Category Archives: Spring 2014

Anifile’s Worst 5 Anime of Spring 2014


The Spring 2014 season has had it share of good anime as seen in my top five list, now let’s see what made its way onto the bottom five. This season, like the top five, was a hard one when it came to choosing a list of the five anime I liked the least. Most of the anime I saw were only mediocre or mildly annoying; of course there are some exceptions but the lower half of the list was harder for sure! Like I mentioned in my previous list, I didn’t get to see about ten anime from last season. I will therefore include a small list of the anime I wasn’t sure of when I mentioned them in my preview posts. With that acknowledged, let’s get to the list!

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#5 – Mischief of the Gods

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FULL REVIEW

I knew exactly what I was getting myself into with this one. A thinly veiled reverse harem anime which is framed like a dating sim filled with pretty boys who just so happen to be gods from different religions and time periods. Not only does it feel as flimsy as a soggy piece of paper but it is also laughably ridiculous! When you first meet the gods, flowers blossom before them and show how pretty they are and clearly states that brains are not required…for the most part. I will give kudos to the writers for doing a little research before creating these characters and retaining certain character traits from history but it doesn’t fully pardon this show from making the list. Its vapid nature is not for me. I know it’s aimed for women but that shouldn’t make a difference. Men and women alike want something with substance…you know substance that doesn’t feel like a wet dishrag.

#4 – Blade and Soul

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FULL REVIEW

An example of an unnecessary anime adaptation. Based on a Korean MMO, Blade and Soul tries to envoke the feelings of the game to a Japanese audience which came out not long after the anime started airing. It’s hard to adapt such a massive universe into a linear story; MMOs are meant to be totally non-linear and unique to the player. Instead we got a boring assassin named Alka who got on my nerves with how bland she was. I understand she may have seen some serious stuff growing up but there should still be some personality lingering around, surely! Paired with an unlikeable main cast, overly busty characters and flawed presentation – this show is not worth watching. Play the game. THAT looks cool.

#3 – Dragonar Academy

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FULL REVIEW

Oh boy, here’s when the list becomes easier to quantify. Dragonar Academy is this season’s Magical Warfare. How? IT’S UNORIGINAL AS HELL! It’s like any other magic school that we’ve seen before and doesn’t even tell THAT well. It feels so stock you could make a broth with it! Not only that but it takes the awesome might of a dragon and turns them into lumbering horse-like animals who look like they need to go on a diet. The main duo are also tired facsimilies of characters that we have long since grown tired of; the angry diminutive magical girl and the ‘hero’ guy. Yeah. I’ll stick to Record of Lodoss War or Slayers thank you very much! Remember, kids! Blandness kills.

#2 – Rowdy Sumo Wrestler Matsutarou!!

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FULL REVIEW

What could make this show end up so high on this list? A lot of things, but the biggest crime is that of being a crushing disappointment. I expected something akin to Wreck-It Ralph in that the angry hulk is a timid soul who simply wants recognition…instead we got a hulk who was mean, uncouth and lewd to everybody for the first few episodes; enough to put off even the most forgiving anime enthusiast. It made me feel so dirty after watching it. How could I find hope in such a thing? It didn’t help that Toei’s recent decline in animation quality for anything not Dragonball or Toriko or anything popular is rather distressing and made itself evident with this production. I was shocked with how such a studio could put out something so shoddy both in animation and writing. I understand that Matsutarou is set in the 1970s where things were less refined than today when it comes to gender equality and etiquette for a country bumpkin like our lead, but kindness is timeless. It feels like an anime adaptation that was twenty years too late. Pass.

