Final Thoughts – Fall 2014

Greetings everyone, it’s Harubro here wishing you guys a very, very belated Happy New Year to all of you from us at For Great Justice! As we finish up our first impressions on the new shows of 2015, the time has come for us to wrap up the last shows of last year and share with you our thoughts on the final episodes of 2014. Due to some unforeseen circumstances, this post ended up getting finished much later (like two whole weeks later) than we had intended. But hey, it’s better to post this late than never post it at all, right? Yata’s particularly busy and has had probably the most time constraints lately, so much so, that he’ll only be covering the two shows he watched that I hadn’t.

You guys are pretty much stuck with me for most of this final ride, but don’t you worry! Regular service will resume shortly, and we have more writeups coming up in the near future, so keep an eye out!

Without further ado, shall we begin?

 AKATSUKI NO YONA:

yona-f14s

One down, three and a kingdom to go.

Harubro: (episodes seen: 12)
Slowly but surely, Yona keeps endearing itself to me more and more. Now that this quest is fully under way, it’s become much more fun to watch. The comedic parts, which were awkwardly timed earlier in the series, are getting much better timed and hit with more frequency. That video game-esque scene when Yona and friends were exploring the cave (made complete by a neat 8-bit version of the theme song) had me laughing out loud, and that’s an accomplishment.

Though these characters are still a tad on the tropey side, I find myself enjoying how they bounce off of one another with their sass more with each episode. I’m curious to see how the dragons will all come together now, so I am here to stay.
Score as of now: 6.5/10
Still watching: Yes.

AMAGI BRILLIANT PARK:

amaburi-f14s

Amagi Advertising School would be a great way to boost revenue.

Harubro: (episodes seen: 13)
Amagi Brilliant Park came to the end we all could see a mile away, but you know what? That’s fine with me. The final way the park turned over 500,000 guests was actually pretty amusing, and the happily ever after ending was alright. Though a lot of people disliked it, I laughed my ass off and then some at the final episode. I completely lost my shit when that part with that one guy floating in space came up in that park PV. Actually, that whole crazy park PV was totally golden.

I can appreciate Amaburi for what it was, a nice step away from the swimming doldrums that Kyoto Animation has been stuck in for the last year or so. A nice flourish before KyoAni looks to foray back into musical hell. We shall see.
Final score: 7/10

CHAIKA THE COFFIN PRINCESS: AVENGING BATTLE:

chaika-f14s

How bout a little good ol’ deus ex machaika?

Harubro: (episodes seen: 10)
With only ten episodes and the rather strange pacing of this series, I was definitely expecting a crazy end to Chaika. I was hoping it would set up for a third season to avoid seeming like it rushed to an end. My hopes were sort of let down, as Chaika threw caution to the wind and just totally went for it with the final few episodes.

Then suddenly, there were tentacles.

That final episode is one of the busiest, most jam-packed episodes to cap off a series that I’ve ever come across. I kind of wish we had maybe one more episode to flesh everything out better. I won’t spoil anything, but it felt to me like this show kind of copped out a tad. That said, Chaika was still a fundamentally good series, and the final sequence unfolded nice enough. I’m gonna miss it.
Final score: 7/10

LOG HORIZON:

lh-f14s

He’s Tetrafied.

Harubro: (episodes seen: 13)
As expected, after the stumble that was that Akatsuki arc, Log Horizon went back to the grind. It feels good to see it getting back to its good old self. William Massachusetts’ big full-episode speech was an epic build-up to the final phase of the raid. I really appreciate how believable Elder Tale’s combat system is in this show with the cool-down times, the effects, what have you. It’s a nice touch that adds to the nitty-gritty technical feeling that made me love Log Horizon in the first place.

The Valentine’s Day episode was also an enjoyably funny cooldown filler episode. I feel as though I’m the only person who actually enjoys Tetra, the newest addition to the Log Horizon crew. It’s also nice seeing this guy back in the show.

Anyways, bring on the new villain people!
Score as of now: 8/10.
Still watching: Yes.

PARASYTE -THE MAXIM-:

parasyte-f14s

You keep doing you, Parasyte. Context not required.

