Spring 2014 Episode Rankings – Week 12

So the Spring season is now effectively over, and what an amazing season it was! As I did last time, I’ll be closing the current run of weekly episode rankings with an extra long post, covering everything that ended this week. And while there are a few shows that are due to finish but haven’t yet, my list would be down to just seven titles if I carried on for a 13th week, so as usual I won’t bother. Feel free to ask my thoughts on them in the comments, however! 😀

Hunter x Hunter may not be ending, but with this episode its Chimera Ant arc effectively did. Not much needs to be said other than this: I cried.

Hunter x Hunter may not be ending, but with this episode its Chimera Ant arc effectively did. Not much needs to be said other than this: I cried.

1 – Hunter x Hunter ep 135 ( 2)

2 – Break Blade TV ep 12 ( 3)

3 – Sidonia no Kishi ep 12 ( 2)

4 – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders ep 12 ( 2)

5 – Yowamushi Pedal ep 37 ( 1)

6 – Hitsugi no Chaika ep 12

7 – Black Bullet ep 12 (↑ 2)

8 – Haikyuu!! ep 12 ( 1)

9 – Selector Infected WIXOSS ep 12 (↑ 4)

10 – Nobunaga the Fool ep 24 (↑ 2)

11 – Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii ep 12 ( 1)

12 – Mekaku City Actors ep 12 ( 4)

13 – Blade and Soul ep 12 (↑ 5)

14 – Gokukoku no Brynhildr ep 12 ( 3)

15 – Isshuukan Friends ep 12 ( 1)

16 – Akuma no Riddle ep 12

Who needs Hyggs particles when you can have quartz shuriken yo-yos!

Who needs Hyggs particles when you can have quartz shuriken yo-yos!

Ending:

Winning the award for the most entertaining finale of the season is Break Blade TV – a surprise even for me, since it did plenty of things I don’t usually like in closing episodes (rushed closure, lack of real ending with no sequel in sight etc).  However, I choose to forgive all of that, because the fight between Rygart and Borcuse was just amazing. Unable to use the standard press-guns due to his lack of magical ability, Rygart initially fought with whatever came to hand – I don’t think I’ve ever seen a mech throw rocks before – and several of his blind charges ended with him missing his target completely and tumbling to the ground! Borcuse’s baffled commentary was almost as amusing in its own right. 😛 And things only got better when Sigyn presented Rygart with a huge shuriken on a string. :mrgreen: I like action, and Break Blade delivered some of the best looking fights I’ve seen in a long time, though that’s to be expected since it literally had a movie-level budget.

Sidonia no Kishi also looked amazing – as I’ve said before, the choice of animation style is really justified when it comes to the space combat scenes, and there were plenty of those this week! Great to see Nagate’s battle with Benisuzume in motion, and it was close fought, with Nagate falling unconscious at one point (thankfully Izana was around to save him). Nagate finally finished the Gauna off with what was effectively a rocket punch, even though it was a bullet given to him by Ren that did the real damage – this was almost as awesome as the quartz shuriken, but not quite. 😛 Benisuzume wasn’t quite as talkative an opponent as Borcuse either, though the few Hoshijiro-mimicking lines and creepy laughs that it did utter certainly helped make it more sinister. Most importantly of all, a second series was announced at the end of the episode! 😀

Anyone worried that the animation style wouldn't be able to capture emotions well need only look at Izana throughout the series.

Anyone worried that the animation style wouldn’t be able to capture emotions well need only look at Izana throughout the series.