#1 – Daimidaler: Prince vs Penguin Empire

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FULL REVIEW

Yes. This is the worst. I get that there are two ways you can look at Daimidaler. Firstly, you can look at it as a spoof of all mecha anime and how things can get pretty ridiculous; or there’s the feeling that it’s gone past parody and just become offensive and sickening. I fall in that category. The parody element flew past me and all I saw was something strange, sexist and mean-spirited not to mention be animated so poorly. I was flabbergasted with how poor it was. Studio TNK, the animators of the series, should be disappointed with their ‘work’. The whole notion that a woman’s place is in the cockpit serving the sexual requirements of the male pilot for the good of mankind is enough to drive me to despair. Sick.

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MISSING IN ACTION

As before, here are the shows which I didn’t think much of which I never got around to reviewing fully:

Hero Bank and Dai Shogun – Great Revolution

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Do you agree with my list? Have your own worst? Cast your vote!

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Captain Earth


In every season of anime, there are those shows which are clearly plugged to be one of the standout titles of that clutch of productions. That show which has been lavished with as much praise, attention, staff and time as the studio in question can throw at it. BONES has one of the best teams in the business and it’s taken its animation posse out into low-earth orbit to ward off celestial enemies from the dark side of the Moon. Their ward? A teenager with no idea about his father’s heroic past and a dream to not die; I think that’ll work! With these powers combined, he is Captain Earth!

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This original animation from the famous Japanese studio is directed by Takuya Igarashi, an experienced talent with credits spanning from Sailor Moon, Ouran Host Club and including BONES’ own classic title Soul Eater. With Igarashi at the helm, the team bring to the life the tale of a disillusioned teenager named Daichi. His father died in an ‘accident’ whilst on a mission for the Globe organisation [So I guess the same outfit from Bruno The Kid went into space defense!] . Ever since, Daichi vowed to stay away from the island of Tanegashima, the island where Globe is based and where Daichi used to spend his summers…but he IS spending this summer there all of a sudden…I guess he changed his mind! Whilst this is going on, it becomes apparent that evil forces are preparing for another assault on Earth. The Planetary Gears are a race that live on libido energy [Yes, libido – they are precocious beings!] who hail from the planet Uranus [I get it, they’re sexual deviants!] and if one of these robot should make it to Earth, humanity would be sucked dry! Whilst still a child, Daichi met with a young boy named Teppei who had special rainbow powers and one day the pair of them awoke a special girl who was asleep inside a protective bubble. Not through some special incantation; just by Daichi asking her if she’d like to play with his boomerang [Daichi, please!]. After that day, the trio were separated and it’s only now when the Planetary Gears are mounting a new assault that they’re all brought together again. Daichi is then lured by an urge to re-enter the abandoned base he entered as a kid by a young girl who then gives him a magic gun; he is then whisked away to another base and given the keys to Earth’s mightiest weapon – the Earth Engine. Through awesome suit-up sequences, Daichi protects the Earth with this killer mech against the kinky Kiltgang.

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I forgot to mention earlier that Igarashi and his chief writer Yoji Enokido worked together on another BONES mecha series. I did that for a reason and here it is. They helped create Star Driver. The second I realised this factoid, Captain Earth‘s aesthetic and flamboyant style with less of a regard to narrative cohesion made perfect sense. Other parallels were made clear – the use of a summery island as a backdrop, sensual robots, singing alien girls instilling power, intricate mech designs and ‘transformation’ sequences; they all correlate! However in my opinion, I feel that Captain Earth is a slightly more grounded series in comparison to Star Driver; it’s as if the producers took a leaf out of the more recent Gundam series’ book and made something a little more stock, but that’s not stopped Star Driver‘s ideals trickle into the show’s look and feel. This focus on presentation has led to a production which is very gorgeous and more than able to hook people in on looks alone.

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Behind the veil of epic vistas and insanely detailed robotics is a narrative which is less appealing. Not unappealing, only less so than its visual cousin. In the first episode in particular, one is left dazed and confused by the huge amount of terminology being thrust into one’s face – Machine Goodfellows, Kiltgang, libido, Earth Engine; it’s a little much for a first outing. If this had been delivered in bitesize chunks then the narrative would have been easier to understand at first. There are lots of unanswered questions at first; but I think I can understand where the writers are going. Their intention is to throw everything on the figurative table and see where it falls and then piece everything together over the course of the series until we get one complete image from which the fans can spread across the internet. It’s a bold strategy and one that could backfire had BONES not paid close attention to the art style. That art style is more than enough to keep people interested despite the bamboozling writing tactics. The artwork and the writing work together to create something which is complex, thoughtful and satisfying. In fact, there is a strong nod to one of history’s greatest writers with references peppered across the narrative. William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a strong influence here. There are two standout hints. One being the name of Daichi, Teppei and Hana’s team – The Midsummer Knights and the other being the mischievous AI Puck [emulating the character of the same name from the Shakespearean tale] who is bound to cause trouble during the series.

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Three of the main characters, Daichi, Teppei and Hana [the girl the two boys found inside the Globe base] are an obvious trio who use their powers and skills to aid Earth against the Planetary Gears. They are partnered by a spunky redhead named Akari who initially acts as an overseer of Daichi’s first mission and is seen as an enigmatic character…but then turns out to be a peppy teenager who is also Daichi’s cousin. This sudden twist in character model is quite jarring but it’s obvious that she is a prodigal hacker who shows her skill countless times whilst also having a personality unlike most insanely talented hackers in anime! Overseeing all of this character development is the organisation named Salty Dog overseeing Globe’s operations and believes that the three are dangers to society and try to contain them with little success. This subplot of Hana and Teppei being locked down was powerful despite its relative brevity in the grand scheme of things. It conveys that these two special beings have been repressed for the longest time and only with the return of Daichi can they flourish and they do. They have the chance to be themselves and form new personalities alongside their new friend and cohort. This is but one of Captain Earth‘s elaborate pieces to be used to complete its ultimate puzzle.

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What viewers will have to understand when watching Captain Earth is that this is not an episodic tale. You can’t miss one single episode as important puzzle pieces will be placed down and new pieces will brought into the mix; you’ll be lost if you don’t pay close attention. If you do you will be rewarded with a beautiful show to look at for twenty four minutes weekly. The show’s mission to be Spring 2014’s champion is on course for becoming a reality for the general anime audience; this show is going to be huge across the international anime community. Does it do that for me? Yes, to a point. I really like this show and it’s probably going to be in my top five anime of this season but it’s not quite number one material. There’s plenty of time for that to change though, I’m certainly going to see how this puzzle forms over the coming weeks.

Captain Earth is available to stream on Crunchyroll.

RATING: CONTINUE [A very good example of how a modern mech show should look!]

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Spring 2014: Preview Summary


The Spring 2014 preview has been completed and we have had thirty-six brand new series presented before us. Based on their review priority rating [RPR], I have come up with a basic order in which I will review the shows in question based on my initial impressions. You may think that this is prejudging these shows before they’ve even aired but we could easily have some of these shows pull a surprise out from under their metaphorical, you never know until the first few episodes have aired what you’re going to get!

If you missed any of the individual genre videos, click the following links to catch up!
Action / Fantasy & Magic / Comedy / Slice Of Life /
Sports / Sci-fi & Mecha / Game Adaptations

So what have we deduced from these first glimpses? Going from my RPR ratings, rated high to low, we have got this little chart:

RPR #
High 4
Medium-High 8
Medium 13
Medium-Low 8
Low 3

The outlook is good based on this reviewer’s first impressions. Most of these shows look good with some either being above or below average with only a few being considered lacklustre. Below is a list of shows indexed in order of review priority:

High Priority: Devil’s Riddle Story, No Game No Life, Soul Eater Not! & Captain Earth.

These shows have managed to catch my interest down to their innovative art styles, compelling plot and different spin on previously established archetypes. Reviews will be more forthcoming for these titles.

