Two of our feature series come together this week as we use our The Weekly Set format to present Anime Enthusiast Volume 3. In this edition of The Weekly Set/Anime Enthusiast, Will, Kyle, and Tyson discuss Tokyo Ghoul, the current anime season, and the upcoming anime season.
Tyson: So I wanted to start off by talking a little about Tokyo Ghoul. Our review for the series went up on Wednesday. If I remember correctly, neither of you have seen the series yet. Is that right?
Tyson: For me personally, Tokyo Ghoul was the best anime of last season. Though that could be its remarkable ability to nail all of my favorite motifs. Ever since I was a kid, I have been obsessed with stories in which a normal boy becomes some sort of monster. Tokyo Ghoul nailed that. What do you guys know about the series?
Will: Not much to be honest.
Kyle: I know it’s about a boy who becomes a monster.
Tyson: Haha, indeed.
Kyle: And then has sudden urges to try to eat people. Because Ghouls only survive off of human flesh. This is all from the description heh.
Tyson: Yes, that covers basically the first episode of the show (Laughs).
Kyle: One thing i think anime is really good at, is housing personal dilemmas/character development within supernatural circumstances. Tokyo Ghoul sounds like this would have a lot of that.
Tyson: It is very much about trying to accept change while maintaining who you are.
Will: Right, sounds like a good show if done well.
Tyson: I’ll say this,the final episode of the series is perhaps the best single episode of an anime I have seen in recent memory. I was basically stunned throughout.
Kyle: Cool. I can think of a few i felt that way about. One in particular from Neon Genesis Evangelion and another from Attack on Titan. Like “what the?.. did that all really just happen?”
Tyson: Are either of you planning to catch up on Tokyo Ghoul before the new season in January?
Will: Yeah, I have a lot of shows on my to watch list.
Kyle: Yeah, I’ve been slacking on watching anime lately. Need to catch up.
Will: I’ve been out of the Anime scene for a long time.
Tyson: Will, the last episode made me think of Hannibal.
Will: Whoa, that’s some high praise there.
Tyson: It just has that vibe. It is deeply emotional, but with a surrealistic touch. Anyways, lets talk a little bit about the current anime season. I have to say that, overall, this anime season didn’t grab me. There were a lot of good shows, but nothing that floored me, like an Attack on Titan or Tokyo Ghoul.
Kyle: Looking over the list, I saw a lot of slice of life, which is kind of the easiest type to put out. So that suggests it was just a bit of a slow season (not that i have anything against the genre).
Will: There never seems to be much that interests me.
Tyson: So I’ll go over my top picks briefly. Terraformars is an interesting show. It is basically Starship Troopers meets Fist of the North Star… If that makes sense.
Will: That just sounds awesome.
Tyson: The first couple of episodes were so badly censored that there were moments where you could only hear sound and see black. As the series went on, however, it rooted emotion into its epic battles.
Will: I imagine Kenshiro exploding giant bugs with his finger.
Tyson: That isn’t far off. The name itself is a pun of sorts, obviously a terraformer is something that changes the environment of a planet to make it habitable for life, and that is a big part of the background of the series. Terra is also a word used in place of Earth as a planet. So Terra for Mars. Since they are traveling to Mars. The Japanese seem to love wordplay.
Kyle: Yeah the word is ‘portmanteau’, combining two or more words like they do in practically every anime.
Tyson: Have either of you heard much about the series before?
Will: I’m really not at all current with Anime, sorry to say. I’m looking to change that though.
Tyson: I’d say that if you like Starship Troopers you will find a lot to like here as well, it even has similar music.
Will: Starship Troopers, at least the first film, was great.
Tyson: My other picks would be World Trigger, which is the surprise of the season for me, Parasyte, which is an adaptation of a 1990s manga series, and Cross Ange, which I didn’t expect much from, before blasting through the 3 available episodes on Hulu in one sitting.
Will: I’ve heard Cross Ange was awful.
Tyson: I thought it would be, but I was surprised. Cross Ange has the most generic premise on the surface, but quickly shows something deeper brewing beneath.
Kyle: I feel like there are few original premises left.
Will: Hmm, maybe I’ll ignore that previous advice then and give Cross Ange a chance.
Tyson: Lets move on to the upcoming season where we have some equal ground. First, let me give you guys a chance to read up on what’s coming. Take a quick look and see if anything catches your eye, and then we’ll talk about it.
Kyle: Bet you’re excited for Tokyo Ghoul Season 2. Avoiding spoilers, do you think that intense ending will still transition well into another season?
Tyson: Oh yeah, for sure. Well, I have read the manga, so I know where it is going. I liked the anime better than the manga, so i am super excited.
Will: Okay, nothing is gonna beat the one about Students trying to kill their superpowered octopus Teacher
Kyle: (Laughs) Yeah, that sounds cool. I take back, what i said about there being no premises left.
Tyson: Hahaha, I actually read some of the manga for that series, Assassination Classroom, and sadly, it was kind of boring.
Will: Wait! How can you make that premise boring?
Tyson: Well the premise is all background, and then it is pretty much slice of life, with kids attending the class, occasionally trying to kill their teacher, but never succeeding. Very repetitive.
Kyle: So he’s the Roadrunner to their Wile E. Coyote?
Tyson: Kind Of. It is very light hearted.
Will: Well that’s lame. Let me see what else there is.
Tyson: For me, next season is all about sequels. I marked 7 anime I am interested in, and 5 are sequels.
Kyle: Yup same, the big one for me is Durarara 2.
Tyson: As Kyle predicted, my top pick is Tokyo Ghoul 2, though I am also excited for Durarara.
Kyle: I reviewed Durarara for an anime magazine i write for occasionally. My one main criticism was that it ended too abruptly, and it seemed like there should have been a lot more to say, so season 2 basically resolves its only real flaw for me.
Will: Oh there’s an Anime about high school boys tasked with defending the Earth, except they’re all dressed like Sailor Scouts. (Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love!) We needed a cross dressing version of Sailor Moon.
Kyle: Heh, interesting. rather than have one crossdressing male character, just make them all that.
Will: Ha ha, yeah.
Tyson: I already got my gender bender hero fix with Gonna be the Twin-Tail!! (Laughs) In which the main character (who is obsessed with twin-tail hair on girls) becomes a cute twin-tail girl in order to fight evil aliens bent on taking the massive magical power from girls with twin tails.
Kyle: That title translation sounds so awkward to me. Some anime just make no effort to hide their extremely niche appeal. Its kind of refreshing, but also weird. I never got around to seeing Aldnoah Zero but it seemed pretty popular too. Same goes for Jojo, but i’m not as interested to see that for some reason. Its season 2 will be pretty big, I think.
Tyson: Aldnoah Zero was great, and had one hell of a cliffhanger, I always love JoJo.
Kyle: Ha, Kantai Collection is getting an anime too?
Kyle: Hm, yet another sequel. I haven’t seen Tantei Opera Milky Holmes, but i hear it’s really good.
Tyson: Yet another sequel is Kuroko’s Basketball 3rd Season. That series was hugely popular at Anime Expo this year.
Kyle: Yeah, i guess i’ve never gotten the appeal of sports anime.
Tyson: I hate actual sports, but many sports anime have left me totally addicted.
Kyle: That’s what i hear, yeah.
Tyson: It can be for reasons outside of the sport itself, Cross Game for example. