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Old 2015-04-02, 02:04   Link #1
Benigmatica
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2014: The year of mecha anime (opinion and discussion)

I would like to know your opinion regarding the mecha anime genre in 2014. Which series is the best and which on is the worst. And also, is the genre didn't get lucky this time around in 2014? Let me know...

NOTE: Please include Cross Ange and Aldnoah.Zero (1st and 2nd half) in this discussion. Also, please discuss GBF Try instead of the original Build Fighters. Then again, it's made to sell toys anyway.

Honestly, I feel that the genre didn't fare enough as there's no series that stand out from the rest.
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Old 2015-04-02, 02:55   Link #2
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There are series that stand out from the rest though.

Sidonia no Kishi and Soukyuu no Fafner: Exodus
Like why are people even putting Cross Ange and Aldnoah Zero without even including Fafner into the discussion which is far better than both in winter

Gundam build fighters try wasn't even half bad
Gundam G no Reconguista's story looks like it needed 4 cours but the budget and production value put into it is amazing. Gundam the origin is also good.

looking through the list
We also got Buddy Complex (which i guess could have stood out if it received a second cour instead of just getting two ova sequel episodes).
as for the others, i can't say i really liked shirogane, captain earth, M3, and any others

Not sure where to put break blade since it was just a shortened tv version of the earlier movies.

Last edited by IceHism; 2015-04-02 at 03:08.
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Old 2015-04-02, 05:51   Link #3
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Last year we got plenty of mecha series in it, even though they tend to be either hit or miss with very few in between. I actually like Cross Ange the best, it has a combined charm of actiony all-girl cast interactions with mecha theme even though it's not the first series to do so. It is admitedly very flawed and the production values aren't too good by Sunrise standards, however it actually had a lot of memorable moments in it.

Daimidaler is, to me, a rather silly guilty pleasure. It loves to make fun of old school mecha through hilarious references and then throw some rather perverted morals to it. It's not for everyone, but I did enjoy it the whole way.

My least favorite would be Dai Shogun and I'm sure anyone else will agree this is without a doubt the worst anime series of last year ever. I was promised we'll get a sleeper hit of the season with a weird premise that will end up very well executed and has the potential of being a comedy drama series with the director often doing a excellent blend at it in the past. Sadly, my high expectations went down to a pool of disappointing feelings as soon it ended up being a terrible series that wastes potential from the very first minute of the anime, it do a rather lazy job at conveying into the narrative elements and the comedy wasn't even funny most of the time. Hell, I can go that the animation is horrible (never saw it being obviously shown in a exageratedly bad way since Musashi Gundoh) and when it spends mostly about still shots with little to no actual animation, I wouldn't call it "animation" in the proper sense, there was no effort put into it either as J.C Staff is still too busy working on Wixoss during that time. The only positive points are the stunning character designs and the passable OST, but because it is impossible for the animators to do fluid movements on such overdesigned characters even with a low budget, you'd have no other choice than resorting to slideshows for no apparent reason. What a shame.
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Old 2015-04-02, 06:03   Link #4
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Um, let's save Soukyuu no Fafner: Exodus for 2015 shall we? Oh yeah, and Knights of Sidonia is a good mecha anime. However, I feel that I couldn't watch it because of the CGI visuals.

For Cross Ange, I guess that Fukuda-san and Sunrise did a good job of making a glorious train-wreck, surpassing Kakumeiki Valvrave in terms of ridiculousness. Not only that, but it has more closure and development than let's say Aldnoah.Zero. Of course, the only letdown is the animation quality as well as the main antagonist!
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Old 2015-04-02, 06:32   Link #5
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Besides Knights of Sidonia, the last good mecha anime I watched was Majestic Prince. Honestly I haven't enjoyed the genre much these days. I preferred when the focus was actually on space adventures, operas, action, some philosophy and political/social commentary.....and, you know....the mechs!

