Friday, January 30, 2015

Winter 2015 Anime Season: What Am I Watching?

At the end of the Fall season last year, I made the announcement that I would be putting the Impressions series on hold seeing as how it's my last semester of graduate school and I would like to give myself some extra time for things as I prepare for May to come around. But, with the Winter season fully underway, I really wanted to tell you guys about the shows I'm keeping up with and my general first thoughts on them. So, today, I'm giving you guys a look at what shows I'm keeping up with this season, both new and second seasons, and let you know which ones you should be keeping an eye out for as well! These 14 shows join my fall leftovers: Cross Ange, Magic Kaito 1412, Your Lie in April, Garo, Yona of the DawnParasyte, and Yowamushi Pedal: Grande Road to make a total of 21 series I get to watch this season! Yeah, I'm going to be busy with seasonal stuff, but let's do it!

Aldnoah.Zero season 2
Episodes 1-2

Honestly, I do not even know why I am currently watching this one. For those who may not know, after passing Aldnoah.Zero through Impressions last year, the entire thing just up and died on me. The middle was slow and boring while the season finale was just an odd train wreck. But, here I am with season 2 and it's still not that great after those amazing first few episodes that made me pass it in the first place. I'll admit, it's beginning to pick up a tiny bit this season, but I'm not holding my breath that this season will be all that outstanding. Hell, I'm actually prepared for it to get worse! They already found some stupid ways around parts of the season finale, so it already has negative points for it. I don't know, I should give up but I am interested to see how much of a train wreck it's going to end up being. Then again, who knows, it could, somehow, surpass my expectations.... But it's highly unlikely. If you want to see Aldnoah.Zero's second season, as well as it's first, Crunchyroll and Daisuki have you covered.

Assassination Classroom
Episodes 1-3

This one is a bit of a weird one, and I totally like it! It's more than just your typical high school comedy, it adds the fun of needing to murder your really yellow and octopus-ey teacher or else the earth is gonna get destroyed. But what I think makes this series shine even more is, in fact, Koro-sensei because he's the only one who actually cares for these students in E Class compared to the rest of their school and even society. It's rather charming in that respect. Plus having Jun Fukuyama playing the role makes it ever so wonderful! You know, the man who's voiced Geass's Lelouch, Durarara's Shinra, xxxHolic's Watanuki, Black Butler's Grell, Spice and Wolf's Lawrence, Vampire Knight's Aidou, and Hamatora's Birthday. The man is a voice acting chameleon! Yeah, A-Class is one of the more fun ones this season and one that you shouldn't pass up. If you in the need for some E Class hijinks, FUNimation is currently simulcasting the series along with Hulu (probably) for those in the US.

Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!
Episodes 1-3

Last summer, we had the shoujo manga parody known as Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, one of my favorite comedies from 2014. Parodies seem to be the thing to do, giving us this season's Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! which parodies the magical girl genre while reversing gender roles at the same time. With hints of Sailor Moon and a dash of Revolutionary Girl Utena, you have the well known cliches and troupes you see from magical girl series but it also has self awareness and some clever moments. It may be weird, but it's down right funny and awesome! It's actually the first show, this year, to get me thinking about an english dub just to see what would be totally hilarious! I'm thinking.... Josh Grelle, Clifford Chapin, Ian Sinclair, Joel McDonald, and Todd Haberkorn. I think seeing these guys would be rather hilarious! Want to join in on the insanity? You can find the series being simulcasted from both FUNimation and Crunchyroll and (probably) Hulu as well.
Death Parade
Episodes 1-3

If a simple game can decide whether you would go to heaven or hell, would you play? Then again, the players of Death Parade don't have much of a choice. These first few episodes have been rather well done in establishing the world as well as our, so far, two major characters. We also get two games with two completely different results in the process. I love that this one, since it has psychological elements in it, has me on my toes and has kept me guessing. It's a rather unique idea, in my opinion, and I think MadHouse has really got a special one on their hands to go along with last season's Parasyte. This also reminds me that there's a one shot film called Death Billiards that I now need to find and watch. If you'd like to see Death Parade, for yourself, FUNimation is where to find it along with (probably) Hulu for those in the states.

