As it happens, the Winter 2018 season marks four years since I started watching seasonal anime… So, just for fun, each season I’m going to look back four years.
Hit the jump and let’s travel back in time to Winter 2014!
Winter 2014… My wife and I had loved Sailor Moon when it aired on Toonami back in the 90’s. We knew the 25th anniversary was coming up… We’d had Netflix (streaming and disk) for about a year (I think) and had seen various anime on both. We’d talked with the teenage daughter of a close friend and she’d gone and on about a site called “Crunchyroll”… and we’d bought ourselves a Roku as a joint Christmas present.
And so began an adventure that continues today…
I don’t even remember how I found most of these anime. I didn’t really know what seasonal anime was, or how to find out what was airing.
The shows that I watched are in bold, shows my wife and I watched together are in bold italics.
A reminder on my rankings… they’re on a five point scale to coincide with my rankings on Anime Planet. But one 2.5 can often be different from another 2.5, so where needed I supplement them here with verbal comments to clarify. These rankings reflect what I thought at the time, and may or may not reflect how I’d rank them today.
I did some research, but this is written mostly from memory… It wasn’t until Winter 2015 that I started regularly writing on a weekly basis, so I have no material to review. My main interaction with the rest of fandom was the Crunchyroll forums. I remember trying to use Funi’s forums, but not only was the forum software dysfunctional… They shoved non-Funi shows off into a hard-to-find corner. I think this was the first and last time I tried to use them.
Though still sitting in my Crunchy PM inbox from March 2014 is a brief exchange with Bless-senpai (iblessall) regarding his anime review site “Real Life Anime”… But he wasn’t doing weeklies then.
So these are kind of stream-of-consciousness. A new style, let’s see where it goes.
A mix of school comedy, romantic comedy, a touch of seriousness… and bunch of over the top nonsense. Episode 9 is the “beach” episode – and probably my favorite ep of the series. I re-watched it now-and-again when it was still streaming. (Spoiler: They never actually even make it off the school grounds… due to a typhoon.)
After writing the above… I decided/remembered to check Funi, and it’s still streaming there. I let my Funi sub lapse after the Crunchymation merge and I often forget that Funi even exists any more.
I think my favorite part is that it took so much of it’s silliness very seriously.
Final ranking: 3.5
Lightweight school romance comedy with a touch of drama. Lots and lots and lots of yuri… Each episode had two or three short stories and each short story found a reason for the leads to kiss. That’s pretty much all I remember.
I tried to re-watch it within the last year, and it was painful to watch. I only made it two or three episodes in before giving up. I don’t know if my tastes have matured, or if it’s one of those shows that’s only worth watching once.
The OP is as cute as I remember, but has way more fanservice than I remember the series actually having. I post the OP because back then I didn’t tend to fast forward through OP’s like I do today, and because I actually liked it.
Final ranking: 3.0 (I think nowadays that it would be more of a 2.5…)
What I remember most about this series is just how frustrating it was. Even being new to watching weekly series, I knew something was off… Though a few episodes were brilliant, overall the quality varied wildly. Thematically and taken as a series – it was a real mess. There was an overarching plotline of sorts, but it was mostly dull and generic. The jumble of themes and styles was painful.
I ended up dropping it at the penultimate episode. (A record that still stands today.) I was in no way tempted to pick up the second season.
I wrote a review of the series at Anime-Planet shortly after it finished airing.
Did I have a Funi sub back then? I must have, as the Space Dandy dub was on Funi and I recall watching this in dub. IIRC the simultaneous sub/dub international release was a Really Big Deal… and something they’ve never tried since. Funi’s current “Simuldubs” actually run a couple of weeks behind the subs.
On reflection, I suspect I might (might) have enjoyed more had I watched it with a couple of years of experience under my belt… and especially if I’d watched it after seeing Cowboy Bebop. (Which Dandy was strongly influenced by.) It was popular enough that it got a second season, but the critical community rarely if ever mention it.
Final ranking: 2.0
Wake Up Girls!
I said above that I don’t remember how I found most of these shows, Wake Up Girls is the exception. I remember clearly, and painfully, how I found it. It was in one of J-List’s emails, and he mentioned panty shots. If you don’t know J-List-san, he loves fanservice and ecchi, and back then I tended to prioritize it too. Though I still enjoy fanservice I’m a little more choosy these days… the show has to have more than that. Or go all in and be pure fanservice trash. None of this wishy-washy stuff for me! If you’re just using fanservice to try and distract from other flaws, I’m so done.
And that’s what I found – a show that was so much more than a couple of fleeting pantyshots. Sadly though, I still find people today who recall those shots and dismiss the show because of them. Seriously? What kind of person do you have to be to dismiss a show because of ten seconds of panties in the premiere movie and another ten in the first ep? I can understand missing the point of the “swimsuit” ep (ep 2), but many folks don’t seem to have made it that far.
WUG was my first idol show, and I didn’t really realize just how different it was for a couple of years… But it’s gritty and realistic take still informs how I view them today. Basically, WUG and iDOLM@STER serve as my gold standards for what an idol show can be and do.
As anyone who was reading the Lounge last season knows – I’m still a huge fan of WUG-chan.
Tachiagare is still basically my favorite idol song… Though watching this version, contemporary with the anime, is a bit painful. They simply weren’t all that good during lives back then.
A bit of trivia – it was WUG that convinced me to subscribe to Crunchy. I just couldn’t wait a week for the finale! Plus we delayed leaving for Sakura-Con to watch that finale. (Plus it was about this time that Crunchy fixed the bug in the Roku app that prevented it from showing ads to non-subscribers. That played a role too…)
Final ranking: 4.0
I didn’t track drops until I started really tracking seasonal watching in real-time… (Which would be March 2014 according to Anime-Planet.) Looking at a Winter 2014 chart, I don’t recognize anything as being started and dropped.
So, click on that season chart, then drop a comment and tell me what shows you watched during the Winter 2014 season – what do you remember? How have they held up?