Tag Archives: Initial Thoughts

Fall 2014: Action


Summer’s gone and Autumn [or Fall] has taken its place.  The anime is still coming by the boatload though and on Anifile we are delighted to be able to continue with the previews for the shows coming up. Like in the spring, we are separating shows into different categories based on their primary genre. There are thirty anime eligible for review on this site [As usual, I don’t count sequel seasons of series such as the two new Gundam series] and instead focus on the brand new franchises and see if they’re worth your time. Let’s begin with some action!

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Akatsuki no Yona
(Yona of the Dawn)

Animation Studio: Pierrot
Origin:  Manga [Kusanagi]
Date of Premiere: October 7th

Summary
On her sixteenth birthday, the only princess of Kouka [Yona] is greeted with the sight of her dead father at the hands of her cousin and love interest Soo-won. Before he can kill Yona, her servant Hak rescues her and takes her to an old monk who teaches them about four legendary dragons which can save the kingdom from the tyranny of Soo-won’s faction.

Initial Thoughts
Upon first glance, it’s a decent looking show with average visuals and some grandiose battle sequences thrown in. The plot is somewhat samey with the whole love interest angle despite the fact that one of the subjects killed the other subject’s father; kind of makes things awkward. It seems like a good show overall though but it’s not novel enough to bring to the front of the queue.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium

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Donten ni Warau
(The Cloudy Laugh)

Animation Studio: Dogakobo
Origin:  Manga [Karakara]
Date of Premiere: October 3rd

Summary
In the Meiji era, the age of the samurai was starting to fade away into the history books. Carrying swords was made illegal, but crime spiked as a result. In response, the government created a huge island prison where the only way in or out is via boat. Three brothers from the Kumo family man the vessels as they transport convicts to the island. However, from first glance, it seems that things aren’t quite as straightforward as you might think.

Initial Thoughts
The last hurrah of the samurai is a hugely significant part of Japanese history and to focus on it in an anime is somewhat refreshing. It’s like how the Western genre revelled in the dying days of the cowboy in the 1880s. It’s the same thing! These trio of samurai-born warriors have a cool look about them and clearly show prowess in different ways. I’m intrigued with how this will pan out as it’s clear that the story goes far beyond simply ferrying prisoners. Let’s see!

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium-High

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Garo: Honou no Kokuin
(Garo: The Carved Seal of Flames)

Animation Studio: MAPPA
Origin:  GARO Tokusatsu franchise
Date of Premiere: October 3rd

Summary
The Valiante Kingdom has begun a massive search for wielders of Maki, both priests and knights. In the resulting purge, the art of Makai is brought to a near extinction. One man, Leon Luis, returns to the Valiante Kingdom at the request of the king’s son when his throne is taken from him by his former advisor. Leon wields the power of the Golden Knight Garo and only its power can help the land be restored to its rightful owner.

Initial Thoughts
Two thoughts came to mind. Knights transforming and ‘The past will come back to haunt you!’ This adaptation of the famous Garo tokusatsu series is a curious retelling of the concept. Unrelated to the live-action series, the anime plans to take a grander approach to the idea of knights with sentai-like powers. This show carries a lot of weight behind it and seems to look pretty cool too!

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium-High

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Kiseijuu
(Parasyte)

Animation Studio: Madhouse
Origin:  Manga [Iwaaki]
Date of Premiere: October 8th

Summary
In this world, Japan has been besieged by intergalactic parasites known as…Parasites. These aliens invade the population not with lasers but by burrowing into humans and animals through their noses or ears taking them over – in VERY disturbing ways. One boy named Shinichi is spared such a fate, or at least for the most part, because he was wearing headphones. He is still infected but only his right arm is infected; it develops a personality and together they fight other Parasites whilst using each other to survive and prosper.

Initial Thoughts
Wow. I thought Terra Formars was going to be the shocker of the season; this probably will give it a run for its money. It is a REALLY scary idea; parasites taking over your body without you knowing it and turning you into some kind of monster that likes eating other people. Even dogs aren’t safe! In any case, I really want to see where this goes and how Shinichi and his partner, Migi [Japanese for right as the parasite takes over his right hand] interact and help one another!

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: High

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World Trigger

worldtrigger

Animation Studio: Toei Animation
Origin:  Manga [Ashihara]
Date of Premiere: October 5th

Summary
The city of Mikado is home to some of the worst Neighbors you’ve ever seen. From another dimension, these beings destroy Mikado and have been for about four years before the story proper begins. The Border group meet this challenge with a brand new class of weaponised young kids, Triggers. Thanks to these Triggers, the city is brought back to a relative peace until a Black Trigger appears and threatens to disrupt the newly formed status quo.

