresee that Sabagebu! will not be well-covered, and so, I’ll step up to the plate with my own unique style of discussion and use of non sequiturs.