Fall 2014 Anime Preview: The Watchable

This season I watched at least 10 minutes of the first episode of almost all of the series listed over at Stargazed Charts, and while some were QUITE a disappointment, the season as a whole looks promising. This time I’ll point out the series that are watchable–in other words, series which are worth watching if anime is all you spend your free time doing. Otherwise, there are many better shows to fill your time with.

Image of Angelise getting kicked in the stomach real hard. Welcome to Cross Ange.

Cross Ange

Cross Ange generated a lot of chatter around the web between people who found the rape scene in the first episode morally objectionable, and those who decided to push past the scene to stick with the series. I happen to fall into the latter category since the scene seems pivotal to the storyline. However, there’s certainly an issue with the way the rape is portrayed–along with the “TnA” that’s overly-abundant throughout the series–that makes it very clear the demographic Cross Ange is angling for. Ultimately, Cross Ange is a mix of the brutal–a baby’s imprisoned!–and the wonderfully bizarre–a baby’s imprisoned!– leaving the audience to square those two attributes. While I’m intrigued by this series, there are a number of shows that are better than Cross Ange, and it’s getting plenty of coverage elsewhere due to the hubbub it’s creating, so I won’t be reviewing it. Reader beware, and all of that.

Image of the manga store crew

Denki-Gai no Honya-San

As far as comedy series go, Denki-Gai is a watchable show, but one that doesn’t reach beyond the usual Otaku jokes and head nods to lascivious manga. It’s not bad–though the characters feel underdeveloped–just not what I want to watch this season. Otherwise, you’ve found your show.

Image of the Seha girls and their self-aware awful animation

Hi Scoool! Seha Girl

Listen, I’m aware of how much I’m SUPPOSED to like Seha Girl, but this series is limited in enjoyability to those who get a good percentage of the Sega in-jokes, and that simply isn’t me. The animation seems purposefully tacky, which works with the spirit of the show, but it’s not interesting to watch if you can’t fathom most of the references. Still, we don’t see many series of this length–10 to 11 minutes an episode–and its knowing irreverence and interest in geek culture is reminiscent of certain series on Adult Swim in the states. I’d be interested to see more anime in this mold, just hopefully one or two series that my laymen mind can pick up on.

Image of Ronia ready for her badly animated journey

Ronia the Robber’s Daughter

I can’t think of another series, this season or otherwise, that is so negatively effected by it’s animation as Ronia. The story–at least so far–is charming, if a little quaint, and that Ghibli appeal is present to a degree, but dear lord, is the artwork here abysmal. We’re talking early CGI-based FMV’s, where a character’s hair was basically one amorphous blob that lacked any single strands or even movement. All that being said, Ronia is a series that I’ll be covering this season, simply because of its role in the future of Ghibli–if there is a future–and the fact that not many professional sites are covering it on a week to week basis.

Image of Princess Yona contemplating her existence... maybe?

Akatsuki no Yona

Akatsuki no Yona certainly isn’t a bad show, and several scenes–even the overall mood of the series–make for a decently compelling watch. However, much of Akatsuki doesn’t feel like anything we haven’t seen before. Add to that, my complete and utter lack of interest in these historical fantasy shows, and I’m out.

Image of one of those nondescript Yowamushi kids... WITH A BIKE!

Yowamushi Pedal: Grande Road

A handful of seasons ago, I gave plenty of chances to the first Yowamushi series, tuning in for the first dozen episodes. The series was boring–mainly do to a complete lack of character development in the face of heavy bike and bike-race development–and it’s sad to say that nothing much is different here. I’ll be the first to admit that these bike races are a thrill to watch, but none of the characters seem too different from the last time I saw them, and glitzy bike upgrades alone, do not a widely heralded anime make… well, actually, this show is pretty popular… but that doesn’t mean I have to like it!

Image of Seiya and Isuzu in a roller coaster... also terribly animated

Amagi Brilliant Park

Though the mean-spirited humor isn’t really my thing, Amagi may be a worthwhile watch for those of you who liked Rail Wars!(not good) or Sabegebu!!(better, but still not good) from last season. Outside of that, I do wonder if the series has enough plot potential to go anywhere and the animation is pretty bad here at times. Really, Amagi is a toss up that gets barely more than a “Meh…” from me.

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