Initial Thoughts
I don’t know. I’m not overwhelmed with the initial premise. I’ve seen this before and I reckon I’ll see this again in the future – demons appearing which cannot be stopped by regular weaponry and as such NEW weapons need to be made. Fortunately, the show in its entirety seems to be quite light-hearted and characterful with a neat main duo. My main concern is that Toei will skimp on the animation [which is somewhat evident IN THE PREVIEW] like it has done with recent shows that aren’t Dragonball or One Piece. If it can give this show a good animation budget then things should be OK, otherwise the look won’t match the feel.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium-Low

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So we have five action-packed productions in the work. What else do we have? Well, we got twenty-five other anime to cover and seven of them are comedies which we will look at next time!

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Spring 2014: Comedy


Our third entry into the Spring 2014 showcase is the comedy genre. We like a laugh every now and then and the anime here hope to tickle your funny bone into submission with their wacky plots and comical dialogue. Let’s check them out!

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Normal High School Girls Tried Being Local Idols
[Futsuu no Joshikousei ga [Locodol] Yatte Mita.]

Genre: Comedy
Animation Studio: Feel
Origin: Manga [Kosugi]
Airing Date: April 2014

Summary
In a small town, a young girl named Nanako is asked by her uncle to become their local idol. She then recruits a friend from high school named Yukari to join her in her endeavours. Over the course of the adventure, they represent the town in local broadcasts, events and even hold concerts.

Initial Thoughts
There’s something odd about this. There is very little to go on in terms of promotional material. I couldn’t find a trailer for the anime and minimal detail when it comes to plot save for a few images, manga snippets and whatnot. From what I did find it seems very simple. The characters look nice but the story isn’t very engaging. It’s about local issues; realistic but questionable content for an anime. The lack of material is also a cause for concern. Let’s hope it’s unfounded.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Low

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If She Were To Raise The Flag
[Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara]

Genre: Comedy/Romance
Animation Studio: Hoods Entertainment
Origin: Light Novel [Takei/Cuteg]
Airing Date: April 7 2014

Summary
Our story is about the adventures of Sota Hatate and his transfer to a brand new high school. He is different in that he has a psychological ability to read the emotions of other people which are represented by flags which appear above the person’s head. However, one day he spots a flag of death over his own head and he recruits a band of young girls to save his skin.

Initial Thoughts
The use of the flag motif is something novel. It adds a bit more substance to proceedings which makes this anime stand out a little more than others especially for those who are interested in psychology. Flags are common throughout the preview and are used not just for the usual emotive analysis but also for comedic effect. I’m going to keep my eye on this and see where this ultimately goes.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium

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The Buried Treasure of Nanana Ryugajo
[Ryugajo Nanana no Maizoukin]

Genre: Comedy/Supernatural
Animation Studio: A-1 Pictures
Origin: Light Novel [Otorino/Akaringo]
Airing Date: April 11 2014

Summary
Jugo Yama runs away from his home after being banished by his father and lands upon the island of Nanae. However, his life is disrupted further by the presence of a ghost of a young girl named Nanana Ryugajo whose spirit is trapped. Only the discovery of the person who murdered her will grant her the peace she craves. It is up to Jugo to find the clues pinning the identity of the killer and help Nanana’s quest for peace.

Initial Thoughts
Despite the rather morbid premise, this story is very light-hearted. Nanana is very much present throughout and the fact that she’s dead doesn’t really hinder anything. She acts as a guide for Jugo as well as a new friend. There’s an extra dimension in the addition of other people looking for Nanana’s treasure which adds a feeling of urgency; a much needed touch. It looks good and I think it has the potential to be an enjoyable tale albeit a little safe.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium-Low

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Soul Eater Not!

Genre: Comedy/Supernatural
Animation Studio: Bones
Origin: Manga [Okubo]
Airing Date: April 9 2014

Summary
This spinoff of the original Soul Eater series focuses on the individuals of the Death Weapon Meister Academy and its NOT class. Its members are human-born and have been bestowed magical powers to turn into weapons. However, they don’t wish to become weapons like Soul from the original show, but merely seek to control their powers so as they can function in society. The main character, Tsugumi, quickly befriends two meisters [Meme and Anya] and has to pick which meister will be her…meister.

