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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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Anifile’s Worst 5 Anime of Summer 2014


This season was pretty tough to pick which anime were my favourites, as was picking my worst; well THE worst one wasn’t! The trend of this chart was that of disappointment, anime which failed to live up to my expectations or quickly descended into mediocrity or simply made no sense from the start! Not a lot of rage here just sadness of what might have been. Right, let’s begin!

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#5 – Bladedance of the Elementalers

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FULL REVIEW

You might be wondering why this show is in the worst five list, it wasn’t that bad. I even said so myself! The reason is simply that it was a massive disappointment. Bladedance of the Elementalers had a lot of hype prior to release and seemed really good from what I heard from my friends; but when I came to view it though it was pretty mediocre at best. I think what got me annoyed mostly was the main character, Claire. She was so grating and ungrateful and selfish that she rubbed me up the wrong way. I didn’t want to sit through her exploits which often almost gets her friends killed. Plus the thrusting of her other lolita idol, Est, into our faces when she is first introduced in human form was so awkward that it threw me off balance despite the fact she is kind of cute; I didn’t feel comfortable! If you stick through this and accept the fact you’re not going to break new territory with this anime you can just about get through it in one piece. For me though, it’s something I cannot stomach.

#4 – Silver Will Argevollen

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FULL REVIEW

Argevollen is another case of disappointment for me. I was expecting a giant robot drama and all I got was a derivative of an anime which came out in the seventies. It’s a Gundam 0080 clone, straight up. The warring nations, the military mechs all looking like generic boxes and the sudden appearance of an unearthly mech all of a sudden. Coupled with unengaging characters which mostly follow convention save for the few plot twists which are scattered far and wide over the twenty-four episode run that this series has. There is potential for this anime to develop in its second half during the autumn season but it has failed to hook me in in the here and now. I, quite frankly, would rather watch Gundam because that’s more authentic than this rehash. It didn’t help that the show’s director is one of my favourites [Tatsuo Sato] and that he really dropped the ball with this one. Shame.

#3 – Momo Kyun Sword

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FULL REVIEW

Yep, another disappointment. This one was less of a surprise though. I knew this was going to be the show that was destined for public crucifixion. On the surface, it looks like a shameless fanservice anime with a theme around peaches and PEACHES. The detailing on Momoko’s breasts was hard to ignore and the attention they got condemned the show for most; but if you can look past the bosoms and look at the show as a whole, it’s not so bad. It’s a fun and simple story with some pretty cool powers, transformations and comedy which would fit the bill for a supernatural samurai romp. If Momoko had a normal figure, the fanservice was pushed back and the CAMERAMAN WASN’T INEPT it would be a decent show which you could have a little fun with. Instead, it’s an irritating and saddening anime which failed to be anything other than a cheap excuse to look at two dimensional boobs. I’m being generous here as it had promise. Moving on.

#2 – Rail Wars!

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FULL REVIEW

Oh man, this was a pretty swift about-face for me. When I reviewed this back in July I thought the show was OK, nothing special but decent. Almost three months later and near the end of its run, it’s become a nigh-on train wreck. You try and explain the concept of Rail Wars to people and you’re left clutching at straws. Is it about fighting trains? Is it about rival train operators? No, it’s rail cops. OK. It could be pretty exciting but it’s not! It’s pretty awkward over the course of the show’s run with only flickers of brightness in an otherwise complicated mess of a story about a guy who like trains. Can you really make an anime about that? No! You have to shove him into a situation he’s uncomfortable with and throw in TONS of breast and butt shots to make things even remotely interesting. Then you have the plots; they’re just random and confusing, each more ridiculous than the last. If you want to watch Rail Wars I insist you check out GiggUK’s hilarious parody here. [Strong language]

#1 – Glasslip

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FULL REVIEW

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I hate this show! That should be enough for you but I’ll elaborate a little more. When you first watch this show, you might be a little confused about the amount of vitriol I have towards this production; it looks so beautiful and first-rate. Yes, it LOOKS the business but by the time you get to episode four or five, you will understand what I’m talking about. NOTHING HAPPENS. Oh, unless you count awkward teenage romance and talking about a whole lot of nothing all day long. The characters are all as wooden as the finest mahogany and as one dimensional as cardboard. Our main characters are so dull despite their future powers which are rarely used throughout most of the show – what was the point of bringing them up other than to get the two together? Oh boy. Eventually you start to marvel at the horribly paced writing and revel in the uncomfortable feeling you’re getting deep in your stomach. It’s almost sadistic. I’ll stop here but ONLY watch this if you are OK with getting frustrated.

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There we go! Both our top and bottom anime have been listed and presented to you fine people! What was your worst anime? Cast your vote for the Anifile People’s Choice Award for Summer 2014!

Glasslip REVIEW


Friendship groups are wonderful things. A small circle of pals in your town, or in this case seaside village, whom you can hang out with and have fun with; but things can easily turn sour. Relationships of that ilk are always hanging by a thread and can easily break especially if there are an equal amount of girls and guys in the group. Most of these circles are mature and sensible enough to not allow this to happen; but in Glasslip, it all descends to immature angst and bickering for some really REALLY bizarre reasons.

