WA042: 2014 Summer Anime Season First Look. Part 1

The new 2014 summer anime season has begun. We review shows from the first week of the new season.

Anime episode overview for shows seen this week

Bakumatsu Rock. Episode 1: “Peace Soul! Let’s Rock!”

The story is set in the Bakumatsu era which would be at the end of the shogun’s rule over Japan in the middle of the 19th century. Here is where the story gets a little (?) weird. The Tokugawa shogunate uses the brainwashing Heaven’s Songs by the top idols in the Shinsegumi (again!) to subjugate the country and its people. The rule is in Japan that writing or singing any songs besides the Heaven’s Songs is a Capital Offense. Our hero and the other rockers rise up and change the world with rock ‘n’ roll for freedom and justice or so I am told. The problem with this series is the artwork which isn’t very good and the music. This is a Studio Deen production. With so many other animes to watch, I might give this one a pass. There wasn’t anything in the first episode grabbed me. This is based on a PlayStation game developed by Marvelous. I wish them the best of good fortune.

Glasslip. Episode 1

The plot of this series is the Toko Fukami’s family runs a glass-working business in a small seaside town. Toko hangs out with her four best friends at a café. During the summer break of their senior year in high school, they meet a transfer student named Kakeru Okikura. He claims that a voice from the future talk to him and that it led him to Toko. Hearing voices is he? They have medication for that. Any way his arrival sets off a series of events that will make their final summer together one full of hope and heartache or so they say. If a series had a color, this one would be pastel. I didn’t get much from the first episode. It looks like it supposed to be a slice of life/romance-drama series. The first episode is supposed to introduce the character and let us know who is who. This episode failed. I don’t know if I will come back to this one. This is a first for me as far as the production company P.A. Works and the director Junji Nishimura are concerned. I haven’t seen any of their work before. I might give it another try but with so much on the summer schedule it will have to win me over quickly.

Argevollen (Shirogane no Ishi Argevollen). Episode 1

The story takes place in a world where two countries, Arandas and Ingelmia, have been warring against each other for a very, very long time. Our hero Tokimune is a young man belonging to the eight autonomous unit of arandas. He saves a girl named Jamie when she is attacked by enemy forces. In order to survive the attack, he rides the new weapon Argevollen. According to the web this is an original story. Well it is as original as an anime with a Mecha can be. As I watched it I felt like I was watching a gundam series. This is a 24 episode anime so it can take its time developing the story. What I am seeing so far, I am interested. I will give it a few more episodes. I hope it doesn’t disappoint. The director had a hand in “Cat Soup” a personal favorite of mine. The artwork is pretty average. If this one is to succeed it will with its story telling.

Free! Eternal Summer. Episode 1: “Stormy Dive-Dash!”

Free! is a Japanese anime series based on the light novel High Speed! It is a sports anime. The sport this time is swimming. I saw some episodes of its first season. I wasn’t very impressed. This second season is going to be more of the same. I don’t know if this series is popular. I do know that it is being promoted a lot in Japan. I guess I just don’t get the attraction. As for a sports anime I enjoyed the Big Windup! a baseball anime. I don’t think I will be watching this one. The only thing it has going for it is hunky guys in speedos. Kamigami it isn’t. On to the next one….

Tokyo Ghoul. Episode 1

This is a Pierrot and Funimation production which I found interesting. I am guessing that Funimation has a lot of faith in this one. The story follows Ken Kaneki. He is a young man who receives organs from a ghoul after he is nearly killed by a ghoul. Ghouls in this series are creatures that look human but need to eat human flesh to survive. Let me know if you have heard this plot line before. Kaneki soon realizes that he is now a half-human and half-ghoul entity. He is different from the other ghouls in that he has only one red eye while ghouls’ eyes are red. And this is just in the first episode. Where is it going to go to from here? The director is the guy who gave us “Possessions” the Oscar nominated film – Shuhei Morita. I am thinking this series has a very nice pedigree. The short bio on the series was not very encouraging. I was almost going to give this series a pass. But after the first episode I might stick around for this one. I hope it doesn’t turn into a Pupa, that one when no where. Kaneki will have to fight against his ghoul tendencies. It looks like there is going to be a healthy ghoul community in this series. I hope it doesn’t disappoint.

Aldnoah.Zero. Episode 1

This is an original story as in not based on previous material. It is produced by Nitroplus and animated by A-1 Pictures. A-1 Pictures has a pretty good track record. I have seen quite a few of their productions. And Nitroplus – they gave us Super Sonico. This series is slated for 24 episodes. It can take its time developing its story. The music is from the guy who gave us Attack on Titan and Kill la Kill. And as A-1 Pictures is Sony, well do I have to say more. Being licensed by Aniplex of America is a given. On about the story – In 1972 a hypergate was discovered on the surface of the moon. Humanity began migrating to Mars and settling there. However the seeds of war were eventually sown. Then a war breaks out between the humans on Earth and those who immigrated to Mars. This sounds so oddly familiar (Gundum). I have to say as I enjoy a good gundum-based story, I am onboard with this series. The music is not memorably at this point (episode 1). I have to say a lot happens in this first episode. But was the princess of the Vers Empires really killed by terrorists? The captain’s analysis of what is really going on with the Vers attack was spot on. The humans on earth really don’t mean anything to the 37 Houses of Vers. They are in a contest to see who can conquer the most of earth. I am hoping for an exciting and political 24 episodes.

Sailor Moon, Crystal. Episode 1

She has been around since 1991. And she has never looked better. This time she is with us for 26 episodes! It is a retelling of the original story. The dialogue is the same, Usagi just looks a lot newer and shinier. And I really enjoyed seeing it again. I have the original series that was released a few years ago. Usagi is the same clumsy crybaby that we saw so long ago. Do I really have to tell you the story line? Everyone knows the story. What I found interesting is that she pretty much looks the same. Instead of putting her in a short skirt, she is in her traditional long skirt. Luna looks the same. Darien is looking hot. Of course he always did. Talk about reliving your childhood! Sign me up!
And she has a supersonic wail!

