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As a distraction from being home sick and disgruntled[1] I’m going to take a quick look at the shows for this season. More or less in order of preference here’s what I’ve been watching over the last week or so.

Shirobako

Shirobako delivered the strongest opening episode of the season so far.

Coming after the disaster[2] that was GLASSLIP, this makes Shirobako a welcome return to form for P.A. Works.

As seen in the key visual, the biggest problem with Shirobako is likely to be the Loads and Loads of Characters[3].

That said, there was a fairly tight focus on Aoi (brown hair, bottom right) in this episode, and her role as Production Assistant/Runner does generate a fair bit of sympathy from me[4].

Log Horizon 2

COUNTERACTION RISING![5]

Log Horizon is back and is pretty much the character driven show that I was expecting.

The opening episode has an odd mix of flash forwards, flash backs, and cameos that I suspect is the setup for a Chekhov’s Armoury. This was certainly the case with the first episode last season[6], so this wasn’t really a surprise.

The new season looks to be heading in some interesting directions, and also to be examining some of the… odder aspects of MMORPGs. Whether or not it will succeed in making sense of these remains to be seen.

YEAH, WE ARE READY FOR THE PUNCHLINE![7]

Akatsuki no Yona

On the one hand Akatsuki no Yona needing an Action Prologue to keep interest in the bratty, spolled, Princess Yona can be taken a sign of weak writing.

On the other hand the Action Prologue also sets expectations[8] that Yona will undergo substantial character growth whilst taking several levels in Bad Ass along the way.

Provided that those expectations are met, then Akatsuki no Yona will rapidly rise from good to excellent.

As it is there’s a substantial Twelve KingdomsSeirei no Moribito, and even Fushigi Yuugi feel to this show that has me interested in seeing more.

Celestial Method

Celestial Method (aka Sora no Method) is going to be an extremely pretty show to look at.

The design work is simply beautiful, particularly for that saucer thing just hanging there in the sky.

So far the set-up is interesting, and the characters are reasonably engaging.

Despite the gender balance suggesting a harem, I suspect that the core of this show will be a non-romantic friendship between Noel and Nonoka.

Your Lie in April

Your Lie in April is a fairly unusual high school romance with a classical music theme.

Kaori is perhaps a touch too much of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but the setup more or less demands it given Kousei’s backstory.

The musical shoutout to Laputa that introduces Kaori is hilarious, and the first episode is probably worth it just for that scene.

As pointed out by @elizabeth_fitz, there are some similarities to Nodame Cantabile which I haven’t seen.

When Supernatural Battles Become Commonplace

Premise: a bunch of high school students get superpowers and basically ignore them to go about their ordinary lives.

The best thing about this show is that the humour felt effortless[9].

Definitely funny enough to keep watching for the moment.

Trinity Seven

I think the friend I watched this with liked it more than I did.

I’ll admit that there’s some nice world building, and I’m prepared to watch more later. Just.

The fanservice levels are higher than I’m normally comfortable with.

Whilst it is relatively well handled, having Arata’s cousin Hijiri Stuffed Into The Fridge as his motiviation is something I could probably have done without.

Karen Senki

Karen Senki is an odd case with a fairly predictably derivative storyline.

The CGI is almost working, and I did not pick Kosuke Fujishima[10] as the character designer until I saw the credits. The CGI is forgivable for 10 minute episodes, I suspect I’d hate it if they were any longer.

The scripting is OK I guess, but don’t be surprised if this show never gets mentioned again here.

World Trigger

World Trigger’s biggest problem is how utterly formulaic it is.

There’s also some facial animation quirks that I found a little off putting.

It’s not bad, just… uninspiring and World Trigger is likely to find itself in the same boat as Terraformars.

Terraformars

Speaking of Terraformars, I quite liked the first episode but simply haven’t gone back for the second.

I’m not sure why, I just haven’t felt the desire to spend the half hour watching it.

Effectively dropped for lack of compelling interest[11].

Denki-Gai

Comedies work best when they seem effortless.

Denki-gai felt like it was trying too hard to raise a laugh and a blush.

I made it about halfway through the first episode before dropping it out of boredom.

I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying

I want my three minutes back. Dropped.

Gugure! Kokkuri-San

What is this, I don’t even. Dropped.

Summary

The Fall 2014 Season is looking pretty strong at the moment with something like half a dozen shows that I’m happy to keep watching. That number may drop off as shows stumble, but it’s an auspicious start nevertheless.

Snarky Bits

[1] As things currently stand I can’t go see The Tale of Princess Kaguya and The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness at Dendy Canberra this weekend. This in turn means that seeing the Rurouni Kenshin live action sequels next weekend at the Japanese Film Festival is looking less likely. Hence: disgruntled.

[2] As I’ve said on twitter at least once: Sailor Moon Crystal is better than GLASSLIP simply by virtue of having a story that is both coherent and competently told.

[3] There are more characters that didn’t make it into the key visual.

[4] It is, after all, Aoi’s job to make sure that the schedule bears some resemblance to reality. See blog tagline above…

[5] Couldn’t resist. I admit that I didn’t like the OP when I first heard it, but fell in love with it by the end of season 1. I’m glad to see Database back for the second season OP.

[6] If you’ve only seen the first season of Log Horizon once, go back and watch the first episode again and see how your foreknowledge changes the experience.

[7] See previous comment re the OP. 🙂

[8] And high expectations at that.

[9] See Denki-Gai below for a counter example

[10] Yes, THAT Kosuke Fujishima.

[11] And time. It might get a run on Saturdays/Sundays when friends come over for Sailor Moon Crystal if they’re interested but otherwise…