That "look to the stars and find your destiny" feeling, if you know what I mean. It's absent from so many things these days.
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Old 2015-04-02, 07:57   Link #6
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Any thoughts on M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane? Personally, this mecha anime is the most overlooked in favor of either Nobunaga: The Fool or Aldnoah.Zero.

Despite its flaws, I think Mari Okada did a good job on making the characters suffer as well as bringing horror to the mecha genre.
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Old 2015-04-02, 08:07   Link #7
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Originally Posted by Benigmatica View Post
Any thoughts on M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane? Personally, this mecha anime is the most overlooked in favor of either Nobunaga: The Fool or Aldnoah.Zero.

Despite its flaws, I think Mari Okada did a good job on making the characters suffer as well as bringing horror to the mecha genre.
M3 & Argevollen definitely two of the better-written mecha in 2014. Sadly, these shows are overlooked and abandoned by many due to generic by-the-number beginning in Argevollen’s case and the consistently gloomy and angst-filled M3. It’s a shame since they’re far better written than Aldnoah, Cross Ange, and Nobu The Fool combined. And yes, I found M3 a bit fascinating since they managed to combine (not perfectly but still decently) mecha & horror, a pretty rare mix which I really appreciate.
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Old 2015-04-02, 08:37   Link #8
Solace
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Originally Posted by Benigmatica View Post
Any thoughts on M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane? Personally, this mecha anime is the most overlooked in favor of either Nobunaga: The Fool or Aldnoah.Zero.

Despite its flaws, I think Mari Okada did a good job on making the characters suffer as well as bringing horror to the mecha genre.
I disagree. M3 started with an interesting premise, but somehow forgot what it was doing, spending the majority of its run jumping from one plot point or character to the next and dragging the audience along until finally you get some answers right at the end. The characters are awful, bland designs with barely any personality, or completely over the top because why not. Nothing ever really builds on anything and except for maybe Emiru, it's hard to care about what happens to any of them. Especially Sasami and Minashi....what the hell happened there?

The horror aspects of the show are okay, but the whole mecha angle is stupid and not really needed. The mechs felt like an afterthought, with more attention spent on what was powering them and not enough thinking about why the heck they were needed in the first place. This seems to be a trend, where giant robots are tossed into a show even when they're completely out of place. Giant robots work just fine in Aldnoah or Argevollen, because the plot is focused on them to a large degree. They make way less sense in Cross Ange or M3, because they're really just a means to an end, making them feel tacked on because someone wanted to sell some merchandise.

M3 would have been better served with half the length, no mechs, and more Higurashi or Another.
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Old 2015-04-02, 08:59   Link #9
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please discuss GBF Try instead of the original Build Fighters. Then again, it's made to sell toys anyway.
The second half of the original series aired in 2014.... (which was were most of the hype episodes were....) if you want to include Aldnoah Pt 2 which aired in 2015 over that... lol and most anime is made to sell something.... so that's a rather pointless dig at the show.
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Old 2015-04-02, 22:27   Link #10
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Sure that Build Fighters is great but let's talk about GBF Try instead as I'm talking about shows that originally aired in 2014. This includes Aldnoah.Zero (all 24 episodes).

Meanwhile in Argevollen, I feel that it needs a sequel as there's more questions need to be answered but XEBEC will just abandon that show anyway.
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Old 2015-04-02, 22:59   Link #11
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For me the recent "mech year" was 2007, when both Gurren Lagann and Code Geass was on air. Good times.

Unfortunately none of the shows last year really impressed me.
I really wanted to watch and like Sidonia, but I just can't get past the low budget CG look.
Thankfully Sidonia is a very good manga as source, so I'm not missing out too much.
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Old 2015-04-03, 13:09   Link #12
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Any thoughts on M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane? Personally, this mecha anime is the most overlooked in favor of either Nobunaga: The Fool or Aldnoah.Zero.
M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane was okay but not great tbh. The first cour was honestly a bit of a chore to get through. None of the characters besides Emiru and the psycho dude were even remotely interesting and the story dragged a lot. And I mean a lot.

The second cour, however, was like something else completely. The plot started moving, we finally started to get answers (really good answers), characters got their focus and became more interesting. It was a million times better than the first cour. There were still issues I had with the story in the second cour but it was really enjoyable overall.

I think M3 might have just been an example of bad scheduling. It seemed too ambitious to be just one cour but didn't have enough material for two cours so it went with two cours and dragged the first half a lot. I do think M3 is kinda overlooked, but in another way I can't say I blame anyone for overlooking it.

As for the mecha aspect, there were some really interesting plot related tie ins to it like:
Spoiler for M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane:

But I also wonder if it might have been better without the mecha.

As for Mecha in 2014, I really enjoyed Argevollen even if it did falter towards the end. Captain Earth was decent: it had it's moments of brilliance but didn't turn out to be anything special overall. Buddy Complex was also decent but was hard done by and had to squash it's final arc into an OVA. Only Gundam Unicorn was truly great but that was a four year OVA series so I'm not sure it's fair to compare. Aldoah.Zero and Gundam: Reconguista in G were massive disappointments and the less said about Cross Ange and Nobunaga the Fool, the better. Haven't seen Soukyuu no Fafner: Exodus since it's apparently a direct sequel to the 2004 TV series and 2010 film which I haven't seen either. I did watch the first episode of the 2004 TV series a while back just before Exodus starting airing and I thought it was pretty good if a little overly dramatic to the point of narm at times, but I ultimately never bothered to fully take it up. I do remember there being a fair bit of this though. I watched Sidonia no Kishi at first but eventually had to drop it because I just couldn't stand the CGI anymore.
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Old 2015-04-03, 13:16   Link #13
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Regarding M3, I actually thought the first half was better than the second half. I had something to look forward to in the first cour for a while but then it dragged a lot and the second half became less desirable for me. When I finished the show, I can't say that I had any sort of attachment to it.

It may have been written with more subtlety than something like cross Ange but I can't really say writing all those personality-repressed characters did the show much.

Also, the mechs felts like an afterthought. With no exciting action choreo or directing, that part just fell flat. It would be better if they took out the mechas.
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Old 2015-04-03, 20:13   Link #14
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Haven't seen Soukyuu no Fafner: Exodus since it's apparently a direct sequel to the 2004 TV series and 2010 film which I haven't seen either. I did watch the first episode of the 2004 TV series a while back just before Exodus starting airing and I thought it was pretty good if a little overly dramatic to the point of narm at times, but I ultimately never bothered to fully take it up.
I hate to sound like over-enthusiastic fan but Fafner gets better the further you delve into the story. Though I have to inform you that the focus of Fafner is not really the big bang mecha fights but more on how parents (which are many in this show) are both forced and forcing their children to risk their life fighting in the Fafners, and how the children handle the situation of both being lied to (all their life prior to episode 1) and forced to fight. It’s delving more in the psychology and social aspect of things, and those who don’t really like them might find the pace a bit too slow and the mood being too mellow or overdramatic.

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I watched Sidonia no Kishi at first but eventually had to drop it because I just couldn't stand the CGI anymore.
That's very unfortunate. Sidonia is a good mecha show. I was hoping that you at least gave five episodes a try to get used to the cel-shaded characters. Frankly, if anyone can brace himself/herself through watching the characters move in Aku no Hana, every other style will be a walk in the park .
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Old 2015-04-03, 21:24   Link #15
IceHism
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I hate to sound like over-enthusiastic fan but Fafner gets better the further you delve into the story. Though I have to inform you that the focus of Fafner is not really the big bang mecha fights but more on how parents (which are many in this show) are both forced and forcing their children to risk their life fighting in the Fafners, and how the children handle the situation of both being lied to (all their life prior to episode 1) and forced to fight. It’s delving more in the psychology and social aspect of things, and those who don’t really like them might find the pace a bit too slow and the mood being too mellow or overdramatic..
I think one of the cool things about fafner is that there are very well choreographed and directed mecha action scenes in the show as well as the psychological focus on the characters. The cgi action was no slouch and did not hinder the show at all. Heck, one scene in the finale of Exodus reminded me of Majestic Prince.

