Finally we come to Part 4 of our Summer 2014 viewing guide. This is a list of the upper crust of shows, plus our top picks for the season. These are the shows we expect the greatest things from and will sting us most deeply if they fall short!
Genres: Action, Mecha, Sci-Fi
Hannah: Could I go a whole season without a mecha series? After this show’s very strong opening salvo, I’m inclined to think not. We’ll see how the show gets the hero into that cockpit and how he fares; his un-excitable temperament should serve him well.
Franklin: The villains are, so far, a bit simplistic but it looks good and nothing is worrisome. the question is if there is enough of a hook to care. it runs the risk of being another Rinne no Lagrange style anime that’s just ‘not bad’ as Gundam cliches go.
Genres: Comedy, Slice of Life
Zane: Fun, heartfelt, often hilarious show about a stalled artist from the city exiled to a quiet island full of colorful characters, including one very cute girl who just won’t leave him alone.
Franklin: I own a small child myself and Barakamon has me in stitches, constantly! Extra points for being an unexplored topic too!
Genres: Comedy, Romance, School, Shounen
Zane: This is a show that’s not afraid to let its hair down and get silly and ridiculous…the misunderstandings between the two leads in matters regarding romance were understandable and/or clever; never labored…they make a damn good team, and they had me laughing early and often.
Franklin: This is a keeper, even if future eps don’t hit the same highs, if only for how much the first made us all so happy!
Genres: Slice of Life, Seinen
Zane: This episode was very pretty and its characters exceedingly cute. Neither Naru or Hana are too irritating, going right up to the line at times but never crossing it. The focus on yosakoi screams CULTURE and appeals to us in the same way as Chihayafuru’s devotion to karuta another offbeat cultural phenomenon that has evolved with the times. Plus the dancing’s real purty.
Franklin: Girls who lack confidence in their abilities shows can go horribly wrong and can be cringe fests that take forever to go anywhere but, for now, I’m willing to watch Hanayamata because it hasn’t crossed the line AND IS GORGEOUS! Very pretty. Will it survive the long cut? we’ll see…
Genres: Comedy, Ecchi, Fantasy, Shounen
Franklin: Boy meets witch, gets her magic powers, but will be killed when he’s had 666 wishes fulfilled. its a bit generic, average-looking but chuckle-worthy. the dark twist to the otherwise light humor works well enough. I’ll keep watching but it’s on the “Probably Drop-By-Mid-season” list.
Preston: Sometimes you just have a smidgen of patience and see an episode through. I did with the first episode of, and it rewarded me by getting better and better as I watched it. Sure, the lead is a horndog, and bits with panty-less or bra-less girls can get tiresome. But Majimoji Rurumo makes it all work, when given a chance. I found its art style simple yet zany.
…That’s right: two of us are reviewing this one. Booyah!
Genres: Comedy, Sci-Fi, Space
Zane: I’ve heard all sorts of arguments for why Space Dandy has been a disappointment: It’s not Cowboy Bebop; it always hits the reset button; Space Dandy is a loser; it’s not Cowboy Bebop (whoops). Myself; I’m not particularly hung up on any of those arguments. All’s I knows is, from one week to the next, I may have no idea what I’m going to get from Space Dandy, but I know there’s a good chance I’ll enjoy it.
Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Game, Romance, Shounen
Hannah: That’s a lot of genres, but SAO has always juggled them nicely, and its versatility continues in this sequel. It has also always excelled in its action set pieces its world-building and gorgeous vistas, and in the building of its core relationships. Where it stumbled a bit last season was in sidelining its strongest female character and introducing a campy, comically-evil nemesis to defeat. New Girl Sinon looks to make up for that first stumble; we’ll see if this season’s Big Bad has a little more dimension to him (or her).
Genres: Psychological, Thriller
Hannah: This show has the immediate potential and charisma to dominate the season like Sidonia did this past Spring…at least for me. There was nothing I looked more forward to than that gritty hard sci-fi space epic, and it’s the same deal here. The elements are simple: girl joins a pair of terrorists brothers…because she has nothing better to do; but the devils are in the detail, and detail abounds in ZnT. It may have come late, and I may have even hoped it wouldn’t be any good so I didn’t have to add one more show to the list, but I officially retract that wish, effective immediately.
Franklin: There’s not much to say about ZnT. It’s fantastically rendered, well animated, well designed, mysterious, charming, well voice acted and doesn’t over do any aspect of it’s entire presentation to make us want anything more than MORE MORE MORE!