The 12 Anime I dropped in Fall 2014

I started Fall 2014 with 22 shows on my review docket and eight more that I was just watching. Now, at the half way mark, that number has dropped to 10 being reviewed and four just watching.

The following is a list of the 12 shows I dropped, why I dropped them, and why you may want to give them a second chance.

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12. Karen Senki

Pounding action, slick sexy ladies with eye patches fighting robots and so little time to breath. The action is so constant, and so over the top, it wears out its welcome very quickly.

Worth watching if you want dumb action, especially if you can string a bunch of the episodes together. It’s also sort of attractive looking, as long as you aren’t turned off by the 3D CGI.

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10-11. Tribe Cool Crew and Kaito Joker

Both shows were harmless upbeat and kid friendly and nothing more interesting than that could be written about them. Additionally, I can only assume Kaito Joker was a parody of #8 Magic Kaito, which itself was a fairly young-audience focused show to begin with.

Both are worth watching if you want kid-friendly shows that are currently on the air.

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9. SHIROBAKO

This technically excellent, very well drawn and written anime drowned me in its gigantic cast and a deeply technical presentation on how anime is made… which I already know about, professionally.

Worth watching if you want to know what it’s like working in a studio. Just be warned, like real life, several characters are annoying, flaky, damaged people.

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8. Magic Kaito 1412

This acceptable teen ‘master thief’ action, comedy, mystery, enemy of the week romp established its formula and season long mystery goal fairly early. Unfortunately, the formula (that Kid is always going to win and that most of his opponents are buffoons) and the convoluted plot about the fountain of youth being hidden in gems lost my interest.

Worth watching if you like the Lupin III genre, if that is actually considered a genre?

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7. Akatsuki no Yona

This bafflingly popular swords and generals Korean princess betrayal romance comedy action show is not really hate-worthy. Rather, it’s completely average in all areas: visual execution, plot complexity, pacing and romantic growth.

Worth watching if you already love the manga or want a Korean alternative to Samurai aesthetics in your romantic action drama.

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6. Grisaia no Kajitsu

After an enticing opening that played with uncomfortable emotions and agendas hidden mere inches under every surface, this show devolved into an oddly talky harem trope. It’s still weirdly funny and can be attractive when it needs to.

Worth watching if all you want is a weird and fan service-heavy harem show. Extra points if you can find it uncensored.

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5. World Trigger

Didn’t hook me with it’s pseudo-Power Rangers, so-bad-it’s-funny design. Nor did I find it’s cast of obnoxious middle school heroes as harmless as I did in TCC or Joker. It was almost funny bad.

Worth watching if you’re younger or have an old flame for the Kid-Ranger genre.

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4. Trinity Seven

What began as a typical demon lord enters magical school and must create a harem out of the strongest girls on campus genre anime…didn’t go much farther. One of our commenters suggested this show is making deep criticisms of the Japanese education system and, while I found his argument a brilliant read, it doesn’t change the fact that T7 is a deeply formulaic, fanservice-driven show on the surface.

Worth watching if you like magical harem genre shows (it has decent boobies with minimal censorship) but be warned: T7’s color palette is very very gray…

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3. Nanatsu no Taizai

What truly boggles the mind about Seven Deadly Sins is the decision to run a kid-looking old man as it’s central heroThe criss-cross of his age is at odds with his function as an ultimate warrior in the princess’ time of need and as her constant sexual molester. Seven Deadly Sins avoids being the worst show of the season due to the fact that it set the bar so very low from the very beginning, that there’s no sense of loss by ignoring it.

Worth watching if you wanted more boob grabbing in Chaika or like Akatsuki no Yona but wanted more action and a One Piece-like art style.

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2. Madan no Ou to Vanadis

Big production goals and a grand plot about fantasy/medieval politics completely fell apart due to abrasive fanservice that had no reason for being there, shallow characters and, ultimately, a harem framework. Vanadis deserves a special spot in Anime Hell not just for being such a mess, but pretending it was something more from the get-go.

Worth watching if you want to watch women with giant tits yelling at each other while waving swords and, occasionally, need to have venom sucked out of their bodies.

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1. Hi Scoool! Seha Girls

Humor about Sega’s old gaming hardware, as told by anthropomorphic consoles, isn’t compelling in the best of light. Rendered in simplistic 3D CGI makes it all the uglier. There’s nothing else to it.

Watch this when you are ready to die inside.