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Glasslip is set in a small coastal haven in Japan where a group of five teenagers hang out together in a local cafe. There Touko, Yanagi, Yuki, Sachi and Hiro share each other’s stories and have a nice, relaxing time outside of school. They maintain this by imposing a strict no-dating rule [a REALLY strict rule]; if two members choose to date, they have to leave the group. Like love is toxic or something; kind of strange and antisocial do you think? Especially when there’s only five people in the group already. One day though, a boy named Kakeru [whom the group calls David as a reference to Michelangelo’s David] shows up and take an immediate interest in Touko. The gang react oddly to his interest like he’s some kind of serial killer! Anyway, the rest of the story focuses on [or at least tries to focus on] Kakeru’s ability to see snippets of the future which brought him to Touko, whom can also see the future while she’s working at her parents’ glass factory. Kakeru is drawn to her because of this and helps her unlock these visions to their full potential. What are these visions? Well…that’s where Glasslip’s premise begins to shatter.

glasslip_2The whole gimmick of Kakeru and Touko seeing the future is so mishandled that it may as well not be in the story; whatever story is there to begin with. The idea of being able to see the future in little “fragments” as Kakeru describes them leaves the door open for some supernatural dealings to occur or even earth-moving events that can be prevented. How does Touko use this newly found power? To stop Yanagi crying one time. That’s it…oh! There’s that one time she finds out one of her BEST FRIENDS has to be hospitalised and she barely reacts to it; we just cut to the next scene like that revelation never happened. What? Those are the most taxing things her clairvoyance has to tackle, which is stimulated whenever she’s making glass paraphernalia. You’d think it’d be the backbone of the story, but it’s not. Instead we are carried by endless amount of teenage angst and melodrama which could easily be avoided. Not that you’d be able to tell because THE PLOT IS AN ABSOLUTE MESS. Seriously, there is no point to anything. The characters are so one-dimensional that you may as well pretend they’re cardboard puppets. I’m not emotionally invested in them at all because I don’t know them; I don’t know their backstory or their motivations outside of their romantic pursuits. We’re just thrust into the situation at hand; they are friends who live in the same town – enjoy! Then there’s Kakeru. He is a bit of an enigma but he brings nothing to the table. All he seems to do is tear the friends apart just by existing. The motivation behind the group’s animosity towards him when they first meet Kakeru is so vague that I get the feeling they hate “because reasons.” or “because the plot says so.”. I’m trying to think of a reason but I’m drawing blanks; it ultimately makes those friends look like total jerks if they’re so close-minded.

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I can’t think of a recent anime which has got its plot so disastrously wrong. By wrong I mean having no sense of direction. I am aware that shows like Azumanga Daioh or Hidamari Sketch, which are also slice of life shows, are almost as bereft with plot progression but those shows make it clear what they are so the audience isn’t left scratching their heads and getting frustrated. Another anime people liken Glasslip to is Nagi no Asakura in terms of the setting and basic idea of friends hanging out during an emotional upheaval. The former fails to emulate the latter’s prowess. Glasslip infuriates with how slow it is and confused as to what it wants to be and therefore is a jumble of supernatural flickers which are dampened by valueless romantic endeavours that are so strained and drawn out that they bring nothing to the table other than to pad the plot out and bring ‘drama’ to proceedings. They failed spectacularly. I guess that’s why I stuck with the show as long as I did [episode seven]; I hung in there to see if anything would happen and because I was in awe of the spectacular trainwreck laid before me. Something kind of happened in episode six when things get a little violent but it’s died out quickly. That’s when you know something’s up when you get excited over a plot point which is slightly different from what you’d seen for the past twenty minutes per episode. Even the romantic confessions are botched; they feel so clinical and lacking of any true feeling that they sound ridiculous. Honestly! Such a bad story.

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Its only saving grace is the artwork. PA Works [which helmed the animation for this AND Nagi no Asakura actually] pulled out all the stops here and gave a terrible plot some wonderful and majestic backdrops. There were times when I found it hard to distinguish some scenes from real life, they were that skilfully presented that I was left in awe. The forests, the sparkling blue ocean in the distance, the authentic town houses and apartments strewn around the town; everything felt genuine and lovingly replicated in 2D. I could briefly tune out of the story and revel in the seaside setting and breath in the coastal air as if I were there. I felt so immersed…then I got brought back to reality with a thud when some more romantic bungling occurred and any trace of charm was extinguished. I can confidently say that the art design is the only thing going for Glasslip. You could justifiably watch this show on mute and just watch the backgrounds for two hours. Seriously.

glasslip_6Simply put, I care for nothing in Glasslip bar the visuals. I don’t care about the future powers, I don’t care that Yuki and Yanagi have an on-off relationship but neither can get the balls to properly initiate it, I don’t care that Hiro and Sachi have a budding romance between them…ok maybe I care a little, ONLY a little. I especially don’t care for a story which has such unappealing main characters. Touko and Kakeru are so boring. I know nothing about them outside of the things which are presented to us; Kakeru just moved into town and has a mother that travels and Touko’s family are glassblowers. That’s the extent of my knowledge; how am I supposed to work with that? Kakeru especially is unlikeable because he seems to cause trouble by either saying nothing or being slightly petulant. He claims that since he sees the future and knows what will happen, he just lets things happen – what will be, will be. How defeatist. In short – I. DON’T. CARE. Neither should you. This anime will go down in infamy, I swear it will for having one of the worst ‘plots’ in recent memory. Oh wait, it can’t because it hasn’t got a plot. Oh well! Next!!

Glasslip is available to stream on Crunchyroll.

RATING: CANCEL [If you value your sanity, steer clear of this mess of a plot. Only look at stills; that’s all you need to see.]

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