Though for some reason, i feel that a lot of people wouldn't give Fafner a chance also partly because of Hirai face lol.
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Old 2015-04-04, 00:48   Link #16
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I think one of the cool things about fafner is that there are very well choreographed and directed mecha action scenes in the show as well as the psychological focus on the characters. The cgi action was no slouch and did not hinder the show at all. Heck, one scene in the finale of Exodus reminded me of Majestic Prince.

Though for some reason, i feel that a lot of people wouldn't give Fafner a chance also partly because of Hirai face lol.
Nah, the reason why I stay away from it is because the sheer idea of having to sit through watching mentally unstable children screaming at each other and their woes would drive me up the wall and off a cliff.

And yes, I'm entirely aware I'm being unfair.
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Old 2015-04-04, 15:57   Link #17
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I had a three-way tie, because each of them had a compelling story and characters I really got into.

Knights of Sidonia was outstanding. It took me back to the days of hard sci-fi when authors like H. Beam Piper, Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein were writing their stories. I particularly liked the notion of inducing genetically passable photosynthesis as a solution to a food shortage in order to maintain a viable population level. That also gave me a reason to accept the stark, almost washed out visual look of the anime: the people photosynthesize but have no chlorophyll in their bodies (nobody is green), so since all their lighting is artificial anyway maybe they made new lighting with the new method photosynthesis in mind. Just a thought. It was also one of the VERY rare animes (mecha or otherwise) which depicted a believable military organization / hierarchy. And the Captain was friggin' awesome.

Another favorite mecha of 2014 most won't agree with: Cross Ange. If you look past the fanservice and face-planting, the topics addressed are very serious ones, and the point of view used by the anime creators is that of a victim who learns to hate, not a hero. Uncommon to say the least, but a perspective that should be experienced. And on my second viewing the story of the series really does hang together, and reasons why things were the way they were are much more apparent. Possibly the reason some disliked the show was that it shone a light on the darkest underbelly of human behavior. As for the mechs, that motorcycle-style control system was awesome! And they sported some very cool insignias and custom logos.

Aldnoah.Zero was much like Knights of Sidonia for me, in that is was authored by hard sci-fi writers who knew what they were talking about, putting together a great story. And at first it seemed the two main characters (Slaine and Inaho) were going to be doing all the amazing feats, it turned out that really each of them became dependent on others, and the supporting cast had their key moments of glory. And like Sidonia, the ship captain was friggin' awesome.
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Old 2015-04-06, 09:05   Link #18
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Considering the numbers and differences I think it was a very good year. Basically each fan should have found his title. I guess given the titles all the range of the spectrum should have been covered. More or less.
Personally speaking it was a great year since I found my title after a while, considering the last title I remembered before was VVV

Sidonia no Kishi I can't speak of since I didn't know it was a mecha show and honestly the animation I saw made me run.
About Gundam series after Age, that I dropped at ep.1, I decided to read first the impressions of the premiere, and thanks to that I avoided G reconquista.
I watched almost all Nobunaga: The Fool, but sadly it was awful, bar a couple of things, in fact I dropped the show once they died.
I was also one of the few who followed M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane, but I dropped it near the end. I liked the first season more, but the show was over the place from any angle you looked at it, I endured it since finally I understood where it was going and then I dropped it.
About Soukyuu no Fafner: Exodus I can say much, since I watched episode 1 but didn't grab my attention. I'll give it a try when I'll have more time. A bit surprised how overlooked it is, on par of M3 I dare say.
I also started watching Captain Earth, but even keeping very low my expectations I didn't like it and dropped around episode 8/9. Not bad as Ao, god no, but too childish for my liking.
Buddy Complex was decent, but the concept of Bizon was too exaggerate (look at A/Z to see how to do it right and believably) and all in all the quality deteriorated in the last episodes. Yet to see the last two episodes.
I started Argevollen with decent expectations, but sadly they were crushed down fast once the MC got introduced in the most clichèd way. I honestly couldn't stand him so I endured to see if someone would have put him at his place, but when I saw his major agreeing with him I had to drop it.

