The end of the Summer season is upon us! I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many series end in the same week before, there’s usually a few more 13 ep series in my lineup, so unsurprisingly I won’t break tradition and post rankings for the three series continuing into next week. 😛
What I will do, however, is summarise my thoughts on the other twelve in this post. So be warned – this one’s long, and full of spoilers!
1 – Tokyo Ghoul ep 12 (↑ 4)
2 – Zankyou no Terror ep 11 (↑ 1)
3 – Aldnoah Zero ep 12 (↓ 2)
4 – Re:␣Hamatora ep 12 (↓ 2)
5 – Barakamon ep 11 (↑ 3)
6 – Free! Eternal Summer ep 12 (↑ 1)
7 – Hunter x Hunter ep 148 (↑ 4)
8 – Akame ga Kill! ep 12 (↓ 2)
9 – Haikyuu!! ep 25 (↑ 1)
10 – Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun ep 12 (↑ 2)
11 – Tokyo ESP ep 12 (↓ 2)
12 – Nobunaga Concerto ep 10 (↑ 1)
13 – Sabagebu! ep 12 (↑ 1)
14 – DRAMAtical Murder ep 12 (↑ 1)
15 – Bakumatsu Rock ep 12 (↑ 1)
Coming out of nowhere to take 1st place is Tokyo Ghoul! Amazingly, it didn’t even try to wrap up the ongoing story – The conflict between the Kirishima siblings, the crazy antics of Suzuya Juuzo and Gourmet, and all the other Anteiku vs Aogiri Tree vs CCG battles are all going to have to wait for the sequel (which may or may not be happening). Instead, we got a whole episode of Kaneki being subjected to physical, mental and emotional torture by Jason, interspersed with flashbacks to his younger childhood with his mother, and discussions with his inner Rize about how he would always be weak if he didn’t learn to sacrifice one thing for the sake of another. The end result of this was Kaneki suddenly becoming badass, and subjecting Jason to his own torture methods before consuming him. If this series does get continued, he should be a much more fun protagonist second time around. 😀
Aldnoah Zero‘s ending wasn’t really an ending either, just a collection of huge plot twists designed to make us look forward to the sequel (this one’s official)… but I’m fine with that! This episode didn’t leave me with many positive thoughts about Slaine – who’d have thought that saving Saazbaum, the guy whose sole intention was to kill Princess Asseylum and start a war with Earth, would lead to Asseylum getting killed by Saazbaum!? 😮 Then he goes and kills our protagonist Inaho, who I was just starting to like. If Slaine ends up filling his vacancy as main character in the next series, he’ll have a lot of work to do to win me over. Technically Earth’s UFE won the fight, but with no Aldnoah power and no strategic genius left to them, it’ll be interesting to see how they defend themselves from Vers’ inevitable retributions!
Now onto a show that didn’t really manage to make its final episode plot twists work… Tokyo ESP. In which the main antagonist was killed by two virtually naked esper siblings who we’d never seen before… hmm. The episode had some good fight scenes, hence why it didn’t place last, but TBH the action (and that ending theme, sadly absent from the final episode) was about the only thing the series had going for it from the beginning. The plot felt very rushed, allowing little time for character development… more than anything, I feel let down by what sounded like it would be a decent anime. 😕 Not sure whether I’d watch a sequel, if it got one.
Nobunaga Concerto ended by saying that the true concerto between the two Nobunaga’s is only just beginning… so many anime this season feel like they’re depending on sequels! This episode even introduced a new time traveller, Young (or Yasuke), who after being mistaken for an oni and getting taken on as Saburo’s bodyguard, was instantly sidelined. The real Nobunaga also learned the truth about Saburo being from the future… which is why if this series does get continued, I’ll probably watch it, as the relationship between those two was just starting to get interesting!
