Spring 2014 Episode Rankings – Week 1

Spring is here! And with it come a bunch of new anime series, good, bad and generic. Since pretty much everything I was following last season has now ended, I’ve picked up a whopping 15 new shows, and even that’s less than half of everything on offer. Have I made the right choices? Probably not, but they’re varied at least, so I’ll stick with them until at least mid-season. 🙂

So once again, here’s a full list of everything I’ll be following, in order of how much I liked each episode, and more detailed thoughts/comments about a few of them.

Somehow, I doubt the 'weak' part.

Somehow, I doubt the ‘weak’ part.

1 – Hitsugi no Chaika ep 1

2 – Sidonia no Kishi ep 1

3 – Yowamushi Pedal ep 26

4 – Hunter x Hunter ep 124

5 – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders ep 1

6 – Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin ep 1

7 – Gokukoku no Brynhildr ep 1

8 – Mekaku City Actors ep 1

9 – Isshuukan Friends ep 1

10 – Haikyuu!! ep 1

11 – Date a Live II ep 1

12 – Akuma no Riddle ep 1

13 – No Game No Life ep 1

14 – Selector Infected WIXOSS ep 1

15 – Mushishi Zoku Shou ep 1

16 – Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii ep 1

17 – Nobunaga the Fool ep 13

18 – Blade and Soul ep 1

Sidonia no Kishi's protagonist, on a relatively good day.

Sidonia no Kishi’s protagonist, on a relatively good day.

Topping my list at this early stage is Hitsugi no Chaika, one of several shows I’ve picked up that I’d list under the broad category of ‘sci-fi/fantasy action’. Hitsugi stood out for me for several reasons; most importantly, I immediately took a liking to the characters, both the strong saboteur siblings and the mysterious coffin-carrying Chaika, whose broken Japanese added to her charm. 😛 Animal ears are also a thing in this world, always a bonus. 😀 The battle against the unicorn at the start of the episode was fantastically animated, and the amount of blood and gore on display promises that it won’t shy away from such things where other series might. The premise of ‘acquiring’ eight maguffins from eight old heroes doesn’t seem overly original, but that’ll all depend on what the items are, and why they’re being sought after.

I’d already been reading the manga for Sidonia no Kishi long before the anime premiered, which doesn’t happen very often for me. As a result, I’m not sure how much of my high rating is due to the episode itself, and how much of it is bias since I already like the characters, and know what’s coming next plot-wise. Either way, I’ve got no complaints about this adaptation so far – as far as I recall it’s sticking to the introductory chapters of the manga faithfully, the character’s voices don’t sound horribly wrong compared to those I’d already established for them in my head, and while the animation style will take some getting used to, it looks a lot better than other 3D anime I’ve seen before. 🙂

Squishy? Really?

Squishy? Really?

Gokukoku no Brynhildr has a few things going for it: it’s by the same manga-ka as Elfen Lied, and so far looks as though it could be just as dark. Here we have a girl whose background and motives are unknown, who looks exactly like the protagonist’s (deceased) childhood friend, shares the same name as her, seems to be able to predict the future, possesses super strength… and who sucks at maths, and is apparently squishy. I don’t even. Not sure what to make of the male lead himself so far, but after that near-death experience, I imagine he’ll take heed of Kuroneko’s warnings in future. 😛

Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin really has me intrigued. Protagonist Yama Jugo moves to Nanaejima, a man-made island created solely for students. He moves into the cheapest accommodation he can find, only to discover that it’s haunted. The interactions between Jugo and the ghost, Nanana, were amusing enough on their own, but add in the revelation that she was one of the creators of the island, that she was murdered and the culprit has yet to be found, and that she has mountains of treasure hidden throughout the island, and I needed no further convincing. 🙂

THE HORROR!

THE HORROR!