Medium-High Priority: Haikyuu!!, Brynhildr in the Darkness, Selector Infected WIXOSS, Chaika: The Coffin Princess, One Week Friends, Knights of Sidonia, The Irregular at Magic High School & Ping Pong The Animation.

The medium-high list are the shows which are still very good but didn’t quite fill me with rapture at first sight or seemed to play it a little to safe for my liking. Reviews will be posted slightly later.

Medium Priority: Atelier Escha & Logy, Black Bullet, Majin Bone, Dai Shogun – Great Revolution, If She Were To Raise The Flag, Mekaku City Actors, M3: That Black Steel, Even So The World Is Beautiful, Mischief of the Gods, Break Blade, Baby Steps, The Kawai Complex… & Roughneck Wrestler Matsutarou!!

The medium list comprises those productions which have either been considered good or inconclusive based on little or no information. This third premise is for shows that have either had no trailer or minimal content surrounding it published. Instead of labelling it bad, medium is a temporary default for such titles.

Medium-Low Priority: The Comic Artists and His Assistants, Dragonar Academy, Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers, The Buried Treasure of Nanana Ryugajo, Hero Bank, Blade & Soul, Daimidaler – The Sound Robot & Magica Wars.

The medium-low priority list is populated with shows that seem to either be OK or slightly disappointing based on its promotional presentation. Some of these shows DO have sparks of potential and I’m hoping to see them shimmer and generate a better review score.

Low Priority: Locodol, Is The Order A Rabbit? & Sudden Death.

The low priority list. The shows which seem to have no hope for being good or original. The shows whose existence is questionable, depressing or bemusing. Two of these titles are here because there’s no trailer or supporting content to go with it other than one poster and a small blurb surrounding its plot. Their outlooks aren’t good but you never know. What I do know is that these will be reviewed with less of a priority than the other shows listed.

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One important to remember is that things can change. Shows can go up or down in estimation, we cannot speculate too much in terms of quality or ‘goodness’ until we actually get some episodes under our figurative belts. These ratings are merely for ordering my review roster. I’ll be sure to change things up a little bit and throw in a low or medium-low anime further up just so it becomes a teensy less predictable though; keep you on your toes!

So what anime are you looking forward to? Now’s your chance to vote for as many shows as you like so we can get a gauge on what the Anifile audience is excited about. If the results for one show in particular are high enough but the show is further down the review list, I will respond by pushing it up a little bit. ;)

Right – the stage is set. Let’s watch some anime!

 

Spring 2014: Game Adaptations


Our final showcase of series from Japan are those projects which are based on pre-existing or planned games either on video game consoles or physical trading cards/merchandisable collectibles. Some are well established, some are new, we’re here for all of these and there are a ton of them this season; as many as sci-fi/mecha properties! Let’s get going!

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Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky
[Tasogare no Sora no Renkinjutsushi]

Genre: Alchemy
Animation Studio: Studio Gokumi
Origin: Game [Gust Co.]
Console: Playstation 3
Airing Date: April 10 2014

Summary
The world we live in is approaching its end. Its number of Dusks is almost at an end. One nation in the western region of the Land of Dusk has managed to thrive despite this prospect by harnessing the power of alchemy. Its citizens have devoted their time to rediscover the ancient techniques of alchemy in order to survive. Two young alchemists, Escha and Logix [Logy] reside in the town of Central and use their skills to aid its Development Department.

Initial Thoughts
Atelier is a long running game series having started in 1997, it has a strong back catalogue of content. Now we get an anime adaptation of its fifteenth major entry. It has had ten of those games released in western markets and as such, the show has a solid presence in America and Europe. Its presentation looks solid enough and will attempt to invoke the same atmosphere that the original game did. I’ve not played any of the games due to not knowing about the series before now, so as a newcomer, I want to see if this anime can entice me on its own merit.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium

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Blade & Soul

Genre: MMORPG/Fantasy
Animation Studio: Gonzo
Origin: Game [Team Bloodlust]
Console: PC
Airing Date: April 4 2014

Summary
The Wind Empire, a brand new empire is planning to bring down the crumbling Stratus Empire and bring about a new era of equality yet bringing to an end nearly a thousand years of peace. However, amidst all this upheaval, the ancient Darksiders organisation is threatening to return and bring chaos to the world.