Initial Thoughts
Now I know I said I wouldn’t pick shows that are new seasons or established I.Ps; however this seemed different enough to warrant a look. Soul Eater is a modern classic and one of the most popular shows in American anime circles and hence the weight behind Soul Eater Not is substantial. I feel that even if you don’t know the original title well, that you’ll still get a kick out of this series and revel in the prospect of the original cast making the odd cameo. So expectations are high all round, let’s hope it delivers.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: High

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So that’s it for the comedy anime, tomorrow we sample what is commonly seen to be the most iconic genre of the medium- the slice-of-life. What do we have in store? Check in tomorrow to find out!

 

Spring 2014: Action


After a short break, Anifile is back to preparing for a new season of anime starting in April. There are nearly forty new shows coming out of Japan and we’ll be reviewing every single one of these fresh IPs. As it is with Anifile, we do not cover multiple season series as we mainly focus on showcasing productions which have recently been adapted to anime. Over the next few posts, we’ll be looking at the new shows for each specific genres as well as establishing how excited I am for the show which will be measured in my review priority rating [RPR]. So if you’re an action anime fan, this post is for you. Let’s get started!

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Devil’s Riddle Story
[Akuma no Riddle]

Genre: Action/Yuri
Animation Studio: Diomedea
Origin: Manga [Koga/Minakata]
Airing Date: April 4 2014

Summary
Devil’s Riddle Story is set in a girl’s boarding school and focuses around one student named Haru Ichinose who is the target of twelve assassins who are undercover masking themselves as students so as to get close to Haru and potentially eliminate her. However, fellow classmate Azuma Tokaku, begins to develop feelings for Haru and as such dedicates herself to protect her crush from any harm that may befall her.

Initial Thoughts
I find the art style to be very interesting as well as the concept. The yuri element especially seems like a curious addition to an already intriguing premise. Instead of going the cutesy way of yuri a la Sakura TrickDevil’s Riddle Story goes down a more action-orientated path leading to a more spectacular conclusion and love being forged through adversity instead of awkward teenage fumbling. This show has potential to be one of the season’s dark horses. Diomedea are relatively new to the animation world in Japan but that means there are few expectations to adhere to and perhaps surprise us all.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: High

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Black Bullet

Genre: Action/Sci-Fi
Animation Studio: Kinema Citrus
Origin: Light Novel [Kanzaki/Ukai]
Airing Date: April 8 2014

Summary
Set in the year 2031, humanity has been brought to the brink of death by Gastrea, a parasitic race which has led humanity to seek refuge in Tokyo, the last remaining bastion for the human race. However, this stronghold is under threat and it’s up to Rentaro and his partner Enju to use their special powers to combat the Gastrea. The government has recruited them for a special mission to save Tokyo from destruction.

Initial Thoughts
To me, this sounds like a futuristic Attack on Titan. The human race is restricted to one place and an imposing tyrannical species is threatening to wipe the last colony off the map. Not that that’s a bad thing, but it is very familiar. The presentation is very slick and has an atmospheric tone with the whole apocalypse vibe but the story itself is not groundbreaking or overly elaborate. Still though, it does have potential to be a very good show with a strong writing crew [Monster being just one of their previous projects] so we should see something decent at the very least.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium

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Chaika The Coffin Princess
[Hitsugi no Chaika]

Genre: Action/Fantasy
Animation Studio: Bones
Origin: Light Novel [Sakaki/Namaniku ATK]
Airing Date: April 10 2014

Summary
Chaika The Coffin Princess is a story about just that – a girl named Chaika who carries around a huge coffin on her back…which holds a HUGE gun. She stumbles upon a layabout named Tora Acura who is urged to find a job by his stepsister. Upon walking around the forest, they bump into Chaika and get roped into her world of action and adventure.

Initial Thoughts
This show looks gorgeous. There’s something about the art style which pops out of the screen with each character looking well-defined and well-designed. Chaika in particular is visually striking with her almost monochromatic look save for her purple eyes and odd bit of jewellery. The story itself is reasonable enough albeit a little forced. The whole Tora getting a job angle is superseded by a story involving a girl with a huge coffin. That being said, I’ll take the latter plot any day! Did I mention she has a huge sniper rifle in there? I think I might have skimmed it. My only hope is that the comedy doesn’t try and push itself into the limelight too often and upset the balance of action and comedy relief. If it can do that, then this should be a fun show.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium-High

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So that’s the action-themed series previewed. Granted, there are other shows which have action in there but these are the three shows which are PURELY action. Tomorrow, we’ll be going over the Fantasy/Magic genre. Stay tuned to see which shows will put a spell on you!