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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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Loose Ends: Summer 2014’s Swansong


The summer season is beginning to wrap up with its series reaching their final episodes. It’s OK though! We have a whole new season to entertain us coming in a little under three weeks time. So I can properly prepare for the next season, I shall be abridging my reviews for the last five anime I’ve left to cover for the summer. These are Nobunaga Concerto, Shounen Hollywood, Bakamatsu Rock, DRAMAtical Murder and Invaders of the Rokujyoma. A little disclaimer here before I begin – I am not saying these anime are not worth your time. All of these shows deserve the same amount of time as the other anime I’ve reviewed; it’s just that time has conspired against us and resulted in a compressed review. So let’s get to it!

Bakamatsu Rock!

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Even though this show is meant to be set in the Edo period of Japan [somewhere between the 1500s and 1700s], do not use this as source material for a history paper on the subject. This show is a very, very tenuous interpretation of that time. There’s modern comforts everywhere from pizza to rock music, lots of rock music. It’s like they replaced samurai with rockers and that’s OK! You quickly begin to realise that this show is not meant to be straight-laced or serious, it’s a fun ride for everyone to enjoy. Sit back and marvel at the brightly coloured characters jet around on screen. Based on a PSP game, Bakamatsu Rock is a visual appetite devoid of blandness but when it comes to the story it’s a whole lot staler. The Japanese government is cracking down on rock music and it’s up to the likes of Ryoma and friends to rage against the machine and collect the Peace Souls in order to ROCK the police! All I’ll say is that I think it’s worth a watch only if you don’t mind a very loosely pieced together plot and like characters having fun and some pretty good music. If not, it’s going to annoy you how thin the plot is by comparison; it feels very neglected.

This is available to stream on Crunchyroll.

RATING: CAUTION

DRAMAtical MURDER

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DRAMAtical MURDER is a straight up shambles, there I said it! Here’s why. It’s clear that this show had very little to work with in terms of resources and far too much content to stuff into it. Hours of gameplay from the BL [boy love] game are condensed into twenty minute episodes and the result is a bit of a mess. The characters look poor, the story feels rushed and the overall feel is rather off. The story focuses around Aoba, a resident on the isle of Midorijima, an island which was privatised by a huge company and the residents have been forced to move to another part of the island. Aoba has been facing a lot of pressure from gangs and other people to participate in the popular virtual reality game Rhyme, but he refuses. Unluckily for him though, he is dragged into it and his life is never the same again. I did give the story a chance to develop like most people online have implored others to, but I still can’t get into it. The anime is comparatively tame when placed next to the original game which is a bad thing as a lot of the general appeal for the title has been lost in the conversion; it all feels awkward like things are wanting to happen but things turn coy all of a sudden. It’s a good summation of this show: missed opportunities.

This is available to stream on Crunchyroll.

RATING: CANCEL

Invaders of the Rokujyoma

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This show was a lot of fun, but I felt like it was missing something. Invaders of the Rokujyoma is a simple tale; Satomi is fighting to keep his apartment which has been invaded [hence the name] by various spirits, oddities, aliens and the like. All want a piece of the action and this sets everything up for a classic harem anime albeit a supernatural one. Sanae is the lead girl as it were; she is the ghost who originally occupied the flat and scared previous owners away, she tries to do this to Satomi but finds a challenge on her hands. Over the course of the anime the five lead girls learn to live with Satomi whilst they all justify their cases to own the bedsit. I find the idea pretty surreal; it’s not even a good looking place to live. It’s student digs! That contributes to the overall amusement of the production. It left me with a smile, if only it had the courage to push further and break into greatness; instead it settles to be an uncomplicated and light-hearted story and something which won’t bother the heavy hitters of the season. That lack of ambition is disappointing but I didn’t feel cheated at all. It’s certainly something to give a shot. Having this rich mix of girls reminds me of Haruhi Suzumiya and The Buried Treasure of Nanana Ryugajo [particularly the ghost element]. Also, for those wondering, fanservice is surprisingly low considering the amount of female characters!

This is available to stream on Crunchyroll.

RATING: CONTINUE

Nobunaga Concerto

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Nobunaga Concerto is yet ANOTHER adaptation of the story of Oda Nobunaga, the famous Japanese warlord. I can count at least three other anime that have come out since I started properly reviewing anime that revolve around this historical figure which tells me two things. First, the guy is a hugely significant person in Japanese history [which I respect] and second that anime executives view the idea as a sort of cash cow. This anime’s idea is to use the cliched time travel gimmick to take delinquent Saburo back into the past and learn about the stories of Nobunaga first hand; as Nobunaga. He’s the spitting image and is forced to take the leader’s place. It’s following the Bill and Ted path to educational prosperity. Radical! The ambition is here but the animation is quite off-putting. Like Knights of Sidonia, Fuji TV [the producers] have gone for a 3D style but it’s not worked well. The first thing I noticed was that the heads of most characters looked they were bobbing around statically whereas the bodies were moving around more freely below. This looseness carries through to the narrative and the whole notion of time travelling and not choosing to exploit your foresight in the past is nonsensical; true Saburo is a dullard who is now learning the importance of history directly and that you SHOULD PAY ATTENTION. You never know when you might get flung back into the past and profit from it! For me, Nobunaga Concerto tries but fails to catch my interest due to its lack of originality when it comes to the story. The backdrops look great though!

This is available to stream on Crunchyroll.

RATING: CAUTION

Shounen Hollywood – Holly Stage for 49 –

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One of the better shows of this season, Shounen Hollywood is a very humble production. It may not be the best produced title this season but it does the business in producing content which is engaging, thoughtful and focused on the characters in a way which isn’t obnoxious, unreal or irritating. The premise is the reformation of the band Shounen Hollywood which was split up fifteen years previously. Today the group is being brought back together with new members Kakeru, Ikuma, Kira, Daiki and Shun. At first glance, you could accuse this show of being a ripoff of shows like Free! in that the premise is formed around good looking guys who each have their own colours of attire and differing personalities; I see your point but do people have to all look the same? People look different and wear different stuff, deal with it! I think what I appreciate most about this series is that it’s a lot more grounded than most slice-of-life series, like it could happen in real life; in fact the whole idea of manufactured boybands is common in society so this anime is just putting that down on paper [or computer these days]. This realism is welcome and makes me feel for each of the characters as well as their general optimism despite the oppressive domain of real life. I seriously would give this a watch if you want some pretty boys to look at AND get to know deeply and actually want them to succeed! This experience feels so complete.

This is available to stream on Funimation’s website.

RATING: CONTINUE

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So that’s it. We’ve managed to tie up the loose ends of the summer. It’s now time to ponder for a while and come up with top and bottom five anime of this season! Catch you later guys!

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