That's one of the reasons I liked Aldoah.Zero. That is my top title of the year. Since finally it took that kind of archetype, like Argevollen's or Haruto from VVV, that are moved by personal drives (instead of the usually more wider and urgent focus, usually a world conflict, yeah, that kind of wider) and just for that they got their mecha, becoming the MC, reversing it. Deconstructing it?
In A/Z Slaine didn't get his super-mecha just because, he had to earn it, and by earn I mean, he had to sacrifice everything, even the source of his personal drive that moved him until then. I let you image where this path could have pushed him.
On the other hand it took your typical stoic character that usually remains stoic (boring) to the very end of the show, and gave him some (very) subdued, but consistent development. (Development that he also had to sacrifice). Enough to make me appreciate him quite a lot, letting aside his genius and everything that came from that.

That was in fact a main theme of the show, what you would be ready to sacrifice to reach your goal, being forced afterward to live the consequences of your choices. Drawing on that two different approaches, the selfish one and the selfless one.

It also had a narrative that appeals my liking, since it's that kind of storytelling that underneath the mere visual narration hides a lot of hints and meanings below its details, that are left to be discovered and connected one by one to compose a clear path (or paths) that you could see being of one character, but also replayed differently on the others ones as the show progresses.
Obviously it had his flaws, my first is that I liked a lot the side characters, but the show left them underdeveloped for the most part.
And certainly it had one of the most underwhelming ending I can remember, but since it was so coherent with all the themes and paths drawn until then I can't even complain

And the second, but not so close is Cross Ange. Nothing to say about that show except that, past the first few episodes, I found it really enjoyable and with a considerably coherent plot. I hope it will erase VVV from my memory and the memory of the most

So, yeah, A/Z for me did the year, and Cross Ange strengthened it.
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Old 2015-04-09, 16:45   Link #19
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I had a three-way tie, because each of them had a compelling story and characters I really got into.

Knights of Sidonia was outstanding. It took me back to the days of hard sci-fi when authors like H. Beam Piper, Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein were writing their stories. I particularly liked the notion of inducing genetically passable photosynthesis as a solution to a food shortage in order to maintain a viable population level. That also gave me a reason to accept the stark, almost washed out visual look of the anime: the people photosynthesize but have no chlorophyll in their bodies (nobody is green), so since all their lighting is artificial anyway maybe they made new lighting with the new method photosynthesis in mind. Just a thought. It was also one of the VERY rare animes (mecha or otherwise) which depicted a believable military organization / hierarchy. And the Captain was friggin' awesome.

Another favorite mecha of 2014 most won't agree with: Cross Ange. If you look past the fanservice and face-planting, the topics addressed are very serious ones, and the point of view used by the anime creators is that of a victim who learns to hate, not a hero. Uncommon to say the least, but a perspective that should be experienced. And on my second viewing the story of the series really does hang together, and reasons why things were the way they were are much more apparent. Possibly the reason some disliked the show was that it shone a light on the darkest underbelly of human behavior. As for the mechs, that motorcycle-style control system was awesome! And they sported some very cool insignias and custom logos.

Aldnoah.Zero was much like Knights of Sidonia for me, in that is was authored by hard sci-fi writers who knew what they were talking about, putting together a great story. And at first it seemed the two main characters (Slaine and Inaho) were going to be doing all the amazing feats, it turned out that really each of them became dependent on others, and the supporting cast had their key moments of glory. And like Sidonia, the ship captain was friggin' awesome.
You put my thoughts on Sidonia and Aldnoah Zero down far better than I could have ever said them. For me those wore two very good shows that got too much unfair hate directed at them due to tangentially related issues. Sidonia had the CGI and Aldnoah the insane hype built up around it before airing (it actually became cool to hate it I feel).