Durarara!!x2 Shou
Episodes 1-2

If you were to ask me, a few years ago, if Durarara would get a second season, I'd say no and that it doesn't really need one. Well, apparently, I was wrong, and now we have a second season! I'll admit, it's nice to have the chance to return to this rather crazy world and see what all these characters are up to, along with meet some new ones. I've been told that the post six month period is where the story really gets good, so I'm really hoping that isn't a lie. I mean season one was fine, but it wasn't anything outstanding either since my heart will always belong to it's roaring twenties cousin, Baccano. However, if this season is going to be as amazing as everyone is hyped up for it to be, then I suppose it's possible I could change my mind.... Though I probably won't cause Baccano is superior. Anyway, I am interested to see what this season will bring and if it's five year disappearance will be a help or hindrance to it. If you'd like to see Durarara, then head over to Crunchyroll to find both seasons as well as the dub for season one.

Gourmet Girl Graffiti
Episodes 1-2

This one is a little bit of an oddball. Really, just because the characters will eat food rather erotically at points. If you look past that part, though, there's actually quite a bit to like here! It has a kind of simplistic charm that you kinda feel at ease with. Then there's the story premise, where a lesson we learn as kids actually becomes a major player. What I mean is, the idea of your food tasting so much better when you have people around you to share that with. Honestly, it's something I realized I lack lately. Since being away from home, it's hard to enjoy my meals to the fullest without my family around me to talk to and enjoy my time with. You can create precious moments from spending time together, and that's, really, what this series is about and it's something I can really appreciate. If you'd like to take a gander at Gourmet Girl, Crunchyroll is the place to do it. Bon Appetite!

Kamisama Kiss season 2
Episodes 1-3

Around this time, last year, I was in the midst of watching Kamisama Kiss, a series that I fell in love with almost instantly! At the time, the idea of a second season seemed almost miles away, but, months ago, when it was announced that a second season was going to happen, I jumped on the hype train and have been gone ever since. It's a wonderful return to the world that Nanami, Tomoe, and everyone else inhabit where we get to meet new characters like little Mamoru and see others get more involvement like Otohiko. The story really just continues from where it left off, so I have no complaints about it. It's just such a wonderful series and I am glad to see another season come out! Though I bet one of my friends hates me again. I introduced it to her a few months ago and she marathoned it in a day, loving every second of it (mostly cause Micah Solusod is her favorite voice actor and I mentioned Mizuki so.... Yeah, she hates me for it)! I will also say, however, that I hope this ones falls under the Broadcast Dub initiative that FUNimation started last season, because that would just be wonderful! If you'd like to find season two of Kamisama Kiss, or watch it in general, FUNimation and Crunchyroll will be your guide as well as Hulu (probably).

Maria the Virgin Witch
Episodes 1-3

This one had been on my, as well as everyone else I know's, radar for months. It has a simple premise and rather likable characters that we get to see with Maria the most amusing because of her virgin self. Speaking of sex, the sexual humor the series has has enough subtly and undertone that the viewer can understand, but, of course, Maria doesn't. It makes for some mature moments like Artemis trying to get Maria to look at a guy's "thing" in order to make a proper incubus, among other things. And now that the main plot has been set into motion, it'll be interesting to see what comes out of it in the coming weeks. Honestly, there are actually some elements that remind me of Le Chevalier D'Eon which, ironically enough, is a recommendation for those who like Maria from FUNimation. It's nice to get back to that kind of atmosphere, while still having a fun sense a humor about it. It's certainly worth the time to, at least, check out the first few episodes. If you'd like to see Maria, FUNimation is simulcasting it along with Hulu (probably) for US otakus.

The Rolling Girls
Episodes 1-3

The first of three shows I'm covering for Rainy Day, this season, is Rolling Girls! This colorful and energetic series has been on the move since episode one, and it hasn't really slowed down since. A lot of people, including myself, are seeing similarities between this and Kill La Kill for a good amount of reasons with the look and design being one of the major ones. The story may be on a roll, but I feel that the pacing may be taking things a little too fast for my liking. If it keeps up like this, it's humanly possible that it could run into problems later on
down the line. But, for now, it's still a rather fun ride and it could calm itself down in the coming weeks. If you'd like to give Rolling Girls a chance, then FUNimation and Hulu (probably) will have the engines revved up for you!

Shonen Hollywood -Holly Stage for 50-
Episodes 1-3

One of the more interesting ones that I've had the chance to see was Shonen Hollywood last summer. This real world, kind of, take on the rise of an idol group had some heart and charm to it that I didn't know an idol series could possess. And although it wasn't one of the my favorite series from 2014 (it didn't even make my top 25 list), it was still memorable in it's own way. This second season has been keeping that consistent as the five group members are still growing and learning what being an idol is about. At the same time, it's still a kind of coming of age story thanks to it's most recent episode with Kakeru at it's center. While it's first season may not have been my favorite last year, this second season has more potential to possibly crack my favorites list for 2015. But, we'll see how that all goes. I do know, that it's kind of a hidden gem that hasn't gotten as much attention as I think it deserves. If you'd like to see season two of Shonen Hollywood, as well as the first season, FUNimation and Crunchyroll got you covered as well as Hulu (probably).