Bleach – 01

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On this evening, 10 years, or 3,652 days, or 87,648 hours, or 5,258,880 seconds ago, the premiere of Bleach aired on TV Tokyo during the network’s 40th anniversary on the air…and the world was never the same. Well, maybe that’s overstating things…but the world was most definitely slightly different for me, as Bleach would go on to be the first contemporary anime I’d follow regularly, and at one point, religiously.

Like another popular animated series, Bleach went on too long, and I watched too long; in hindsight I’d have retired from the show at the conclusion of its third season after a total of 63 episodes. After that came the first of many excrutiating “anime-original” arcs that, also in hindsight, weren’t worth my precious time (or yours). That was a perfectly respectable three seasons.

Bleach’s best years happened long before RABUJOI was a glimmer in its reclusive founder’s eye, so on the tenth anniversary of its premiere airing, I thought it would be fun to give it a standard RABUJOI review, as if I were picking it up for the new Fall 2004 Season (Mind you, I won’t write it as my ten-years-younger self; that wouldn’t be good for anyone.) Enjoy!

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A gloomy, colorless dimension: two black objects shoot up out of a larger mass. Cut to the real world at night. We have no form, therefore we fear it. Two objects fall onto a sidewalk; their faces show for a moment. And because we are formless, we revere it. Then cut to a solitary girl in a black perched on a telephone pole, admiring the full moon before bounding over the town. Thus we are slain. Striking images, striking words (displayed, not spoken). An enticing prologue overall. So far so good!

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Cut to a punkish-looking kid beating up other punks. Turns out he’s mad over them knocking over the flowers left for a recently-deceased girl, so he’s a punk with a heart as gold as his head, which looks bleached. The dead girl thanks him: she’s a ghost, but Kurosaki Ichigo can see ghosts. At home, above the clinic his dad runs, dad ambushes Ichigo, and a heated battle commences as his more mature little sisters tuck in to dinner. Ichigo isn’t hungry, so goes to bed. Nice looking family; worth fighting for.

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The next morning is eventful and strange, with Ichigo running into the ghost girl again, who is on the run from a ferocious monster with a very distinctive, Godzilla-esque roar. As the brute bears down, the girl cloaked in black gives it a taste of her katana, then another, and it’s gone. Then she’s gone, and the color and sound of the world returns. Increased ghost sightings, now monsters? Ichigo is troubled.

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That night the girl in black breaks into his room and ignores him as if he’s not there, earning her a kick in the ass, killing the dark, serious mood in the best way. The girl is amazed he can see her, but identifies herself as a shinigami, charged with killing monsters like the one he saw that morning, as well as sending more docile ghosts to Soul Society, i.e. heaven. Ichigo voices his disbelief and calls her a stupid brat, and for that gets hit with a kido binding spell. The shinigami explains the particulars of the system: plus good, hollow bad, soul burial good. It’s an infodump, but efficiently delivered with a dash of comedy, thanks to her silly drawings.

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The mood becomes dark again when hollows invade Ichigo’s house, and they don’t fuck around, going straight for Ichigo’s beloved little sisters. The shinigami springs into action without unbinding him, but he breaks the magic with sheer shounen will…and yelling. He jumps out in front of the hollow to make it drop Karin, and the shinigami has to come between them to save them, gravely wounding herself in the process.

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The hollow is stunned but not dead, so the bloodied shinigami gets a crazy idea, based upon all the unheard-of-for-a-human abilities Ichigo has thus far exhibited. She’ll lend him, say, half of her shinigami powers so he can finish the hollow and save them all, telling him her name in the process: Kuchiki Rukia. But Ichigo isn’t a halfway kinda guy, and ends up taking all her powers. Donning the same black-and-white garb as her and wielding a Freakin’ Huge Sword, Ichigo takes care of business, easily dispatching his first hollow in the first moments of his new job as Substitute Shinigami.

On the whole, this was the kind of episode that mercilessly tempts you to watch on. It lays out a lot, and gets a little talky at times, but still leaves so much up in the air that I can’t help but want to tune in to see what comes next. While Ichigo initially comes off as a bit of a dick for stealing all of Rukia’s powers, he doesn’t do it intentionally, and did it out of a desire to protect his family. It struck a nice balance of action, comedy, and supernatural elements wrapped in a stylish package, somewhat rough animation aside, with a memorable soundtrack to boot. I think this show could go far!

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