Throwback 2014 (Part 2): Prince Kouhii’s Year-End Anime Special (Thematic Anime Related Discussions)

Summer 2014

Continuing from where we left off, we have the Summer 2014 season, where a bulk of the fun is supposed to occur, since companies will want to capitalize on the summer break and all.  After a slightly disappointing spring season, fans needed something to hype about, something to excite and distract them from the anticlimatic letdown of the past season, something to keep the viewers……..

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*drum roll*

 

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……….online.

Hang on a minute……….odd……….the number of my followers is rapidly decreasing……………….

 

 

…………………….wonder why……………….

Aaaaanyways, the ever-hyped second season of Sword Art Online came out during the summer season, and, needless to say, it actually exceeded its predecessor in terms of story and characters.  With a premise that FINALLY allowed the story to lighten up a little after being taken too seriously in the first season, newly introduced characters that gave the show much needed change in flavor from the traditional helpless female leads (even if it only lasted for a while), and coherent plot that came with its own special twists and charms, SAO 2, while not necessarily meeting up to its hype, definitely ended up being a much more substantial show than season 1 while at the same time bringing new and refreshing themes to the table.  (HINT:  If you guys would like to see more details pertaining to this show, check out my First Impressions article on SAO II)

Yeah I know a lot of people will hate me for saying so, but SAO 2 isn’t actually as bad as people say it is.

Gosh, I feel like a man after saying that.

Moving on, we also had Aldnoah Zero, a show that proves how easily baited the otaku community can be towards shows where their favorite writers are advertised, even if said writers only penned the first episode of the series.  That isn’t to say that the show’s “bad” per se………………….it’s just that…………………….

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………………….it’s been months since I finished the show, and I still don’t know what to think of it.

Actual representation of what I felt while watching the show.

I mean, seriously, the plot, while having an interesting premise, does not make an effort to expand its setting or even make itself consistent.  The plot progresses on an almost harrowing pattern not fit for a 12-episode series, even though technically the plot progressed naturally.  The characters ranged from either one-dimensional or undecided due to the lack of any development in their personality apart from a few words, and those who HAD interesting backgrounds weren’t explored enough apart from…..a few words.

Also, THE ENDING IS THE ONE THAT THREW ME OFF MY HORSE.

SERIOUSLY, I CANNOT PROCESS WHAT HAPPENED MONTHS FROM WHEN I WATCHED THE LAST EPISODE.  DUE TO THAT ENDING, I’M NOT SURE WHAT TO THINK OF THE SHOW ENTIRELY.  And with a second season coming up, I’m not necessarily sure how Aldnoah will pick up the pieces from its last season.

But, being a masochist, I’ll have to admit that I’m pretty hyped about the second season coming early next year.  Not necessarily sure why, but I guess I’m curious at how the show’s gonna continue from such a ludicrous end.

BUT THAT ENDING THOUGH.

Black Butler:  Book of Circus also came out during this summer, being some sort of sideline story that takes place somewhere in the middle of the first season.  Now, a lot of people view this show with extreme prejudice, especially since the dismal sequel of the original series.  The first season of Kuroshitsuji was a nice little show with a nice little ending that wrapped everything up with a nice Christmas bow.  But then, everything changed when its second season attacked, and all of a sudden we are left with an inconclusive end.  Thus, upon hearing the existence of another series under the franchise, people everywhere raged and expressed their desire to commit seppuku, while fan girls of the show glossed over themselves on the thought of Sebastian being back on screen.

Fortunately, they weren’t quite right with their pre-emptied judgments.  Except for the fan girls.  They definitely got what they wanted.

Cue fangirling.

Anyway, I digress.  Book of Circus had an immersive plot, wonderful development for a lot of characters in the show, a kickass opening theme, and the same wit and humor that we know and love about Black Butler…..soooooo, I dunno about you, but if you missed out on this show just because someone pre-emptively dictated the anime’s outcome, theeeeeen PICK.  IT.  UP.

 

NOOOOOW.

If you guys recognize this scene, then props to you.