Hitsugi no Chaika never did get back into my Top 5 after the mid-season point. While it also has pretty awesome animation and fun characters, the plot isn’t overly original, and the short arcs meant there wasn’t any recurring/main enemy to deal with as the two I ranked higher had – though the serial killer shota whose floating fortress runs on the painful memories of his victims made for a fun minor villain. 😛 Layla also revealed a lot about the numerous ‘Chaikas’ over the past couple of episodes, and it’s looking less and less likely that our Chaika Trabant is an exception. The other big surprise in this episode was that they killed(?) off Gilette – it’ll be interesting to see what becomes of his party in Autumn’s sequel (a sequel I am very much looking forward to). 🙂

Ranking fourth out of this week’s finales is Selector Infected WIXOSS, which like Hitsugi no Chaika will undoubtedly be rejoining my rankings in the Autumn. The series struggled in my rankings for a long time, as the revelations about the wish granting were very late coming, and up until that point all it really had was the boring battles and the general sense that something very creepy was going on behind the scenes. Even after the big reveal, it wasn’t exactly Madoka Magica-level wrong – Yuzuki’s personality still exists, albeit in card form, and Hitoe seems to have been able to fight the effects of her wish being reversed. However, the last few episodes made it clear that there’s still a lot we don’t know about – who is really pulling the strings in this game, and why? What is (was?) Tama, if not formerly human like the other LRIGs? And WTF was with Iona’s wish at the end there!? 😮 I’m definitely intrigued enough to see this through to the end.

Ruuko has been denied the chance to sacrifice herself to save the other girls, Madoka-style... I'm guessing from the need for intervention that the wish would otherwise have worked.

Ruuko has been denied the chance to sacrifice herself to save the other girls, Madoka-style… I’m guessing from the need for intervention that the wish would otherwise have worked.

Nobunaga the Fool again challenged the number of plot developments you can cram into a single episode. Nobunaga faces King Arthur, and is able to see through his illusions, revealing him to be an old man. Nobunaga then fights Alexander, with both of them turning into dragons (because everything is better with dragons)! Having just succeeded in summoning the Holy Grail, Arthur is crushed by the other two accidentally. 😛 The focus then turns to Mitsuhide, who sets out to kill his former master… and succeeds. At this point, Nobunaga dies for the world’s sins, using his ‘Destroyer King’ powers to destroy destruction or something like that, and putting an end to humanity’s desire to start wars. If this wasn’t subtle enough, Da Vinci finishes his Last Supper painting featuring the main cast in the place of Jesus and his Apostles. Before randomly falling through the floor and burning to death. Meh, it was very cheesy (especially the ‘several centuries later’ epilogue), but I liked it.

Not much to say about the ending of Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii. It felt quite slow-paced after the events of recent episodes, most notably Nike’s grandmother’s betrayal. The first half focused on Nike’s attempts to meet and reconcile with her, which were initially refused by the stubborn old lady, before she finally sang the couple farewell as they returned home to the Sun Kingdom. They then had to deal with the aftermath of Bard filling the castle with women, and the inevitable backlog of work and important meetings that awaited Livius. As a result, Nike and Livi don’t see each other for a long time, and (as if the fact they’re madly in love wasn’t clear enough at this stage) we have to hear about how painful it for Nike to be apart from him… until Livi escapes and meets up with her, they kiss, and presumably live happily ever after. A cute ending to a series that, while nothing amazing, was entertaining enough to stay well clear of the red zone. 🙂

I have to say, I preferred her song to Nike's...

I have to say, I preferred her song to Nike’s…

Mekaku City Actors was one of the most unpredictable series of the season when it came to the rankings – only Brynhildr and Black Bullet moved around more wildly. A lot of this was because I didn’t know what to make of it, didn’t understand what was going on. But it slowly started to all come together, and started to rise back up as a result. By the time the final episode aired, I understood virtually everything, and was ready for an amazing finale… but what I got after all that build-up was surprisingly generic. And for all the character development, I found myself not really liking any of the cast. Overall, I was left thoroughly underwhelmed by Mekaku City Actors… maybe I’d have liked it more if I was familiar with the source material, but that’s something we’ll never know.