Initial Thoughts
This series is an adaptation of a Korean online multiplayer game which was released in 2012. Its developer, NCSoft, has intended the game to come to the US but it has yet to materialise. Based on a new person’s perception, it seems to be a standard fantasy/action affair. Skimpy costumes carried over from the game [mostly played by guys I’d suspect] sort of cheapen the impact this game could have but there’s some really cool action sequences squeezed into the trailers I’ve seen. However, I reckon this show is meant to be a promotional exercise for the Japanese release of the game which is due out halfway through the show’s intended run. Soulless marketing strategy? I hope not.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium-Low

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Magica Wars
[Mahou Shoujo Taisen]

Genre: Magic
Animation Studio: Gainax
Origin: Game [DMM Games]
Console: Playstation Vita
Airing Date: April 8 2014

Summary
Magica Wars brings to life magical girls based on the forty-seven prefectures of Japan. The character designs themselves are based on a contest on the Japanese site Pixiv and is a culmination of multiple interactive outings prior to an anime.

Initial Thoughts
I don’t know what to think. There are no trailers that I could find concerning the anime, only a trailer for the recently released Vita game. All this interaction with the anime fanbase is a clever idea as is the personification of Japan’s regions into magical girls. It’s all very anime and very Japan. However, in terms of overall impression, there seems to be little to get excited about. I’m slightly curious, but not engaged all that much.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium-Low

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40kIL9zcYfM
[preview for the game]

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Hero Bank

Genre: Trading Card Game
Animation Studio: TMS Entertainment
Origin: Game [Sega]
Console: Nintendo 3DS
Airing Date: April 7 2014

Summary
A small town kid named Kaito suddenly has almost one hundred million dollars of debt put on him through as of yet unexplored reasons. In order to repay his new debt, he has to master the power of the Hero Suit and win battles using this suit in the new cyber sport, Hero Battle. Its own tagline is “Change your money with justice!”

Initial Thoughts
This is a typical kids’ franchise. A 3DS game and a very action-based, loud and obnoxious anime to tie in with it and promote sales. Again, this is a cross-platform venture to promote the game. Its conception may not be as morally interesting as I’d like it to be, but the costumes look cool. It’s not meant for my age range, but it’s a vaguely interesting idea.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium-Low

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Majin Bone

Genre: Trading Card Game
Animation Studio: Toei Animation
Origin: Game [Bandai]/Manga [Sugita]
Console: Online
Airing Date: April 1 2014

Summary
Majin, the universe’s creator, has been brought back to life in a present day world. Ryujin, a normal high school student [inspired!] is given the power of the Dragonbone fighter after being bestowed the Bone Card by a band of similarly clad fighters which have arrived on Earth. These warriors fight the evil Dark Bone in order to save the world. Its additional tagline is “…could the true enemy be ourselves?”

Initial Thoughts
Despite the whole game/anime/manga cross-platform release marketing strategy, this anime looks cool. It has a different style and the visuals are very captivating. The animated fighters have distinctive designs akin to Super Sentai only with more of an emphasis on robotics. Its end goal [to save the world] is a little Saturday morning cartoon-like for me, but I’m still curious to see the bits in between.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium

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Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers

Genre: Action/Superpowers
Animation Studio: Toei Animation
Origin: Game [Trading Disk Game/Marvel]
Airing Date: April 2 2014

Summary
The Avengers [including Spider Man] team up with several young teenagers in order to defeat the evil Loki using the powers of Disk War Disks.

Initial Thoughts
If you know about Marvel, you’ll know about The Avengers. It’s the same basic plot we’ve seen in the 2012 movie only with additional merchandise and more teenagers. This is pure Saturday-morning cartoons for Japanese boys. It’s not meant to be deep, it’s a child-orientated battle against evil. Simple as. Looks cool but a pure money-spinning exercise. At least it’s The Avengers.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium-Low

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Selector Infected WIXOSS

Genre: Trading Card Game
Animation Studio: J.C. Staff
Origin: Original [J.C. Staff/Sato]
Airing Date: April 4 2014

Summary
Six girls, who are players of the popular WIXOSS card game, are suddenly bestowed the title of Selector. They are able to hear voices attributed to certain cards known as “Rulig Cards”. These girls are thrust into another dimension in order to act out battles with their cards in a real world setting. Whoever wins a match will have their wish granted.

Initial Thoughts
This looks interesting. The trailer for this show is very psychedelic and riddled with sadistic and horrific visuals coupled with the usually tame premise of a card game. The series will have a card game to accompany the show which is unusual as the anime comes first instead of the other way around. Unlike most card game-based series, this show seems to be able to stand on its own, it has to as there’s no other supporting material in which to be released with. I like this idea and how it’s presented. It has potential.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium-High

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Mischief of the Gods
[Kamigami no Asobi ~Ludere Deorum~]

Genre: Romance/Supernatural
Animation Studio: Brains Base
Origin: Game [Nippon Ichi Software/Broccoli]
Console: Playstation Portable
Airing Date: April 5 2014

Summary
Yui Kasanagi is charged by Zeus, the Greek god, to teach young and boisterous gods the art of love. Zeus is not only a god but these young rapscallions’ headmaster. This endeavour is intended to counteract the weakening connection between the human world and the heavens after years of secularisation.

Initial Thoughts
In a nutshell, this is a reverse-harem property [one woman with many pretty men]. These gods are left smouldering around and constantly flirting with Yui whilst initially not taking seriously the issue that is the crux of this show – humanity’s diminishing spirtual connection with the divine. It’s a true summation of most western cultures and minorities in Japan despite the country as a whole being very faithful to its Shinto roots. This idea is a lot deeper than the show conveys meaning that it’ll ensnare those looking for pretty men as well as discussing the importance of religion. Double whammy.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium

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So that wraps up our look at Spring 2014 lineup. The anime featured will soon be upon us, but before we get started with those series, we shall summarise my picks as well as some basic statistics including your chance to vote for the shows that you’re looking forward to. Thanks for reading and I’m looking forward to this new season! Catch ya later!

Spring 2014: Sci-Fi & Mecha


Our penultimate entry in the Spring 2014 preview is one of Japan’s quintessential lines of anime: the science fiction and mecha genre. It’s the first type of show you think of when you think of anime. It’s the type of show that originally crossed over to the western market with the likes of Macross and Voltron leading the way [despite being adapted a fair bit]. These shows have a lot to live up to with such a huge catalogue of gems created over the past fifty years; do these shows hold up? Let’s find out! There’s a lot of them!

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Captain Earth

Genre: Sci-fi/Mecha
Animation Studio: Bones
Origin: Original [Igarashi]
Airing Date: April 6 2014

Summary
Just before his summer vacation, a young boy named Daiji witnesses a celestial event happen right above him – a spherical rainbow. He ventures closer and the mysterious circumstances behind his father’s death ring in his head when he is thrust into combat when an alien batallion from Uranus attacks Earth. Daiji is plunged into this war and his life is changed forever.