Akame ga Kill! Episode 1: “Kill the Darkness”

What to say about this title? I’ll start with a summation of the plot. We are in a fantasy world where fighter Tatsumi sets out for the Capital to earn money for his starving village. At the Capital he finds a world of unimaginable corruption. The corruption is spreading from the depraved Prime Minister who controls the child emperor. Tatsumi nearly becomes a victim of this corruption. He is recruited by Night Raid. Night Raid is a group of assassins dedicated to the elimination of the corruption that is plaguing the Capital. Their plan is to mercilessly kill all those responsible or who they see as responsible. This series could really look the gray areas. I doubt they will, but they could. This is a White Fox production. I have liked some of their previous work. I don’t know about this one. Maybe if I watch another episode I might come to like it. Maybe I saw it in the wrong mood. Or maybe the series just isn’t that good. Early indications are that it is going to be run of the mill ordinary.

Rowdy Sumo Wrestler Matsutaro. Episode 12: “The Kitty Obsessed Wrestler”

After a week or so off Matsutaro is back. This episode is centered on White Star and Inokawa who is a high level sumo wrestler. White Star is his lucky talisman. White Star is a local stray cat. Inokawa has a softer side. White Star does not like Matsutaro. Or maybe White Star just likes to tease Matsutaro. When Inokawa does not have time with White Star or see him, he doesn’t win the sumo ring. It was a cute episode though not very memorable. I like seeing Inokawa in the ring and his wrestling technique. It is so different from Matsutaro. Will Matsutaro ever learn the finesse that Inokawa has? I have a feeling that this series is going to run a full 24 episodes. If that is the case, they are half way home to Matsutaro being a star of the sumo ring.
All the above reviews are combined in one video. See it at YouTube.com by clicking Here

Space Dandy. Episode 14: “I Can’t Be the Only One, Baby”

I waited 3 months for this episode! It appears that Space Dandy has started up where it left off. Ok episode 13 was good. This one was not. Who is Watanabe making this series for? Himself! The inside jokes just were not funny. This episode was like a comedian or small child who finds he can get you to laugh at some funny or amusing comment or action. And then they repeat it to death or should I say they beat it to death. I wouldn’t say it was too much of a good thing. It was just too much. When I saw the opening credits again I was so happy. For some reason it brought back fond memories. I don’t know why. Most of the first season wasn’t very good. I had hoped with some time off Dandy would have come back in rare form. It was not to be. The episode started off promising. Then it trucked on down hill. Why do I do this to myself? Oh I’ll still watch the series because last season there were glimmers of excellence. And you know hope springs eternal.
Watch this video at YouTube.com by clicking Here

Futsuu no Joshikousei ga (Locodal) Yattemita. Episode 1

The English translation for this one is “Normal High School Girls Tried Being Local Idols”. It is a 4-panel comedy manga series. The production company Feel did a series a couple of seasons ago that we like “Outbreak Company”. This series is light and airy. I like the lead character Nanako and her side kick Yukari. But best of all I really like her uncle. The story is about the life of a high school girl and her senpai who end up becoming the town’s local idols upon the request of her uncle. The story line is similar to Love Live! School Idol Project only this time they want to save their hometown. I was really charmed by this series. I am going to look forward to it each week I think.
Pretty Good. I liked the uncle econ lesson about the flow of money in a community.
Watch this video at YouTube.com by clicking Here

Rail Wars! Japanese National Railways Security Force. Episode 1

This series is based on a light novel series. It has also been manga adapted. The production company is Passione. The series takes place in an alternate version of Japan where the nationalized railway system was never privatized. Our lead character Naoto is an ordinary high school student who aspires to a comfortable life working at the Japanese National Railways. He ends up working as a security force. He and his colleagues are up against RJ, a group of extremists who are fighting to privatize the railway. At the beginning of the series, while Naoto is doing the narration about why he wants to work at the National Railways I reminded of how Japan used to be. Japan used to be the land where a person worked at a company for life. There was job security. Japan in the 21st century isn’t like that any more. But aside from that, I found it to be a very enjoyable series. I will definitely watch for its entire run. And who knows, maybe I will learn something about the trains system in Japan. Liked it. Will watch more.
Watch this video at YouTube.com by clicking Here

Sabagebu! Episode 1

We have another series with very long names. During the opening I was not very impressed with the animation. But I warmed up to the series. I like the voice over. There is a lot about this series that reminds me of others series’ I have enjoyed. Once it got going I was along for the ride. The story follows Momoka Sonokawa who is a student that transfers to a certain high school. When she gets there she is dragged into the Survival Game Club. It is a club that conducts survival games. I have to say that the Japanese really like their guns. I just don’t know how accurate they are. I think the voice over is the funniest part of the series.
Watch this video at YouTube.com by clicking Here

Barakamon. Episode 1

This series is an adaptation of the manga of the same name. It is a comedy, slice of life genre. The premise of the series is that a calligrapher Seishu Handa moves to the remote Goto Islands off the western coast of Kyushu. It recounts his various interactions with the people of the island. This series is a delight. There are moments when it reminds me of “A Letter to Momo”. Handa is a famous Calligrapher who is sent to this island by his father as a punishment for punching the director of the museum where he was showing his work. Handa is going to be our fish out of water as he has to deal with and interact with his new wacky neighbors. He is criticized for not being the true artist he is. He is very good at what he does. He just takes the easy route. The art and music for this series is to my taste.
Watch this video at YouTube.com by clicking Here

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