Aldnoah.Zero - A lot of hype for this show, based on who’s working on it. I was excited for it as well, but the first episode wasn’t that interesting to me. Maybe it’s the art style: there’s nothing about it seems really unique to me, unlike Kill la Kill, Attack on Titan, and Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica. Not that this is a reason to write the series off as “bad,” just that it might have possibly influenced my impression of the first episode. However, neither the premise nor the characters really grab me so far, either; in fact, Iroha kind of frustrates me because he comes as being the “cool, stoic” character type, which I would not look forward to. Also, I know there were a number of comments on Reddit that expressed the opinion that the annihilation of New Orleans was very compelling, but I found myself disagreeing. The physical scope of an act of destruction is not always directly proportional to that act’s emotional impact (see disaster porn, although the devastation shown in that type of film usually has no emotional impact because the movies are inundated with, well, disasters), and I found myself not really caring about the obliteration of a major American city. Certainly, the act tells the audience that the Vers Empire wouldn’t bat an eye at waging a no-holds-barred war with the citizens of Earth, but it just feels like the writers were trying to beat people over the head with “Look, see? These guys are evil! Aren’t they so evil?” when every Vertian(?) except the princess is depicted as cruel. It also doesn’t help when the scene before was a heavy-handed one, what with the child wishing for peace when he sees the “shooting star” (yeah, real subtle, that one).
It is only the first episode, though, so there’s still much that can be revealed, and I didn’t absolutely hate this one; it was sort of “solidly average.”
Zankyou no Terror - A lot of hype for this one as well, I think (I’m hyped for it, at least), since it’s another of Shichiro Watanabe’s works. I’m hoping I’ll like it better than Space Dandy, which often felt too much like it was trying really hard to be wacky. This is yet another of Watanabe’s series that features (so far) 2 guys and 1 girl as the main characters (Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, and Kids on the Slope) - in fact, this is the 4th out of the 5 he has directing credits on to feature that “configuration” (for lack of a better word). I don’t have a problem with this (yet), as I believe it doesn’t matter if the plot of one work matches the plot of another work as long as the later work tells its story in a refreshing way (“Everything is a Remix,” after all). It is kind of funny to note.
The premise of this one seems interesting, and it raises a lot of questions early on that keep me interested. (Are “Nine” and “Twelve” homicidal terrorists, or “moral” terrorists, considering they set up the attack so everyone was, or should have been, evacuated, and do they only kill those who see them during the act? Will Lisa try to refuse their insistence on joining them, or will she be enthused that she has an opportunity to get revenge on a society in which she is bullied?) Some of the things that bothered me were the coincidence of “Twelve” smelling (?!) the chlorine from the pool and moving to check it out right when Lisa was being bullied and the cliché of two of the main characters finding out they’re in the same class after just meeting one another for the first time.
This one seems like it might be more interesting than Aldnoah so far.
Persona 4: The Golden Animation - This one was kind of meh for me. Yuu doesn’t seem like all that interesting of a main character, and the setting and plot didn’t really make up for it. The Velvet Room portions just seem like they’re there to make the series more “mysterious,” but the obviousness of that fact just serves to make it ineffective. The battle also didn’t seem all that compelling, considering it was just Yuu standing in there in “cool anime pose” mode while the thing that he summoned got rid of the enemies for him. The voice of his male classmate is actually really annoying to me as well, and Chie seems like an annoyingly typical “upbeat” female student. If I continue to watch this series past the 3-episode mark, it might solely be because of Marie (yes, I know, superficial reason - “Marie is my waifu” and all of that stupid shit). I like her character design (dat Zettai Ryouiki on her legs and her arms) as well as her personality (she seems like a Defrosting Ice Queen - I might be a sucker for tsundere types). Also, she’s voiced by Hanazawa Kana, and it’s a non-moe, non-extremely high-pitched voice. I like it. I hope she does more voices like this.
Currently reading Bakuman. It’s pleasant - the subject is not something that I think would normally be seen in a shonen manga, but I think the writer and artist make it work well. It seems like Hikaru no Go (another work by Obata) in that regard. I also feel a connection with the main characters because I’m passionate about fiction in general (though I have yet to do something useful with that passion…). To be honest, I’m probably more committed to reading this series because I know it’s already done - long works like One Piece and Naruto are daunting and I doubt I have the patience and commitment to continue to follow them until the end.