Yo! It’s been a while, I know. I’ve been really busy with my studies and finally it’s the semester break and I could relax for a week. So yeah i’m writing a little review of the Spring season hopefully you’ll enjoy reading it. Spring season, though admittedly fine, does not seem as strong as last season. Last season, I believe, had shows in its top 5 that were all top show-caliber and could’ve easily been number ones in other seasons. I cannot confidently say that for this season. Not to say this season is bad. This season, as with every season, had its fair share of strong shows but it just didn’t feel as awe-inspiring as last season. Ah well, some won’t agree but that’s whatever. Lets get the ball rolling.
Top 5 Shows
5. Space Brothers
Space Brothers is a show about one man’s dream to become an astronaut. A dream he forgot he once had as a child. Him and his brother, who is an astronaut in the U.S. by way of Japan, had always been fascinated by the night sky, especially the moon, and an even witnessed a UFO. However, somewhere along the line he had forgotten about this and went on to become a gifted car developer while his brother went into the space program. But after getting the sack, his brother rekindled the intense fire burning inside him to become an astronaut and follow his dream of going to the moon. Hiroaki Hirata, the same man who voiced Wild Tiger inTiger and Bunny, voices the main character, Mutta,and he is fantastic in this as well. He voices him phenomenally well with the same light-hearted almost lovable-loser air he brought to Kotetsu which shouldn’t be very surprising as the characters are quite similar. All told, the characters in this show are great and feel very real and fleshed out. The show is written with an appealing dry humor but the real star of the show is the path to becoming an astronaut. It really showcases how intensive the space program’s screening process really is which includes several written exams and a battery of physical and psychological exams that measures one’s physical prowess, memory, and competence under pressure. It’s a show that kind of came out of nowhere and I highly recommend it.
This show is about ice cream. It is so because I say it is so. In all fairness, Hyouka does mean ice cream in english, which ends being a somewhat clever pun during the first half of the show and it is in this first half that the show really shines. The show is gorgeously drawn and well-animated with art direction that rivals any of the best shows this season. Its direction really interests me because its style and cinematography during expository sequences is really reminiscent of SHAFT. The crazy artistic sequences it occasionally uses to accompany dialogue are immensely pleasing to the eye and imagination. Also reminiscent of SHAFT, it possesses fantastic writing that is anchored by a surprisingly endearing deadpan snarker of a lead male protagonist and fantastic support characters. Its first story arch is amazingly well done with a well-thought out build up of events and satisfying conclusion that leaves an appropriately bittersweet taste in one’s mouth. This occurs around Episode 6 and this is the high point of the show, unfortunately. Not to say the rest of the show is bad, quite the opposite actually, but after the first arch is concluded the show kind of just spins its wheels where the story is concerned. It appears to move towards the main protagonist breaking out of his self-imposed shell and becoming a social person and to a certain extent this is still true but they seemed to stop well short of this in favor of solving weekly “dilemmas”, if one can really call “a teacher being pissed off over trivial matters” a dilemma. Regardless of this, the show is really well put together and is really a refreshing and immensely enjoyable slice-of-life. The problem is it had the incredible potential to be much more than just that.
3. Kuroko no Basuke
Its full of action, great soundtrack with brilliant and more importantly suitable voices for the characters. I like how the main character, Kuroko, is more of a shadow that people can easily overlook (often comically) but still let people know he’s the main character without being all ‘in your face’ about it which isnt what you often see. Speaking of the Kuroko, he brings so many light hearted comical scenes into the anime from where he’d just appear out of nowhere or disappear which greatly balances out Kagami’s fiery personality. The key characters of this series, the generation of miracles. Having had read the manga beforehand, im aware of how each of the five are portrayed and I cant fault the series to how they have developed and portrayed them so far. Yes, it does bring into question how a kids around the age of first year high schoolers can be over 6ft tall but that is the beauty of 2D world, anything can happen. If you are one of those who are pedantic about these petty details and decided to make a pass on the series then youre definitely missing out. Every week, you just cant wait to see the next episode to be aired just to get more exhilarating action. In my opinion, this IS one of the best series to be released and i hope it gets more episodes as it is just pure enjoyment.
2. Sakamichi no Apollon
I tend to hate period anime. Nothing personal, but every period anime I seem to come across either invokes seething disdain or incredible indifference from me. Technically, Sakamichi no Apollon is a period anime as it takes place during 1960s Japan and the weird thing I’ve discovered is that I find this show to be fantastic. I suppose it’s a ”Period Anime” with massive quotation marks but come on now, let this break through be the start of something beautiful and long lasting like Kim Kardashian in cryo-statis. Distancing myself as far from that previous statement as I can, Sakamichi no Apollon is about forging the incredible bonds of friendship through music, specifically jazz. We have a guy who is a classically trained pianist who’s transferring to a new school befriending an apparent ruffian who gets into a lot of fights but finds solace in playing the drums and the glue that holds them together is jamming in the basement of music store owner’s shop as they are also friends with the owner’s daughter. The characters are fantastic and grounded this is one of the few shows can encapsulate true drama and not make it feel overbearing. The art style is great and animation is incredibly fluid, especially during music sequences. The finale episode was especially incredible and the final scene was truly sublime as a lot of raw emotion was communicated but no words were needed, only music. It may very well have been the single greatest scene of any show this season. This show is truly crafted and is damn near a masterpiece but it falls just short because as much as I love this show I can’t shake the feeling that it feels a bit rushed and would’ve greatly benefited from having 24 episodes to work with rather than the 12 it was given. Regardless, this show could very well be in consideration for one of the top shows of the year come December.
The first season of Fate/Zero left a sour taste in my mouth. I didn’t like how it ended its first season on a cliffhanger only to come back four months later and attempt to wrap things up. I’m not sure whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. Regardless, how it ended its first season did not sit very well with me and this made me dubious in when it returned in April. To its credit, it certainly returned with a bang that shook me a little. I had forgotten how high quality absolutely every aspect of it was. It’s easily the best looking show of the season and an argument could be made that it’s the best looking show of the year. It’s writing remained top-notch, its animation was still the smoothest and most natural of any show this year, and its story and pacing were second to none. Overall, the show is rather incredible. The dynamic between the remaining masters and servants fighting desperately to attain the legendary Holy Grail was exquisite and the delicate twists and turns the plot took were never overbearing but always made sure my attention and interest never wavered (pun unintended). The twist behind the power of the grail especially is reason alone to watch this show and the way it wraps up the Holy Grail War while deftly leading into Fate/Stay Night is simply sublime. If there is one gripe I have about this show is that it doesn’t really have that high an opinion of women. First off, there are no female masters and I suppose a rather weak argument can be made that there is a female servant (servants?). The one thing that grabbed attention though was in the deaths. Almost all of the men who die in this show die honorable deaths in battle and what have you. The women, on the other hand, just get choked to death. Some by the same person. Some more than once. The guys just choke a bitch. That seems rather misogynistic when you really stop to think about it. If that is enough to put you off then by all means don’t watch Fate/Zero. But in doing so you’d be missing out on easily one of the best, if not the best, shows this year.
Best Female Character
“Koko Hekmatyar” of Jormungand
Her name is Koko, she is loco, I said “oh, no”. This is an undisputed fact. To most, Koko can look clinically insane. She’s a female weapons dealer that has an almost unbridled passion for her line of work and always has a rather maniacal grin on her face, even when under fire. She can quickly oscillate between coldly gunning someone down during a business transaction gone bad to quickly throwing herself upon Jonah, her child soldier pride and joy, and teasing him and cooing sweet assurances in his ear. However, there is a method to her madness. She always appears to be one step ahead her colleagues, friend and foe alike, and she is shockingly efficient when she happens to be full of bloodlust, inflicting the most damage while taking the least. It is because of this blend of efficiency and girlish glee that her soldiers tremendously respect her. One of the more intriguing things is we really haven’t seen the full side to her character and her backstory is tremendously intriguing. She has an air of mystery. This, above all else, may be what makes her my best character
Best Male Character
“Sentarō Kawabuchi” of Sakamichi no Apollon
Sentaro seems like a guy who merely seems like a high school delinquent. He gets into a lot of fights and doesn’t really give much of a damn about school and grades. But he finds solace in music. He finds solace in the drums. To him, music is friendship, and friendship is magic…yeah. In all seriousness. Sentaro is a fantastic character. He puts a tremendous amount of importance on family as his father, who was an American in the navy, left him at a young age and because of this he tremendously caring and fiercely protective of his siblings. He puts a lot of stake in his friendships with Kaoru and Ritsuko and feels like they are his family as well. This is especially the case with Kaoru as they are so in tune that can communicate with just music. Words, at times, are just unnecessary. He is really is a great guy. He only gets into fights at school because people make fun of him for his appearance coming from an American father and Japanese mother. He’s honestly one of the best friends a person can have. And the most interesting male character this season.
Top 5 Openings
5. “Tsurezure Monochrome” by FUJIFABRIC (Tsuritama)
4. Feel So Moon” by UNICORN (Space Brothers)
3. “To the Beginning” by Kalafina (Fate/Zero)
2. ”Yasashisa no Riyuu” by Chouchou (Hyouka)
1. “Sakamichi no Melody” by YUKI (Sakamichi no Apollon)
Top 5 Endings
5. ”Start it right away” by Hyadain (Kuroko’s Basketball)
4. ”Himekuri” by Kaori Sadohara (Upotte)
3. ”Te o Gyuushite ne” by Rumi Ookubo (Acchi Kocchi)
2. ”Subarashiki Sekai” by Rake (Space Brothers)
1. ”Karandorie” by Aki Okui (Dusk Maiden of Amnesia)
The new season is looking good so far and I know i’m really late to join the party. I’ve already watched a few anime and i’m liking most of them so far. Not so sure what kinda of anime i’ll review for the new season but it looks like the good ones has already been taken by my fellow writers. I’ll see what anime I can talk about, it looks like it’s only going to be Rinne no Lagrange and a few last season anime like Space Brothers, and Kuroko no Basuke. Well that is all I guess. Thanks for reading.