Harubro: (episodes seen: 12)
One show gets better, another starts to stumble. Parasyte is starting to wear itself out on me. The animation is starting to get really inconsistent, and I can only take so much of the shock and gorefest before I want to see something else. It’s starting to not cut it. I’m having to motivate myself to watch this show every week, and that’s not a good sign. It might be me, or it could just be the show.

I suppose this show is starting to take what would be an interesting turn, so I’m gonna stick with it for now, but I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be sticking around. It’s harder and harder for me to invest in this show.
Score as of now: 6.5/10
Still watching: For now…

PSYCHO-PASS 2:

Cleanup in aisle two, please.

Cleanup in aisle two, please.

Yatahaze: (episodes seen: 11)
You’ll have to forgive my fuzzy memory of whatever nuances Psycho-Pass 2’s finale tried to employ. It’s been a couple weeks, a couple holidays, and unfortunately a couple irritating personal medical setbacks since then, so it hasn’t been on my mind. Not that it would’ve been anyway – it gave shoddy closure to the already shoddy show and not much else. In most cases, it’s a poor argument to say “this sequel isn’t as good as the original” without considering possible goal differentiation or improvement, but Psycho Pass 2 killed itself from the start by trying to be the same show Psycho-Pass 1 was and not understanding how to do so. That hasn’t changed since around the series’ halfway point, so unfortunately, the kindest praise I can give is to call it a painfully average cop drama – the worst kind of insult to a show that previously prevailed as one of its respective genre’s best.
Final score: 5/10

RAGE OF BAHAMUT: GENESIS (SHINGEKI NO BAHAMUT: GENESIS)

Some of the frames in this show, I swear...

Some of the frames in this show, I swear…

Yatahaze: (episodes seen: 12)
Alright, look. Bahamut’s adventurous genre-hoppy anything-can-happen atmosphere was almost completely deflated in its second half. As the show focused more on its central conflict of the factions fighting over Amira, it became rushed and steered away from what and who made it so great in the first place. The more the demons and angels came into play, the less interesting things got. We were given no reason to care about these guys. Their presence may have stole the spotlight from our fabulous main characters, but it didn’t steal their thunder. Funny how then in Bahamut’s finale, the show suddenly tried to recapture their charisma. It didn’t work all the time – the Lavalley scheme and everybody becoming demons were just extra fluff events to fill time and give us a sense of plot twistyness – but it’s amazing how much Kaisar, Favaro, and Rita together contribute to the feel of the show. For as high as it started, I nonetheless feel like Bahamut slowly faltered into a merely average fantasy adventure. It had moments of masterpiece quality and moments of boring exposition that led to no satisfying conclusion. It was at its best early on when it would just do and not think, and as far as the show’s tone goes, it understood what it was lacking and tried to recapture it for its climax. With towering high points and irritatingly dull lows, my final score for Bahamut will end up somewhere in the middle, but my suggestion is still to watch its first half, or at least until you start getting bored.
Final score: 6.5/10

SHIROBAKO:

shirobako-f14s

“Listen here, noobs….”

Harubro: (episodes seen: 12)
I just cannot praise Shirobako enough. This show is a love affair at every single level. From its depiction of the detail of the craft of animation, to that glorious final scramble to finish the final episode of Exodus spearheaded by the veteran animator Sugie, to the cameos by even more real-life people of the anime industry such as Hideaki Anno himself. There is just so much love put into this show. Every week, I discover something new with this show and the industry it portrays.

Shirobako is a wonder, yet another gift to us all by P.A. Works. What’s next for MusaAni?
Score as of now: 9/10
Still watching?: Yes.

SWORD ART ONLINE II:

sao-f14s

Girl with gun trauma? Check. Girl with AIDS? Check. Girl that gets tentacle raped? No? Wow. SAO II > SAO I

Harubro: (episodes seen: 24)
SAO wrapped up on what was unarguably its best arc of the franchise thus far. The Mother’s Rosario arc featured one of the better aspects of SAO, and that is those few “What if?” concepts that pop up here and there with this show. I actually found the concept of the Medicuboid and how it functioned pretty fascinating, probably the most interesting concept this show has thrown out there. I also dug how Asuna was able to bring Yuuki to her school with that camera device. Overall, there’s some really well thought out moments in this arc. Strange stuff for this franchise, huh?