Initial Thoughts
Goodness. It’s a beautiful show with a very epic soundtrack and visual presentation. It has a very technical setting whilst being that little bit stylish to add some artistic flair. I do find it a little dubious that Daiji is mistaken for a captain without any sort of background check but hey that’s what the plot has decreed and we shall see how it goes. Based on the art style alone, I am excited for this that’s for sure.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: High

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Dai Shogun – Great Revolution
[Fuun Ishin Dai Shogun]

Genre: Action/Mecha
Animation Studio: J.C. Staff
Origin: Original [Watanabe/J.C.Staff]
Airing Date: April 10 2014

Summary
Dai Shogun is a ‘what-if’ tale set in the late 1800s where the Meiji Restoration never took place and as such Japan remained cut off from the rest of the world. In place of the foreign ships and vessels that would have ventured to Japan, we get ancient giant robots named Onigami. With the Meiji Resortation being removed from history, Japan did not become the ultramodern nation that we know today and maintained its Shogunate political framework. The Onigami put paid to foreigners infiltrating the land.

Initial Thoughts
It’s an interesting concept…in theory. What if Japan remained closed off? Quite a lot of its traditional values would have been maintained and history would have been changed across the world. That idea on its own would have been cool; but we get giant robots thrown in for good measure – and these are old beggars too! Ancient Japanese society loved them robots! I don’t have much to go on as of yet but it seems like a curious idea to follow at least to begin with.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium

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Brynhildr in the Darkness
[Gokukoku no Brynhildr]

Genre: Sci-fi/Drama
Animation Studio: Arms
Origin: Manga [Okamoto]
Airing Date: April 6 2014

Summary
Ryota is a boy struggling to cope with the death of his childhood friend whom he felt responsible for her death which was considered an accident. They both had a promise to prove that aliens exist and he has dedicated his time to realise their dream by joining the school’s astronomy club. Then he meets a girl named Neko who is a carbon copy of his friend…who so happens to be on the run from a scientific facility who just so happens to have magic powers.

Initial Thoughts
If you think this anime looks and sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Lynn Okamoto, the author of this story, is the same author of the classic anime Elfen Lied. There are quite a few elements in the plot which are similar if not the same as the classic. Powerful experiment on the run, violence, cute girls, innocent male main character without a mean bone in his body. If this were any other author you would accuse them of copying, but since this is the same author, we can chalk this up to perhaps a new spin on her original concept. In any case, this is certainly a show to watch on its own artistic and narrative merit, especially if you loved Elfen Lied!

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium-High

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Daimidaler – The Sound Robot
[Kenzen Robo Daimidaler]

Genre: Mecha/Comedy
Animation Studio: TNK
Origin: Manga [Nakama]
Airing Date: April 5 2014

Summary
Our story revolves around Kouichi, a guy with a high number of Hi-ERo particles which grants him the ability to power the mighty giant robot Daimidaler. He is joined in his endeavour by the Prince Beauty Parlor’s agent Kyoko and it’s up to them to save the world from the Penguin Empire.

Initial Thoughts
Uhhh…yeah. This is about killer penguins attacking the Earth. Right. You probably guessed from the initial outline that this is a comedy. You can’t take seriously a show that chooses to have penguins as the enemy. Not to mention that this has a LOT of sexual content, like a LOT. Groping, scantily-clad women, posing, panties as far as the eye can see, you name it! Push that part to one side for a moment and you can see that this show’s visual presentation is a little flaky; the robot, Daimidaler, looks ugly. It’s so out of proportion and stick-thin. It doesn’t look that powerful. So it sort of falls short in the basic giant robot requirement – look awesome. Oh well, since this is meant to be a spoof, I can cut it a little slack but I’m not exactly holding my breath here.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium-Low

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M3: That Black Steel
[M3: Sono Kuroki Tetsu]

Genre: Mecha/Action
Animation Studio: Satelight
Origin: Original [Sato/Okada]
Airing Date: April 30 2014

Summary
In terms of plot, there’s little to go on here with only a short teaser being released. However, what we can gleam is that the setting is in a time not too far in the future with giant robots slowly taking on the form we know and love. According to the teaser, there is a pit of darkness and despair known as the Avidya Zone. From within that zone, huge creatures named Imashime are conjured to wreak havoc and it’s up to eight teenagers to save humanity from these beings.

