In recent years, there always seems to be at least one or two anime every year that suddenly skyrockets in popularity. Sometimes it lasts (Attack on Titan), sometimes it doesn’t (No Game No Life). In mid 2014, this show was Akame ga Kill. A lot of the popularity seemed to come from the manga, but the anime also gathered a pretty big following. Unfortunately, popularity doesn’t always correlate with quality.
One of the biggest problems with the Read or Die OVA was that it didn’t have enough time to develop its story. Three episodes just wasn’t enough time to fully explain the details of the story it wanted to tell. Being a TV series, ROD the TV is able to mostly avoid this problem, although it still occasionally struggles in the story department.
Something I’ve found is that strong characters can make up for a weak story. Having a good story and good characters is ideal, of course, but if I had to pick one to prioritize, it would be good characters. Even if the story is just okay, characters that are fun to watch or interesting to look into can still make a good show. Read or Die is one such case.
Warning: This editorial contains major spoilers for Bleach.
I’ve been following Bleach for a long time. I first picked it up back when the anime was airing on Toonami and I’ve followed both the anime and the manga ever since. With the manga having just ended, I’d like to look at how it went from one of the most popular shonen franchises of it’s time to having the anime get cancelled and the manga rushed to an ending. I won’t give much of a plot summary since I’m assuming everyone reading this is at least somewhat familiar with Bleach (it would also take way too long), but I will go through each arc and look at what worked, what didn’t and how it changed over time.
The topic of fanservice comes up pretty frequently in discussions about anime, and for good reason. Every season has at least one show that obviously just exists as a vehicle for fanservice, and even anime that doesn’t prioritize it sometimes has fanservice. Some people like it and some people hate it, so the question I’m looking at here is whether fanservice is inherently a bad thing.
Considering it’s popularity, it’s not surprising that Sword Art Online got a second season. The first season was easily the most popular anime of 2012 and given the number of novels that hadn’t yet been adapted, it was obvious that a second season would happen eventually. What’s more surprising is how different SAO II is compared to season 1. Season 1 was mainly action driven, while season 2 balances that with more plot and character development. This method doesn’t always work, but it clearly shows how Kawahara began to improve as a writer after the Fairy Dance arc of season 1.
Just like the title says, these are my thoughts on the shows I’ve seen so far this season. I rarely watch more than 4 or 5 anime per season, but this seems to be shaping up to be a strong season. There are a few things that I want to watch that I plan on getting to later, so just because something isn’t included here doesn’t mean I don’t plan on watching it.
Nisio Isin has become a pretty big name in the anime industry in recent years. The anime adaptation of his Monogatari series was a hit in both Japan and the US and has had multiple seasons and movies and is still ongoing. What isn’t as well known is Katanagatari, an anime based on a series of novels by Isin that, despite the name, has nothing to do with Monogatari.
It’s pretty common knowledge that most anime is an adaptation of something. Manga, light novels, visual novels and even mobile games all provide source material for anime. There are a few original anime, but they’re vastly outnumbered by all the adaptations produced every season. As with any adaptation, there are plenty of people who are fans of the original material and complain if the anime changes things and that following the original work is always better. The problem with this mindset is that there’s nothing inherently better about following the source material. All that means is that the anime will have the exact same strengths and weaknesses as the original, so if the original did something badly, so will the adaptation. That said, in my experience, adaptations that stick closer to the source material tend to be better, but not for the reasons people normally give.
While he’s not as well known as Hayao Miyazaki or Mamoru Hosoda, Makoto Shinkai is still one of the most famous anime directors currently working. Prior to seeing Your Name, my only experience with Shinkai’s work was the 2002 OVA Voices of a Distant Star, but I already had high expectations when I saw Your Name at Anime Expo last weekend, expectations that it more than lived up to.