First impressions by Karune Walker
Ahh…the June and July period. The best time to be an anime fan. Why? Because this is the time of the year, alongside January, where all the new anime shows are released. Most cases there are one or two standouts with the rest just making up the numbers, however this year has seen four anime distinguishing themselves from the others. If you didn’t already guess, I will be giving a first impression on these four. And yes, all of them are currently available only in Japanese dub with English subtitles.
- Title: Akame Ga Kill!
- Rating: MA – Strong violence, adult themes, swearing
- Genre: Action
- Number of Episodes: Currently out : 7 (released every Monday)
Akame Ga Kill follows the story of Tatsumi, a young boy from the country who wishes to make it big time in the Empire’s capital. However, he instead learns that the capital is a place of corruption and evil. As a result he decides to join the assassin group “Night Raid” in order to eradicate the evil within the Empire.
After reading the manga for this anime I know what happens, this being said the first five episodes are brilliant. The pacing is done well and it seems it’s not going to be going too fast or too slow. The first episode was great in that it made me want to keep watching on even though I knew what was going down.
The art is great, taking inspiration from Fullmetal Alchemist in terms of detail in everything from the city to the characters. It is oh so vibrant. The animations aren’t sluggish and keep up with the action, which is always a good thing.
The music so far is a bit meh. The pieces fit the show but it doesn’t stand out. I am slightly disappointed with the opening titles, I mean it fits the shows, but it somehow feels out-of-place at the same time.
My rating: 8/10 – The plot and characters are interesting, the art is great, but the sound is average.
- Title: Tokyo ESP
- Rating: M – Violence, swearing
- Genre: Superhero, action, science fiction
- Number of Episodes: Currently out : 7 (released every Friday)
One day, Rinka Urishiba, who lives in poverty with her father witnesses a flying penguin and glowing fish, passing out when one of the fish pass through her. When she awakens, she discovers that she has the ability to pass through solid objects. She also meets Azuma Kyōtarō, a boy in her school who has the ability to teleport and is the masked vigilante known as “Crow Head”. With their powers combined, both Azuma and Rinka decide to protect the city from evil.
When I first heard about this, I thought really? But after watching it I can tell you, I was not disappointed. This is like if Batman got his own anime, mainly because it has a darker tone to most animes out there, let alone the superhero ones. Obviously the first few episodes are a bit more light-hearted but this disappears after the initial episodes. The battles with the powers of Rinka and “Crow Head” are very interesting and exhilarating. The story can get complicated as episodes one and two do not correlate with each other. Hopefully all is explained as the anime goes on.
Except for episode two, a majority of Tokyo ESP takes place at night, when Rinka and Azuma become their superhero counterparts, so the way they have made these characters work with the darkness and light contrast is fantastic. I just love it how they animate and draw Crow Head coming in and out of the shadows, so cool. The character designs for the majority of the cast are quite typical, but in contrast the costumes for both the heroes and villains are something to marvel at. So overall good job.
Musically, there is nothing that stands out for me. The opening is just weird. It’s too happy for an anime that can be quite dark at times and it just appears so out-of-place. I can’t stand it.
My Rating: 7/10 – Good story but can be confusing, average sound, great art and animations.
- Title: Tokyo Ghoul
- Rating: MA – Strong violence
- Genre: Thriller, fantasy
- Number of Episodes: Currently out : 7 (released every Friday)
After college student Ken Kaneki is severely wounded in an accident, he receives donated organs from a Ghoul, fearsome creatures that live by eating humans. After waking up in hospital, Kaneki learns that he is now half-ghoul, half-human, leading him to integrate into Ghoul society and hide his identity from humanity.
I was very excited for this anime when I first heard what it was about and yet again this year, I have not been disappointed in terms of the story. This anime starts off with a bang and plunges you straight into the gruesome world of Ghouls and it’s brilliant. How Kaneki must deal with his growing hunger for humans will be particularly interesting in further episodes. The story does have a certain amount of character development but it has done so in a way that does not slow the pacing of the anime, keeping us anime fans constantly entranced. Out of all the new animes, this has so far got the best story.
The art I have conflicting views on. I find that the design of the backgrounds and setting are very good, giving us a detailed view of the cruel world of the Ghouls is. And then we have the character designs, which I just find somehow to be bland and boring, with a severe lack of creativity, but hey, that’s just me.
Finally we have good soundtrack! The music is almost a perfect match for everything that goes down in this anime. Whether it be a cheerful moment or one filled with dread or fear, the music fits it. The opening. Just. Yes. “Unravel” by TK also matches the grimness of the show. And for the fun of it, they decided to go over the top in terms of special effects and visual in the opening and it is awesome.
My Rating: 9/10 – Great story, great soundtrack, great backgrounds, but bland character designs.
- Title: Sword Art Online 2
- Rating: PG – Mild violence, sexual references
- Genre: Science fiction, fantasy, adventure
- Number of Episodes: Currently out : 7 (released every Sunday)
Nearly a year after the “Sword Art Online Incident”, Kirito, actual name Kazuto Kirigaya, is living life normally again with his friends and family. However after a string of mysterious deaths involving the online game “Gun Gale Online”, the Ministry of Internal of Affairs requests Kirito to investigate, where he learns of the character “Death Gun”, who has the ability to kill those in reality through the virtual world of gaming.
I loved the first season of Sword Art Online so much that I was considering doing a future review on it (hint, hint) and my hype for the second season was high. I’ll admit was slightly disappointed in the way it started, but it appears that it will live up to the expectations put on it (mainly by me). My main problem lies with the fact that it spends three entire episodes on giving character back story. I understand this is an important aspect, but did you really need three entire episodes? Ok, episode one I understand, but the rest I found could have been done better. At least episodes four and five reignited my hype, with the action and story finally beginning. So I would say at the moment, the story is a bit average, mainly due to the first three episodes.
Yet again, the character designs do not stand out and fall under the branch of “typical anime character designs”. The design for the various virtual reality games, however, are so detailed and so vast from each other, you could actually place those designs in games unedited. Just wish they did that for the characters.
The sound is a perfect example of it knowing the show it is attached to. The music matches both the worlds of the virtual realities and reality itself, which is notable through the tone of the music, which I find quite innovative and new for an anime. The opening, while not on the level of awesomeness as “Unravel”, the Sword Art Online II opening is good and matches well with what happens in the show.
My Rating: 7/10 – Bad start to a good plot, good settings, average character designs, good sound