Initial Thoughts
There’s not much content present here but you can look at the staff roster and realise there’s a lot of strong names here; Junichi Sato [director of the first two Sailor Moon series] being one of them. As for its presentation it seems interesting enough. The Avidya Zone conveys the right amount of evil vibes to be spooky yet not traumatic. The characters look a little plain but I think it’s a story that has legs. The whole teenagers being the last hope gimmick is a little paper thin though but here’s hoping it holds water.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium

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Mekaku City Actors

Genre: Sci-fi/Rom-com
Animation Studio: Shaft
Origin: Light novel [Jin/Shidu]
Airing Date: April 12 2014

Summary
Shintaro is eighteen years old and hasn’t left his room in two years. One day though, a cybernetic girl named Ene causes him to venture outside to get a new keyboard. He then stumbles upon the “Blindfold Gang” a group of teenagers out to fight crime. Shintaro eventually joins this group and this tale is about the band of teens with powers related to the human eye.

Initial Thoughts
This show was initially created by Jin and originally known as Kagerou Project, a Vocaloid based series. In terms of trailers, there’s little here other than short character introductions which are hard to decipher if you’re not Japanese. However what you can gleam is that this show is fast-paced, high in action and contains powers involving vision. It’s hip, edgy and extremely cool. I think it has potential to be good and I look forward to checking it out properly.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium

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Break Blade

Genre: Mecha/Fantasy
Animation Studio: Production I.G.
Origin: Manga [Yoshinaga]
Airing Date: April 6 2014

Summary
Our series focuses around the impending war between the kingdom of Krisna and the city of Athens. In this world, people are able to tap into the power of quartz for whatever purpose they require; except one person, Rygart Arrow. Despite his inability to use the precious stone, this means that he can pilot an ancient Golem [rock robot?] and prove his worth for Krisna in their struggle against Athens.

Initial Thoughts
This show has my attention. Unlike the usual “this person has a gift” storyline, this show turns that on its head and praises a character for having no skill and yet still be useful. It’s a nice twist to have in a world of Attack on Titan and countless other child missing links. However, this show does ape the aforementioned show in terms of walled cities being attacked from huge things [in this case, robots] and over-the-top, agile battle sequences. The animation in the previews is also a little patchy but I think it has legs in terms of narrative. Let’s see where this goes.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium

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Knights of Sidonia
[Sidonia no Kishi]

Genre: Mecha/Action
Animation Studio: Polygon Pictures
Origin: Manga [Nihei]
Airing Date: April 11 2014

Summary
One thousand years after Earth was surrendered to the mighty alien beings known as Gauna, the Earth-made ship known as Sidonia is seemingly the last trace of the human race which has perfected a range of human enhancement technologies such as cloning and biological implants akin to Japan’s openness to such practices. Our story focuses on Nagate, a boy who has constantly practiced the art of piloting Sidonia’s Guardian robots to one day hopefully become a pilot. Shortly after his grandfather’s passing, he is discovered by the Guardian regiment and quickly signed up to help protect humanity from the Gauna.

Initial Thoughts
One thing that’ll leap out at you is that this is anime, but not as you know it. It’s 3D. CGI. The character are CGI models and the entire production is 3D instead of using 3D elements with 2D drawings. It adds a whole new feel to proceedings as well as a more fluid animation making everything seem a little more real and dynamic. It really ties into the whole fast-paced feel I get form this show. The preview I saw demonstrated the animation skills of Polygon Pictures and it left me impressed. Very much so. I can’t wait to see the whole package!

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium-High

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So, we got quite a few interesting concepts in this field this season. It’s understandable seeing as there’s such a wealth of experience and artistry knocking around the animation studios of Japan as well as its writers. Hopefully this should satisfy your craving for suiting up and flying off in your own giant robot. Next time is our last entry, looking at the anime that were originally video games. Don’t forget to save!