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Anifile’s People Choice Award for Summer 2014


The summer anime train has almost reached its destination. Shows are wrapping up or have wrapped up as of writing. I’ve listed my TOP FIVE and WORST FIVE anime from this season and I have now turned it over to you guys for your thoughts. I included polls at the end of each list and after a week of voting and around two hundred votes, we have our people’s top five and worst five. Let’s not beat about the bush and get this list underway with the top five!

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#5 – Tokyo Ghoul

The top five was a close affair this season, only five votes spreading as many shows. First off we have Tokyo Ghoul. I remember really liking the offbeat idea of zombies [or zombie-like people] having some kind of community whilst eating people’s flesh. It had a quirky charm to it which I really liked. Why didn’t it make my top five then? It was tough but it was between this or Terror in Resonance and I felt the latter had more shock value.

#4 – Barakamon

I’m very relieved to this on here. Like me, you were all entranced by the simple story and the charming characters which had an original feel and personality about them. Such a laidback show which doesn’t require too much criticial thinking, instead just kick back and enjoy the sweet narrative and gorgeous scenery.

#3 – Aldnoah.Zero

The thinking man’s Gundam. I wasn’t sure about this show in the end all because the main character, Inaho, was a little too dry for my liking. That being said, it’s a very well put together story and supremely clever in its execution; I completely understand why it’s so popular. While it was airing, I regularly saw friends of mine huddled around their tablets catching up on the latest episode; it’s got the West hooked and Aniplex has intentions on bringing it stateside…for a price.

#2 – Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun

You agree with me that this show is brilliant! It’s so adorable and the characters are genuinely funny and engaging. The execution was flawless and the comedy worked for a non-Japanese audience which is not all that common with comedy anime that don’t resort to slapstick. Everything about this production is first-rate. Buy this on DVD when Sentai Filmworks releases it – their twitter account can’t get enough of it!

#1 – Akame ga Kill!

OK. I get why this is here; the characters are colourful and the premise is pretty accessible. I’ve heard nothing but good stuff about this show from everyone I know but my misgivings with the sudden mood swings peppered about the story, it put me off enough to keep it off the top five list but it’s still up there. [If I had a top ten it would be in it.]

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Next up, is the worst five as chosen by you.

#5 – Tokyo Ghoul

This is odd. Tokyo Ghoul starts off both the best and the worst. This is probably because the idea of the show is polarising to some extent. The idea of zombies lusting over human flesh and the almost fetishistic attitude about it could put some people off the idea as would the copious amounts of blood. It’s not a light hearted romp all the time and I imagine that it didn’t sit well for those that voted here.

#4 – DRAMAtical Murder

A massive flop, good and proper. When a show fails to properly adapt its original source material and completely nullifies it, you’re gonna have a bad time. A game with strong yaoi content and pretty boys is stripped off what made it sell and left with something without a sense of direction and even when it gets close, it’s all tons of awkward.

#3 – Momo Kyun Sword

We now have a jump in votes for the top three and we start off with the story of a well-endowed ninja girl with superpowers which involve getting even more scantily-clad. It’s a shame because the idea itself, minus the fanservice, is pretty decent and could’ve worked quite nicely had the amount of female anatomy on show been dialled back A LOT. It looked kind of fun but alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

#2 – Rail Wars!

Another big leap to Rail Wars. Another shameless fanservice show framed around a very baffling premise concerning trains and what if the national rail network was never privatised. The Wars in Rail Wars refers to the rail cops in the show instead of giant train robots fighting; that would’ve been a lot better. Skip this one as it’s cheap, confusing and off-putting. Do not choo-choo-choose this.

#1 – Glasslip

THANK YOU! You, like me, think that this show is one of the least competently written anime in recent memory. Glasslip received almost DOUBLE the amount of votes that #2 got. That is a clear sign that the production was a dire affair full of pointless dialogue, awkward ‘romance’, squandered plot devices, aggravating main characters AND ATROCIOUS PACING. SERIOUSLY.

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So your winner is Akame ga Kill and your ‘winner’ is Glasslip. I guarantee that that will be the only time you’ll get those two anime together in the same sentence! The summer has now ended, sadly; but fear not! We have a new anime season coming up very shortly and I shall be making a preview post on the matter, stay tuned!

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Aldnoah.Zero


Since mankind was able to walk on the Moon, the gaze then turned to our closest relative in the solar system – Mars. Mars may be a dead world in comparison to ours, but it’s the next step in humanity’s voyage to the stars. Terraform a world like Mars and the universe is your oyster. Unfortunately, it has the potential to unveil all sorts of complications; in this case the new humanoid civilisation who settled on the planet and are now telling you to get the hell off using giant robots and ancient magic. When a storm brews in the show Aldnoah.Zero, you’re certainly in for a bumpy ride and an enormous epic.

