Summer 2014 anime review

Summer 2014 anime review

SummerAnime2014With the Fall 2014 line-up having just begun, I thought I would take a quick look back over the animes I have reviewed this season and do a swift summary and conclusion on them all. Many of my reviews were written only a few episodes in, and some of my opinions may have changed since all those months ago. Besides, one of the things that I think makes a good anime (or book, film or game, for that matter) is how good their ending is. Here I will take a look at those very important endings and rate them, in reverse order. Since these are ending reviews, there will be spoilers!

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15. Momo Kyun Sword

Unfortunately, this season’s countdown begins in the ‘I can’t believe I actually wasted my time on this series’ sector. The main perpetrator here being Momo Kyun Sword. What first started off as a fun and interesting anime soon spiralled down into nonsensical actions, too much fanservice, and the most disappointing ending ever. The ending that I predicted took too long presenting itself, and by the time that it did I just didn’t care anymore. The characters just became annoying and I was relieved when it ended. I will have to bring the ‘three episode rule’ into effect next season.

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14. GLASSLIP

I had such high hopes for GLASSLIP. It started off very promising but then the plot began to unravel and lost its direction, as if the writers suddenly stopped and thought “Wait a minute, where was all of this going again?” It got to the point where I was trying to follow the plot, became a little confused, but realised that it wasn’t worth my time to go back and watch something I might have overlooked, but to just plough through. In fact, looking back, I realise that I had lost track of the point of this series many episodes ago. I was always hoping for a shocking twist to save this one – but nothing showed. Did Touko ever see a fragment of the future and think: wow, is my life actually this boring? Perhaps it would have been better for everyone if she had.

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13. Invaders of the Rokujyouma!?

Unlike Momo Kyun Sword and GLASSLIP, the ending to Invaders of the Rokujyouma!? didn’t leave me feeling personally offended, but it still was nowhere near the best. After all the action that kicked off with evil magical girls, attacks from the Earth People and the general step-up in drama that hooked me back in when I was about to write this one off, the last episode managed to dampen my enthusiasm with a shockingly safe and boring Christmas party, with the only festive gift being elongated reflections and flashbacks from Koutarou which, like him, were fairly dull and uninspiring. Yes, I remember what happened with each character – I have been watching since the start. It almost felt like a filler episode that only succeeded in fizzling out the pace that was building up. Disappointing end.

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12. Magimoji Rurumo

Here we begin to enter the realm of ‘ending episodes that actually run like finales’. Though I enjoyed watching Magimoji Rurumo, it was nowhere near my favourite. I’m not saying that it didn’t have its moments (especially in the last two or three episodes – I felt that this anime really began to find its feet, albeit a little too late), but I thought that a show with magic would go out with a little bit more of a bang (final episode fireworks excluded). There were so many more magical tickets to go through, why wasn’t there more on this? Perhaps there will be a second season? There were a few questions to be asked with this one.

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11. Love Stage!!

A nice ending, but a little predictable. I was pleased for Izumi – I found him to be a really likeable character, which is more than I can say for Ryouma, which I ended up actively disliking. I guess this is why I was so conflicted with the ending. I can’t say there was anything that it lacked, nor can I suggest anything that might have made this better. Love Stage!! was more about the ride rather than the destination, and I did enjoy the ride, so I can’t really criticise too much. I just think it lacked something that I can’t put my finger on.

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10. Locodol

The same sort of middling thoughts apply to Locodol as they do to Love Stage!!, though I liked both protagonists in this one so it ranked a little higher. I didn’t expect the Nagarekawa Girls to win the Locodol Festival (not sure if this was supposed to be a shock to the viewers or not), but then I didn’t expect it to be the be-all-and-end-all. They both got back to perform for the town’s most important festival, and they saw how important they had become to the community, and I thought that this made this anime special somehow. Overall, I was pleased with how this one ended, but again, it was another ‘ride’ anime rather than a ‘destination’ one.