I do feel bad rating Isshuukan Friends so low down, but it was simply too slow-paced for my tastes. Slower than the slowest of romance series, because they’re not even at that stage yet! 😛 The drama of Hajime’s transfer resetting Kaori’s memories, the mystery of the broken promise that may have caused it all… none of it really amounted to much. There were short periods of awkwardness, avoidance etc., but after unexpectedly bumping into each other over the Winter break, they soon made up again. Kaori’s memory is improving, Saki and Shougo are also friends again, and all is right with the world. Maybe aside from being too slow for me, it was also too happy!? 😮

Here's a guy with way more patience than me. :razz:

Here’s a guy with way more patience than me. 😛

Speaking of too happy… Akuma no Riddle. One of my most anticipated series of Spring before it aired, it ends the season in last place. 😦 Episode 12 started off well enough, with Tokaku betraying Haru and attempting to assassinate her. Or did she? The arrival of a second Tokaku who helps Haru to safety, along with the revelation that Nio is an assassin who can change her appearance, adds an unexpected twist – which one is the real Tokaku? Turns out it’s the first one. She wants to kill Haru to prove that she can, to prove that her previous feelings of loyalty weren’t the result of Haru’s supposed manipulative powers. And she succeeds. EXCEPT NO, Haru has titanium bones so she survived. And SHOCK HORROR, so did all the other clearly dead assassins. The last quarter of the episode is basically a look at how everyone is now living happy lives after leaving the Black Class, despite not having their wishes granted. And that, readers, was too much of a cop-out happy ending for me. 😛

I'm not sure I'd ever feel safe accepting food from her... it could well contain a double dose of poison and zombie plague...

I’m not sure I’d ever feel safe accepting food from her… it could well contain a double dose of poison and zombie plague…

And to finish off, here’s how they all ranked on average over the past 12 weeks~

1 – Sidonia no Kishi

2 – Hunter x Hunter

3 – Break Blade TV

4 – Hitsugi no Chaika

5 – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders

6 – Yowamushi Pedal

7 – Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin

8 – Haikyuu!!

9 – Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii

10 – Gokukoku no Brynhildr

11 – Mekaku City Actors

12 – Black Bullet

13 – Mushishi Zoku Shou

14 – Akuma no Riddle

15 – Isshuukan Friends

16 – Date A Live II

17 – Nobunaga the Fool

18 – Selector Infected WIXOSS

19 – Blade and Soul

A shame to see Yowamushi Pedal miss out on a Top 5 spot when it actually only left the weekly Top 5 once all season, but Hitsugi no Chaika scored well early on, while Break Blade and JoJo’s overtook it later. Brynhildr’s early points also saved it, as I’m far from impressed with the show at the moment. And I’d probably switch WIXOSS and Date A Live’s positions. But aside from that, I’d say it’s fairly accurate summary of my thoughts onthe season as a whole.

<< Spring 2014 Episode Rankings – Week 11

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4 Responses to Spring 2014 Episode Rankings – Week 12

  1. I was also rather disappointed in Gokukoku no Brynhildr. Basically, they spent way too much time on the more boring parts of the story, and did not give it enough time to have a proper ending. Trying to put chapters 72-100 of the manga into the last two episodes didn’t work.

    I’m reminded of what fans of the original VN say about the Lunar Legend Tsukihime anime: the anime doesn’t exist. I feel like it’s even more true of Gokukoku no Brynhildr–though, it was nice to see the characters animated.

    • I agree with you on Brynhildr’s ending, and I actually wonder whether it was originally supposed to be a 24/26 episode anime that got cut down for some reason. The change in opening theme 4 episodes before the end seemed odd, and it’s after that point that the pacing seemed to go downhill without any breaks.

      • I also thought to myself that it was going to get a full 24 episodes at least–especially with how exactly they were following the manga. I did start to get nervous when I realized that they had cut out two characters: the new researcher who comes to work at Vingulf and Kazumi’s A ranked foe. There was a decent virtual battle between the Kazumi and that witch in the manga.

  2. […] << Spring 2014 Episode Rankings – Week 12 […]

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