Tokyo Ghoul was another anime that I happened to pick up during the season, and one of my absolute favorites for that matter.  I have a review on it if you guys wanna know my critical thoughts on it (SHAAAAAAAAMELESS PLUG), but basically, it’s a brilliant show with a nice little premise, ambiguous morals, interesting themes, a well-thought main protagonist, and an opening that is one of the best I’ve ever seen so far.

Too bad there was no real conclusion, but at least there’s a second season coming out this year.

Did I mention how good the opening theme is?

Definitely deserves a ghoulish recommendation from me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yeah I know that was bad.

Speaking of absolute favorites, Terror in Resonance (or Zankyou no Terror if you want bonus pretentious points) proved to be an absolute contender for Anime of the Year 2014 because of the hype that surrounded it and just how wonderfully executed the entire show was, under the watchful direction of Shinichiro Watanabe of course.  With high-stakes thrills, well-thought-out scripting, and a soundtrack that just melts in your brain (courtesy of Yoko-freaking-Kano), watch it and I’m sure there wouldn’t be any doubt that this show is one of the best that’s come out this year.

Sailormoon Crystal also came out during this season.  A remake of the old classic magical-girl favorite, Crystal had fans ecstatic at the potential of an HD remake of a nostalgic show.  It didn’t necessarily bring anything new to the table apart from an improved animation quality (except for, oddly enough, the transformation sequences, which looked hella weird in 3D), but it still was a nice little trip back to a childhood love that probably influenced a lot of kids back in the day to explore anime.

Although people do contrast this show from the original.  Like, a lot.

Meanwhile, Kyoto Animation continued and ended the highly popular light novel adaptation, Free!, with its second season, entitled Free! Eternal Summer, and by the end of the 12 episodes, KyoAni not only swam in pools of Japanese Yen, but also in the pools of the tears of a million or so female (and male) fans who loved the show to bits.

And hey, you can’t blame us- I-I-I MEAN THEM! Y-YOU CANT BLAME THEM, THEM, THE PEOPLE WHO LOVED THE SHOW TO BITS! YOU CANT BLAME THEM FOR LOVING IT SO MUCH, NOT “US”, CUZ YA KNOW I NEVER CRIED-

//sweats profusely//

*sigh*

Oki, fine fine, I may have been a little emotional after the show ended, but can you blame me?  The show managed to stay true to its slice-of-life roots while having a proper conflict in the plot to provide us with brilliant character development and………there’s just……….it’s just………amazing, and provides closure to a loved series in a way that just satisfies the viewer.

 

Now, excuse me as I console myself before continuing……….

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SHIT DON’T CRY DON’T CRY DON’T FKING CRY PLS STOOOOP!

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K, I’m good.

Speaking of slice-of-life, we also had a bunch of pretty interesting series that delve into the genre, like Ao Haru Ride, Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki Kun, and Barakamon, all of which are pretty amazing in terms of story and characters, from what I’ve heard at least.  Tell me in the comments below how these shows fare if you’ve seen them.

Hmmm……what else………..there was Glasslip, who managed to be a boring P.A. Works SOL (take note that P.A. works also did Nagi no Asukara, which you should watch instead).  There was also Hanamonogatari, which got delayed about a hundred times for unknown reasons.  Aaaaaand there was Rail Wars, who kinda went for the whole trains theme, but kinda gave off the harem vibe a bit more, which really disappointed me.  Cuz, you know, THEY COULDA MADE TRAINS THE ACTUAL FOCUS OF THE SHOW LIKE IT’S SUPPOSED TO.

yeeeaaahhh normally I would be ok with this, but the show basically denied me a proper anime about trains, and I don’t like it.

And now, a brief mention of Akame ga Kill……………………………

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………………….that’s it.

 

Fall 2014

Finally, we’re going full circle as we conclude with the Fall 2014 season.  Personally, as you may or may not know, I wasn’t able to watch a lot of stuff due to my busy schedule, but what I was able to watch probably got me back to the anime bandwagon.