Lower down in the list is Akuma no Riddle – the first episode wasn’t disappointing by any means, it just came up against some very tough competition. 😛 The episode focused largely on character introduction – our main characters are Haru, a seemingly ordinary girl who presumably is anything but ordinary, considering that every other pupil at her school is an assassin sent to kill her, and Azuma (sorry, Azuma-san), one of said assassins. The majority of the other assassins seem like the usual crazy killer types you find in survival game/yandere anime series, though there’s a few we haven’t really been introduced to yet. With two girls sharing each room, and seemingly forming natural pairs, I was definitely reminded of Loveless by the same author. 🙂

Selector Infected WIXOSS looks as though it will also end up being pretty creepy. So far (aside from the creepy nightmare scene) it seems innocent enough, with girls randomly being selected (or perhaps infected?) by their cards to take part in a competition against other ‘Selectors’, with the eventual winner being granted whatever they wish for… but that sort of thing never ends well in anime. We’re also told that anyone who loses three battles loses the right to be a Selector – I do wonder whether that’s the only penalty. I’m getting definite Madoka Magica vibes from this, and only hope it turns out to be more than just a blatant rip-off with cards games instead of magical girls.

Hate to disagree, but I found the battle the weakest part of the episode - some explanation of the rules would be nice!

Hate to disagree, but I found the battle the weakest part of the episode – some explanation of the rules would be nice!

I might be being a bit harsh on Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii with this rating, but the first episode didn’t stand out much for me. I doubt it’ll be representative of the series as a whole though, since this is a romantic comedy, and we’ve only met one member of the couple-to-be. Nike is a likeable enough character, easily able to take care of herself (so long as she isn’t starving to death, but surely that goes for all of us). And the fact that she ended up betrothed to the Sun King in the first place because she lost a game of rock paper scissors made me laugh a lot, as did her sisters’ tall tales and hearsay about the guy, and gave an early indication that this series shouldn’t be taken TOO seriously. I look forward to seeing the two interact for the first time in the next episode!

Propping up the rest of the list is Blade and Soul… a series that probably benefited from being one of the first things to air, while I was excited and willing to pick up anything that didn’t suck outright. This episode saw the quiet but tough Aruka get hired to protect a village and its young chief from the forces of the Param Empire, only to end up dooming said village when one of the Empire’s envoys recognises her as the traitor who killed their master! Seems she’s been framed, however, and is on a quest for revenge against the true killer. A fairly standard plot, with nice character designs but below-average production values, and not a lot of depth so far. Nothing wrong with the odd guilty pleasure though, and there’s always the possibility it may develop into more than that. 🙂

I hear he's bald with two big horns, has tons of body hair, and that his breath is nauseating...

I hear he’s bald with two big horns, has tons of body hair, and that his breath is nauseating…

My overall thoughts on this season are very positive – there’s not much separating these shows at this point, they all had enjoyable first episodes. I only wish I had time to pick up a few more…

<< Winter 2014 Episode Rankings – Week 12

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4 Responses to Spring 2014 Episode Rankings – Week 1

  1. mexu2d says:

    Reblogged this on MEXU2D and commented:
    I’ve picked up a whopping 22 new animes this term. But regardless, this season is awesome. There is an amazing selection, I haven’t been this is excited in spring since romance was whispering in the air and pollen was causing hay fever to have a festival…. aaaah. No really, this is a great season, check out Angryjellyfish’s Blog and their Spring 2014 Episode Rankings. 🙂

  2. Hitsugi no Chaika’s first episode was also my favorite. The characters are really likable, and the show seems like it will have some great action.

    I saw episode two of Blade and Soul, and decided to drop it. That anime just exudes mediocrity.

    • I was genuinely disappointed when Hitsugi no Chaika and Sidonia no Kishi’s episodes ended, as I was enjoying them so much and didn’t want to have to wait a week for more. In all my years and seasons of watching anime weekly, not many shows have had that effect on me so early on. Definitely the sign of a good season. 😀

      I’ve not seen the second episode of Blade and Soul yet, but will likely get around to it this evening. I can tolerate mediocrity, as long as there’s action or something else there to prevent it from being completely boring – something’s got to place last in my rankings after all, and I’d feel bad if it had to be a decent series. 😛

  3. […] << Spring 2014 Episode Rankings – Week 1 […]

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