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9. HaNaYaMaTa

HaNaYaMaTa, again, very similar. I found this one to be the most enjoyable with its catchy music and young, compelling characters. The yosakoi concept was good, and worth sticking around to see the club perform at the very end with all its members. Watching Hana go back to America was a sad scene, but at the same time it meant that Naru’s safety net/comfort blanket had been removed, and if she really wanted to succeed at something, it finally meant standing on her own two feet. I felt that this theme was approached very well, and anything extra to that was a bonus – included Hana’s dramatic return for one more performance with her friends.

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8. Aldnoah Zero

Aldnoah Zero I found to be one of the slowest burners of the season, so I was pleasantly surprised with the action, plot-twists and drama that appeared towards the end. A complex and sophisticated plot revealed itself and ending on some real shocking moments that re-grabbed my attention. I hope that there’s a second season to this one, as things have only started to get interesting!

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7. Bladedance of the Elementalers

This was an anime that I enjoyed from the very beginning, and the ending didn’t disappoint me. Everything finished with with an impressive group battle with some great attacks, and we got to see something new from all the characters involved. There was also some interesting scenes at the very end that hint at a probable second season – so here’s hoping that this is a possibility!

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6. Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya 2wei

Most of this final episode was the ending of the great battle with Bazett, with Rin making the big revelation that there is an eighth card somewhere out there. I was really impressed with the action scenes in this one – they just got better and better. This is another one that ended the final episode with the hint that there might be more to follow. Truth be told, I’m a big Type-Moon fan and love anything to do with the Fate series, so of course I will be keeping an eye out for more.

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5. Sabagebu! – Survival Game Club! –

Not one long story, but a smattering of small, amusing ones, Sabagebu! was consistently funny and its comic violence was always refreshing to watch after seeing some of the more heavy-hitting animes. It always delivered every week with short, sharp stories action-packed and hilariously silly. It was definitely one of my favourites this season.

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4. Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun

I always looked forward to Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun, enjoying the shenanigans of the group and seeing how manga was produced. At the same time, I always hoped that something would develop between Sakura and Nozaki, as unlikely as that seemed to be. However, the final episode was great. The two of them had a moment at the end that was satisfactory for my wish for something to happen whilst staying true to their personalities i.e. Nozaki-kun being far to dense to ever realise that Sakura has romantic feeling for him!

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3. Persona 4: The Golden Animation

It’s no big secret that I’m a real fan of the Persona franchise. It was great to see all the characters from the PlayStation game in all their glory just as I remembered them. Things were kept interesting by Marie and all of the mystery surrounding her and we really got to see all the characters and their powers. We don’t usually see much personality from main character Yu, so I looked forward to watching his personality develop when I wasn’t the one making all the decisions for him (he’s much nicer in the anime than what I make him into). The last few episodes were almost non-stop action and held a lot of interesting revelations, which was absolutely fantastic.

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2. DRAMAtical Murder

I really loved the ending to this episode. It seemed like the abstract craziness that had been present from the very beginning suddenly stopped holding back and just went nuts. The animation was truly brilliant and the end battle was full-on. True, some bits were quite confusing, but because the story and plot was so gripping, I always caught up. Loved the characters, loved the action, loved the really bizarre ending. I never saw it coming (and it wasn’t for lack of trying).

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1. Free! Eternal Summer

If this wasn’t near the top of everybody’s rating ranking, then there is something very wrong with the world. For the last few episodes, Free! has been really turning up the tension ready for a great finale. For the first time in two seasons, we were seeing a more emotional side to Haruka as he realised that everyone was getting ready to move onto the next stage of their lives, and he had no idea on what he was going to do after this school year. The elongated scene where the Iwatobi swim club swim the relay together was very well executed and really set it apart from all the other scenes where they swim i.e. a lot. Then followed a wonderfully emotional scene with them all celebrating together. If you weren’t moved by this conclusive episode I would be worried. It’s really come a long way in two short seasons.