Though the drama was sometimes a tad overdone, for the most part, the moments with Asuna and Yuuki were wonderfully done, and that final moment between the two with what seemed like the game’s entire community present was actually a surprisingly touching moment! Well, as touching as SAO is gonna get. Honestly, I think the Sleeping Knights deserve their own show more than Kirito does… and I’m willing to bet that he’ll get a third shit storm sometime in the near future.
Final score: 5/10

TSUKIMONOGATARI:

vlcsnap-2015-01-02-01h26m53s60

“Kizu’s coming soon”, said Shinbo with a posed look…

Harubro: (episodes seen: 4)
It was probably not the best idea to watch this while dealing with the aftermath of partying too hard for New Year’s. That OP had me reeling. That was my mistake, and certainly not the show’s fault.

Monogatari returns, if only for a short bit, and it’s as pretty as it’s ever been. I dig this new format where they air the arcs in chunks a few months apart so that SHAFT can take it’s sweet time to make the show perfect. Now if only we could get a firm date for Kizu…although delayed releases are business as usual for SHAFT. The production is as SHAFT-y as ever with this one. Maybe a bit too SHAFT-y. This franchise’s propensity for these bath scenes kind of weird me out. The scene in the first episode was waaaay too much, but not as bad as the toothbrush bit. Throw in the more of the usual SHAFT and Shinbo vignettes, and you get the slightly disorienting Tsukimonogatari.

Once this show gets rolling, it gets down to business. This is a very dialogue-heavy arc, even by Monogatari’s standards. As such, the amount of information whizzing by can be a little overwhelming at times, but this show repeats its main points enough for me the get the gist of it. Despite being called “Yotsugi Doll,” the focus of the arc mainly lies with Araragi in comparison to other arcs. Despite that, my second-favorite character of this franchise gets herself plenty of moments in the spotlight.

This show almost bingos in the first 20-or-so minutes, but never actually follows through. I think the SHAFT bingo chart may need an update to reflect current SHAFT trends. I also was sort underwhelmed by the end of this arc in comparison to Hanamonogatari’s brilliant end. I say that, but it was still an overall satisfying watch.
Final score: 7/10

WHEN SUPERNATURAL BATTLES BECAME COMMONPLACE:

chuunibattle-f14s

When disappointingly wasted potential became commonplace.

Harubro: (episodes seen: 12)
Welp, Chuunibattle finally went all the way there as I had expected from the very beginning. By “there,” I mean the harem route, and I knew it was coming the whole time. And even then, Chuunibattle’s turn down the harem route was rather…. underwhelming. That ending, despite the clever and slightly morbid loophole with Andou’s awakened power, was still just sort of pedestrian. I feel like something better could’ve happened, but at least a week and a half of show time was squandered on various pool days with Andou and the girls. Whatever.

I’m almost positive this show was just a tune-up exercise for Trigger to flesh out their own style, because I think that’s still what stood out the most for this show for me.
Final score: 5/10

YOUR LIE IN APRIL:

vlcsnap-2015-01-02-05h03m54s200

Ah yes, Yata here, if Kaori playfully burst into some Kishi Bashi, that would make my year. Please, show.

Harubro: (episodes seen: 11)
Alright, alright. I’m beginning to buy into this show again. I still absolutely despise the interactions between Kousei and Tsubaki and Watari. I don’t think I’m quite over how shitty their treatment of Kousei was when he was reluctantly pushed back into playing and how they remained incessant about it. Now that it seems Kousei himself wants to face his yips head on and get back into it, I find this show a little bit easier to watch.

The best interaction in this show is still between Kousei and those two new rivals. They’re actually more understanding of his situation than his old pals are. I’m very glad they’re not really all that antagonistic to him, because I don’t think I could’ve stood this show any longer had they been. Their thoughts about and interactions with Kousei, their shock over Kousei’s problems have added more to the series than his old friends have, so I think that’s the big reason I’m sticking around.

This show is still pretty as it ever has been, and the performances the kids put on are still as excellent and articulately done as they ever were, so I’m still on board.
Score as of now: 7/10
Still watching?: Yes.

With that, we wish a fond farewell to what was undoubtedly the best season of 2014. Here’s hoping 2015 is even better. Stick around folks, because our First Impressions of Winter 2015 thread should be right around the corner! Like…right around the corner. Riiiiiiight around it. Soon.

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