I will however concede that the character animations never really clicked with me in Sidonia but all the mecha, backgrounds and details of the ship really worked for me. I actually felt like the first episode was amongst the worst ones for character faces which really didn't help people accept the different art style.

Cross Ange, though, I couldn't really get past the ending of the first episode: it felt far too gratuitous and insulting to my intelligence. Maybe I'll give it a second shot taking your word for it.

I'll also add my support to those talking of Argevollen. That was a far better show than its première lead to believe even if it did falter a bit closer to the end. I felt that the mid section of the show is worth it on its own with a very Band of Brothers like feeling to it. If the show fails in anything is in properly providing closure. The opposing side was little more than a bunch of token characters to remind us that the war was an actual thing that existed and the big and important stuff relating to the world of the show never really happened on camera right up to the final episodes which left a rather unsatisfied feeling with me when the show ended. I think that was a show that desperately needed a sequel to properly deal with the large issues of the world that were hinted at but never tackled properly namely the military-industrial complex that's shown to manipulate countries into fighting amongst them selves for profit. That hinting alone puts the show premise far above plenty of other mecha shows but sadly we can't judge a show on its premise alone. On the other hand the show itself has some great character development for the side characters which is rather rare. It was a weird show.

Also Buddy Complex left me rather sad when the first season ended because I really enjoyed the show. It felt very much like the better parts of Gundam Seed and was building up to a very interesting second season that ended up being crammed into two criminally short OVA. I think people got so put of by bad marketing that it really hurt the show. Back when the first promotional shots showed up people quickly latched onto the idea of the Buddy System hinting at major Yaoi between the two male main characters when I couldn't even find a particularly noticeable bromance during the show proper

Capitan Earth never really seemed to find its stride like most Bones shows I've seen these last couple of years. Great production values hampered by weak plot and even weaker pacing (too dragged out with a rushed ending, something I used to notice a lot during the era of 25 to 50 episode long seasons).

Gundam the Origin had the most amazing opening battle sequence I've seen in quite some time but the comedy really hurt the overall experience for me. The story and quality of the production is still far too good for it to really spoil my enjoyment of the show but I really had to cringe at how over the top some of the characters were. I know the original Gundam had its share of over-the-top'ness but I really became a fan with Quatro Bajena and Zeta so...

Overall it was a good year but not really anywhere near outstanding. I doubt well be talking about these shows in a couple of years time like we still talk about Code Geass or Gurren Laggan but that's a really high bar to overcome. I know I'll probably keep listening to the Aldnoah Zero sountrack for some time but that's a rather moot point.

PS: now what I really miss are Space Operas. It's about time we got something like Banner of the Stars or Spaceship Operators.
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Old 2015-04-09, 21:25   Link #20
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For me the recent "mech year" was 2007, when both Gurren Lagann and Code Geass was on air. Good times.
Relatively off topic, but I no longer trust mecha anime and almost categorically refuse to watch them these days, partly because even great series often don't know how to give a good and truly happy ending, including the two above. Something about those "political" and "high concept" giant robots with human pilots seem to bring out the worst in Japanese anime writers. I blame Evangelion.

Have a great character the fans invest their hearts into? He ded. Or worse, he lost everything he's ever loved. Cry moar.

Things seem to be going good? Watch one of the "smart" characters act stupid and cause ultimate tragedy to the point of no return.

Sexy character designs and high production values? Plot's basically swiss cheese and the main character's probably boring. If he's not boring...watch out, he ded. Or worse. [See above]

I heard great things about Aldnoah. Was hoping to really invest myself emotionally in a mecha series. Spoiled myself of the ending intentionally. Uh, nope.

What the fuck Japan.
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