aldnoah_2The universe that Aldnoah.Zero inhabits is a parallel one. Certain key points in human history have been changed. The biggest one being that on one of the moon landing missions in the seventies, mankind stumbled upon what was known as a Hyper Gate, a teleportation facility that acted as a link between Earth and Mars. Mankind used this as a stepping stone to then transport equipment to Mars and settle there. Unfortunately though, the settlers came across ancient artefacts and energy known as Aldnoah. Upon its discovery, these settlers formed the Vers Empire and cut themselves off from the Earth; you’d think that would be enough for them but oh no! Twenty five years later, they return and start a war with their home world which results in the Moon being destroyed partially. The resulting geographical disasters renders Earth far less habitable than before and mankind struggles to soldier on. It is the year 2014 and the Vers Empire is poised to send its princess down to Earth and strike a peace deal for an ultimate solution. It is here that we meet our main character and his pals. Inaho, a cool and intelligent student and trainee mech pilot, joins his friends at the parade for the Vers princess Asseylum which as you would expect goes completely south when terrorists strike. As a result, the Vers begin an all-out war in retaliation for the presumed death of their princess. She is actually alive though and in the care of Inaho and his friends who are trying to outsmart the Martian forces who have exploited the Aldnoahn technology for their own ends. The rest of the story is all about getting Asseylum back to the Vers Empire and saving mankind from being obliterated in the fracas.

aldnoah_3Aldnoah.Zero is meant to be branded as a sci-fi epic, more substantial than your average Gundam series. The team behind this show is a huge collaboration of some of the best creations in recent history. Ei Aoki, the show’s director, is spearheading a joint venture under the A-1 Pictures banner which encompasses multiple Japanese studios and broadcasters to produce a what could be portrayed as a “paint by the numbers” show but instead produces something with a lot of intelligence, poise and flair whilst also being incredibly cool and emotional. Aoki has managed to take humanity and split it down the middle. The settlers which had left Earth in the seventies, when racial equality and ethics were far more uneven, are a stark contrast to modern day society and they may as well be a different species despite only forty years of separation. Not even two generations. Wow. It may seem a little odd that this new race can be so developed so fast, but when you throw in ancient technology which cannot be compared to a real-life model, then you can do just about anything! It leaves the door open for anything to occur, but is also a get-out-of-jail card for any potential plot-holes. It’s an intricate piece to behold. The main worry I had was that the show would try to do everything so as to appease a committee, but the committee here are like-minded individuals who are creatives at heart and so they are more willing to compromise and produce something which is unique. The bleak and brutal force of the Vers forces against the Earth in the first few episodes is relentless and seemingly unstoppable, you get the feeling of helplessness which humanity must be going through despite anticipating a potential assault. The Vers race hadn’t just upped and left fifteen years previously, they’d been waiting. In the remnants of the Moon, longing to finish the job and strike the Earth. This whole time has been a waiting game and Asseylum’s supposed disappearance is grounds enough to start the assault and it’s here where we start to see things aren’t as simple as you might think in terms of plot.

aldnoah_4There’s betrayal, conspiracy, logic, drama and action all wrapped in this production. It’s an accomplished piece with a superb quality which is a little on the basic side but it’s done with a sheen and pizazz which is not common enough. I, and I’m sure you do as well, want more care and attention to be placed in our anime. It looks stunning and a joy to watch. It’s not perfect though. There are two things I’m not so sure about. Inaho, our main character, is a little too cold and bland for my liking. He keeps his head throughout the early part of the show with little trace of emotion. He is able to show compassion and thought for other people though, but his voice barely changes in timbre and mood which is unsettling for me. He is frightfully intelligent which might explain his more logical mindset. He comes up with ingenious solutions to fight a vastly superior enemy and actually beat them or hold them off. It’s remarkable to watch him talk through a plan and it makes up for his flat demeanour. Another little quibble is that of our princess Asseylum; wouldn’t she have a communication device that transmits back to Mars using Aldnoahn techology? The war could be over in minutes. Just saying. That being said, these are such small points that it’s hardly grounds for you to not watch this show. Be sure to also pay attention to Slaine, the Earth-born minion of Count Cruhteo, who is in love with princess Asseylum and tries to protect her. He is used as an example of how racist and backwards the Vers Empire is and is often beaten up by Cruhteo for any trace of insubordination. It’s enough to make you feel sorry for Slaine and his position of being a persona non-grata on a Martian ship. It’s inevitable that he and Inaho will meet and either work together or duke it out for Asseylum’s affection. Love will creep its way into proceedings somehow!

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Aldnoah.Zero is a brilliantly composed show. It’s got everything you could want for a mecha drama. It has the mechs, the drama, the space battles, the technology surrounding the mechs, a epic premise as well as more the emotionally intensive facets of a narrative such as deceit and corruption with a hint of prejudice thrown in for good measure. I enjoyed my time with this show and respect it a lot for being so sophisticated and clever. It’s not my favourite mech show though, it doesn’t quite have the warm and goofy charm that I long for in a show BUT don’t let that stop you from giving this watch. It’s clear that the writers wanted to take a more serious route and I praise them for getting on with their mission and succeeding.

Aldnoah.Zero is available to stream on Crunchyroll and Daisuki.

RATING: CONTINUE [A serious mech show with superb sceneries and action plus a truly thought-provoking plot.]

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