Tokyo Ghoul Root A
Episodes 1-4

We all knew this was coming. Considering that Tokyo Ghoul's first season was my favorite series from last year, of course I have to watch season two! It's only natural that I do! If you've already seen the first season, and in case you couldn't tell by the promotional image I'm using, things have taken a drastic turn after the events of the first season. It's really nice to get back to this world and this story because if this season didn't exist, then we'd run into a hell of a lot of problems in terms of story and closure. From what I've seen, so far, there's quite a bit going on but I'm still slightly confused in some areas. Might be a good thing so I can have some mystery in there. Either way, I'm glad there's a second season and I really hope that, this time, we don't have a tragic ending. Though... Based on some of the things I've read, and depending on how this season goes, we may not get that. If you'd like to see Tokyo Ghoul Root A as well as it's first season, FUNimation as well as Hulu (probably) will provide your ghoulish fix.

World Break: Aria of Curse for a Holy Swordsman
Episodes 1-2

The second of the three series I'm covering for Rainy Day this season, World Break, actually isn't as terrible as I thought it was going to be. It has some elements that are similar to Irregular at Magic High School (based on the two episodes I've seen of each), however I find this world a lot more interesting and handled moderately better. It's really weird to say that, but that's how I feel. For example, if you recall when I looked at Magic High School during Impressions last year, I dropped it because the potential incest was too uncomfortable and annoying for me to handle. With World Break, they manage to use a loop hole thanks to the whole past lives thing, but they still show signs of it, not backing down and away from it which, to the show's credit, I have to give props for. It also helps that this series has more comedy than the former, making me feel even better. There are times where the story and subject matter can be boring and cliched, sure, but that's fine. I'm not expecting something perfect here. And, hell, I may be overdue for some trashy anime anyways, so if World Break is ok with it being my trashy show of the season, I'm all for that! If you're interested in seeing World Break, both FUNimation and Crunchyroll are simulcasting it, along with Hulu (probably) for those living in the states.

Yatterman Night
Episodes 1-3

The third, and final, series I'm covering on Rainy Day and we have another super sentai-esque series, similar to Garo. Actually, to be honest, there's a lot that these two have in common. Both have maturity and dark moments, with Yatterman's main focus being the corruption of heroes, with the former villain group becoming the heroes instead. But, what Yatterman has more of than Garo is extremely humorous and likable characters. This isn't to say that I hate the characters of Garo. Remember, I do enjoy that series a lot. It's just that, with Yatterman, our main trio are simply humans trying to help people in a rather corrupted society and there's some moments of humor to go along with it. I'll admit, the first episode left me a little miffed, but after watching two more episodes recently for Rainy Day's seasonal article, I feel a lot better about it and can now understand why people seem to enjoy it a lot. If you'd like to find Yatterman Night, FUNimation is the best place to find it as well as Hulu (probably) for US viewers.

Yurikuma Arashi
Episodes 1-4

What does Yurikuma, Penguindrum, and Revolutionary Girl Utena have in common? That would be their director, the rather infamous, Kunihiko Ikuhara. And, right off the bat, you know that this is his brain child. Mind you, I haven't seen Utena yet so I can't draw similarities 100%, but I can see some comparisons between Yurikuma and Penguindrum, alone, stylistically. As for the overall story since this, as well as Tokyo Ghoul Root A, are the only shows from this season that I've watched four episodes of, it's actually going at a nice pace and giving us the information when it becomes necessary. As of now, our main character, Kureha, is gaining more knowledge and understanding, while we get an episode of backstory for Lulu. I think it's taking it's time and trying not to rush things way too much, which I'm grateful for. It'll be fun to know where this one ends up heading with it's yuri tendencies and everything. If you wanna give Yurikuma a spin, then head on over to either FUNimation, Crunchyroll, or Hulu (probably) here in the states.

Those are the winter shows I am currently watching! What are you watching this season? Are there any hidden gems you think I'm missing out on? Feel free to let me know! If you're interested in my seasonal coverage of Rolling Girls, World Break, and Yatterman as well as coverage of all the other new shows, check out Infinite Rainy Day right now for our seasonal coverage! Until next time, otaku on my friends!

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