I might be slightly overrating the finale of Zankyou no Terror… it was a little cliche, but emotional in spite of that. Amazingly, Sphinx were able to set the nuke off safely in the stratosphere, killing nobody directly (though I dread to think how many people died as an indirect effect of the country suddenly losing all its electronics)! And the reason why they did all of this? To bring the world’s attention to their past, Project Athena, and the people behind it. It worked. Unfortunately, going to prison would be way too boring an end for our main characters, so Twelve ends up being shot… I might have cried, if my father hadn’t ruined the moment by walking in and talking over it. 😦 Nine died almost immediately afterwards, from the effects of the drug. Lisa and Shibazaki amazingly escape with their lives and freedom. I’m satisfied with the series overall. I mean, it had an actual ending! 😮
Re:␣Hamatora‘s final episode managed to wrap up all the loose ends and last minute plot twists surprisingly well – though the characters in this series have way too much plot armour! The inhabitants of this apocalyptic world without egos seemed to be having a surprising amount of fun, shame that Saikyo didn’t feel the same way after all her efforts. Art inexplicably being alive (and free, and acting friendly with the others despite all that happened) at the end frustrated me for a few seconds, before I decided to let it slide since Hamatora has always been as much about the comedy as the plot, and it was nice to see it finish on a lighter note. 😛
Bakumatsu Rock spent the second half of the season at the bottom of my rankings, after I dropped Persona 4 Golden and Rokujyoma no Shinryakusha!?… it wasn’t terrible, but it did get a bit repetitive, both the songs themselves and their use in overcoming all enemies and obstacles. Once again several characters were inexplicably raised from the dead, but in a series this silly I’d have been more annoyed if they’d actually been killed off! I don’t think I’d watch a sequel, even if it featured that fabulous American rocker at the end. 😛
DRAMAtical Murder didn’t fare much better – the episodes in which Aoba dived into the minds of the other characters, revealing and destroying their insecurities, were good, but like a lot of harem anime it had a tendency to sideline those characters once their ‘route’ was finished… just as they were getting interesting. The last episode wasn’t terrible, but it tried to fit in a bit too much, and presumably had to leave a lot out (like Mink – what happened to him!?). Ren turning out to be both a bishonen and a third part of Aoba was an unexpected twist… glad he survived in the end. 🙂
On to the comedies next, starting with Sabagebu! This was another series that, while amusing at first, started to get a bit repetitive towards the end. While the grand finale took the survival games to a whole new level, featuring all the characters from throughout the series rushing to defend Momoka from a government agency, it largely followed the same pattern as all the other ‘battles’, and the ending was predictable. After that, it ended on a segment where the club tried to throw a birthday party for Urara, but failed miserably. However, they make up for it by offering her the best possible birthday present – Momoka. Again, predictable, but the episode gave me a few laughs. 🙂
Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun managed to avoid getting repetitive, despite most of the jokes revolving around characters hilariously misunderstanding each other – the Valentine’s chocolate scene was a great example of this. 😛 The second half of the episode took place in a festival, and all the side characters got a final chance to shine! I lost track of who had met who in this series, so seeing Wakamatsu mistake Kashima for Seo’s boyfriend was unexpected, but hilarious. Mikorin’s adorable desire for more praise was possibly my favourite moment, though. 😀 After all that, the series ended with a ‘should have been a confession, but wasn’t’ scene – cliche, but no rom-com would be complete without it~
Last but certainly not least, we have the longer series that started before this Summer. Haikyuu!! has been a consistently good shonen sports series, with a fantastic cast of characters with (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again) the best facial expressions in the history of anime. 😀 The last couple of episodes were a bit of a downer, with their loss in the regionals being followed up by the third years getting ‘serious future talk’ from their teachers… thankfully they’ve all decided not to retire, and with another tournament coming up before the end of the academic year, the current Karasuno team still have a chance of making a national tournament. In the sequel. If it gets one. I hope it does!
Finally, we have Hunter x Hunter. At 148 episodes, it easily beats Space Brothers to become the longest series I’ve followed weekly from start to finish, over three years. Of course I’d love to see the anime continue someday, and wish the manga-ka a full recovery, but for now I’m more than satisfied with where it ended – Gon finally met Ging, had a good father-son chat, and he (and we the viewers) learned that their world is a lot bigger than the maps suggested! Scary to think that there could be bigger threats out there than the Chimera Ants. 😮 It’ll be weird not having Hunter x Hunter in my weekly lineup, but hopefully I’ll find something in the coming seasons to fill the gap it’s left behind. 🙂
And to finish off, here’s how everything I watched from beginning to end ranked on average over the past 12 weeks:
1 – Zankyou no Terror
2 – Aldnoah Zero
3 – Kuroshitsuji: Book of Circus
4 – Hunter x Hunter
5 – Barakamon
6 – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders
7 – Tokyo Ghoul
8 – Re:_Hamatora
9 – Haikyuu!!
10 – Akame ga Kill!
11 – Tokyo ESP
12 – Free! Eternal Summer
13 – Nobunaga Concerto
14 – Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun
15 – Love Stage!!
16 – Sabagebu!
17 – DRAMAtical Murder
18 – Bakumatsu Rock
Shame to see Free! Eternal Summer end up so low, but for me it only really began to shine in the second half. Nice to see Barakamon place in my Top 5, showing that it can be done if a comedy is good enough… unfortunate that JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure had to be the one to miss out, though. Last of all, Zankyou no Terror and Aldnoah Zero will be joining last season’s Sidonia no Kishi in my all-time Top 50. 😀