One of them, of course, was Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, also known as KimiUso, also known as Your Lie in April, and boy do I love my past self for getting me into this show.  One of my favorite genre in anime and almost any other form of media, aside from sci-fi, is the music genre, and an anime that explores CLASSICAL music (one of my favorite music genres) is definitely something up my alley, especially since the PIANO is involved (my favorite instrument evaaar).  Add in a nice little plot with some fantastic themes, brilliant characters, and goooorgeeeous animation and art, and you’ve pretty much got another contender for Anime of the Year.  For more insightful criticism of this show, head over to my first impressions article on it (*winkwink*shameless f@$#ing plug *winkwink*).

Another show I found interesting was another anime from KyoAni, titled Amagi Brilliant Park, or as I lovingly call it, AmaBuri.  While the plot was a bit wayward with how they presented it, as seen through the INSANELY RUSHED conclusion that they had, it was still a fun little SOL that has some entertaining quips, amusing characters and character interactions, and a nice little setting for us to explore.  A second season was hinted at the end, which is something that would make me really happy if KyoAni does decide to gift us one  sometime soon.  But, until then, I advise that you check the show out and see what you think of it.

It’s is, as you would say, quite “amusing”.  Get it?  K no that’s fine…….

Log Horizon 2 and Psycho-Pass 2 also aired during this season, both of which being effective sequels for their respective titles by staying true to its roots while also bringing in some new concepts to the table.

And finally, Ufotable gave the entire anime community one hell of a gold shower as they produced Fate/Stay Night:  Unlimited Blade Works.  Being an anime that was hyped up by the fanbase 100000 years before its release due to the critically acclaimed Fate/Zero, UBW did not fail to disappoint us, as Ufotable was able to even exceed themselves with the quality of animation and the HD-look of the entire series, turning the brains of all who watched it into nothing but mushy potatoes due to just how beautiful the series looked from a production standpoint.

And here I thought that Rin couldn’t look any prettier……

Aaaaaaand that is it for realsies this time; those are all the anime that mattered to me in 2014.  Obviously, I haven’t covered everything, but these are just the anime that mattered to me during this year.  You guys are more than welcome to leave a comment down below on what anime made up 2014 for you and your various thoughts on them.  Subsequently, if any of the shows I have mentioned interested you, you are more than welcome to watch them all legally online as most of them air on either Crunchyroll or Funimation.  

Or…..you know, if you want to watch it on some other random website…..theeen…..that’s cool too, I guess.  It is a pity that some of these shows weren’t picked up for legal streaming, but hey, what’re you gonna do.

SEMI-EMOTIONAL RANT ALERT!

For me especially, 2014 has been one hell of a year.  Sooooo much school work happened to the point that I wasn’t able to watch a lot of stuff this year.  Cuz, you know, busy student life is busy.

But the most important thing of course is that this was the year that I joined the blog, and I’ve had the pleasure of working with amazing people here on this site.  A lot of names are involved, so I’ll just leave it to the guys to feel flattered.  Most of all though, I would like to thank YOU GUYS for supporting not just what I do here, but also what my colleagues do for Buttonsmashers.  I’m sure it means a lot to all of us, soooooooooooo a big thank you to all you beautiful people out there who supports this amazing site.

For updates, I do apologize for the lack of anime reviews.  I’ve been at my busiest during this month due to projects and stuff, so I wasn’t able to get through a lot of the things I wanted to make.  However, this is the final month of my first semester, which means it is the last leg of projects and culminating activites, after which my second semester should be a breeze.

Sooooooo, expect the prince to be back on a biweekly basis by February, and boy, do I have some surprises for you guys to enjoy.

Commence evil scheming……….

As per usual, leave a comment down below pertaining to your thoughts on this topic, on the shows mentioned, or if you would like me to review or make a discussion about anything.  And, speaking of liking, give the article a thumbs-up if you enjoyed it.

Aaaaaaaand with that, I bid you, and 2014, adieu. Until next time, this has been Kenji from Prince Kouhii’s Anime Reviews, and I’ll see you guys in the future.

 

 

 

Here’s to a wonderful 2015.

 

One Comment

  1. If you check out my latest blog post you’ll see why I was interested in reading your thoughts on the new Fate show and Psycho Pass 2. Hmmm, Gen only wrote the first episode of Aldnoah Zero? Shame as his writing is what made me interested in checking out that series.

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