August 25, 2014
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Summer ain’t over just yet! We have a number of second cour series and a couple of new ones to look forward to!

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Aldnoah.Zero
Episodes Seen: 8
Rating: 7.5/10

This is definitely not your ordinary mecha and it isn’t  just because Gen Urobochi is doing the script. For one, we have female characters in power. Not only do they hold high enough positions to make decisions in the military but we even have a seemingly peace-loving and helpless Martian princess who can and is willing to wield a weapon. Our stoic Inoha’s brilliant strategies reminded me of Code Geass’ Lelouch who is always a step ahead against his enemies. Next is the consistently amazing Yuki Kajiura soundtrack complementing each battle. Lastly, world-building has been done at a timely pace, establishing the reason for war and the factions within it.

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Ao Haru Ride
Episodes Seen: 7
Rating: 8.0/10

She loved him. He loved her. But they can never go back to that time. Can a love that was over before it even started still happen?

I initially doubted Yuki Kaji’s casting as Kou but he turned out to be a perfect fit and so is Maaya Uchida as Futaba. If you haven’t read the ongoing manga yet, be ready for a rollercoaster of emotions this Summer in this high school romance.

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Bakumatsu Rock
Episodes Seen: 8
Rating: 7.0/10

Shinsengumi wield Heaven’s Song to maintain order. However, Sakamoto Ryouma plays his own “rock” music and seeks the freedom to let others hear his song. His passion has awakened one of the five Peace Souls, those that have power to change the flow of an era.

Those who crave Jpop/Jrock can satisfy their hunger for such music in this series. The performances can be overdramatic and sudden transition to CG is a letdown though.

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Barakamon
Episodes Seen: 8
Rating: 8.5/10

Calligrapher Seishu Handa moves from the city to a remote island after an incident during one of his exhibits. Will the island and its people help him discover what it takes to create beautiful calligraphy?

Barakamon never fails to make me smile each week. The episodic plot unveils a comedic yet powerful story about life, success, and relationships. A perfect feel-good series worth watching this season.

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DRAMAtical Murder
Episodes Seen: 8
Rating: 7.0/10

Between a virtual fighting game and various gangs that exist in this futuristic world setting, Amnesiac Aoba lies at the center of this story. This visual novel adaptation has not yet shown heavy traces of its BL identity, for the better or worse, depending what kind of viewer you are.

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Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya 2wei!
Episodes Seen: 7
Rating: 7.0/10

The magical girl spinoff of the Fate series starts the new season with a new character. An exact copy of Ilya, save her skin color and personality, Kuro Ilya is set to destroy Ilya herself. The yuri inclinations in this season were a bit disturbing but minimal and does not entirely affect the story itself. And like the original series, battles are still as exciting. An arc may have finished at this point but we may be seeing more overlaps from the Fate universe.

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Free! Eternal Summer
Episodes Seen: 8
Rating: 7.0/10

More moe moments for our  swimming hunks in this second season of Free! Our bishounen gang are also joined by three new characters.

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Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun
Episodes Seen: 8
Rating: 8.0/10

Chiyo Sakura’s confession leads to discovering the secret identity of the person she had a crush on. Umetarou Nozaki is actually a famous shojou manga artist under the name Sakiko Yumeno. Chiyo ends up assisting and learning more about Nozaki’s work.

With its episodic plot, Gekkan Shoujo never fails to make me laugh. Each character stands out with their own unique personality but the comic relief is not limited to a single one. This is a certified enjoyable series to look forward to each week.

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Glasslip
Episodes Seen: 8
Rating: 7.0/10

“I know what you saw that day.”

Glasslip begins with a mysterious encounter with a boy who claims to see the same thing she does. However, the appearance of Kakeru slowly destroys the balance of relationships between Touko’s childhood friends.

A potentially good mystery and slice-of-life mix is suffering an identity crisis. More than halfway into the season and the plot has taken no direction, particularly the truth about the “future” that they see.

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Hanayamata
Episodes Seen: 7
Rating: 7.5/10

Let’s yosakoi!

Captivated by her dance on a moonlit night, Naru joins Hana and starts a Yosakoi club.

What I like most about anime is how it gives us a glimpse of Japan’s culture. From Hyakunin Isshu and karuta (Uta Koi and Chihayafuru), we are now introduced to Yosakoi. Cute girls and their pretty costumes are definitely pleasant to see. A story of self-discovery may not be novel but enjoyable just the same.

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Kuroshitsuji: Book of Circus
Episodes Seen: 8
Rating: 8.0/10

The butler from hell is back! And this time, the story is faithful to the manga.

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Rail Wars!
Episodes Seen: 7
Rating: 7.0/10

Takayama had always wanted to be a train driver for the Japanese National Railways. Much to his surprise, he becomes part of the Security Force together with 4 other members. Will he still be able to fulfill his lifelong dream?

Japan’s railway system is one of the most complex I’ve seen and the series gives us a better appreciation of its technicalities. Rail Wars details the different routes, trains, and even how the railway system is managed. Sadly, the story is also laden with its harem tendencies that diminishes the value of its better half.

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Re:_Hamatora
Episodes Seen: 7
Rating: 6.5/10

Hamatora’s first season debuted last Winter and my impressions of the series remain the same. It still pretends to have depth and mystery when in fact it has none. The only reason I picked up the series is my curiosity about Nice’s fate from the previous season. If you haven’t seen this yet, it’s better to skip it for good.

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Shirogane no Ishi: Argevollen
Episodes Seen: 5 (Dropped)
Rating: 6.5/10

A newtype mecha that will change the tides of war. Argevollen clearly follows this trope but with its very slow pacing and flat characters, I am forced to drop this title.

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Sword Art Online II
Episodes Seen: 8
Rating: 7.5/10

Can death in-game lead to death in the real world? Having survived the death-game Sword Art Online, Kirito ventures into Gun Gale Online to find the truth behind deaths related to the game. Little did he know that the shadows of his past linger in this other world and he is forced to face another battle for his life once more.

Many are skeptic about Sword Art Online and yet I cannot take my eyes off it. The crisp animation remains superb and the plot still loyal to the light novel. I’ve always wanted to see Kirito’s GGO version and here was a wish granted.

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Tokyo Ghoul
Episodes Seen: 8
Rating: 8.0/10

Ghouls, beings who devour human flesh, live in the shadows of Tokyo. Kaneki Ken’s first date turns out to be a ghoul who fails to eat him and dies in an accident in the process. Kaneki’s life is forever changed as he himself has become part-ghoul.

I’m not much into gore and the only titles I’ve seen in this genre are probably Blood franchise. However, the intriguing plot and characters had me hooked. Sequence of events may have been partially changed but the overall story is consistent with its manga counterpart.

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Zankyou no Terror
Episodes Seen: 7
Rating: 7.5/10

Sphinx has been terrorizing Tokyo with bombs and riddles. Is there a reason for these actions or are they merely child’s play?

Thought-provoking and awe-inspiring. If you haven’t seen Zankyou no Terror yet. your are missing out on one of the best titles this season.

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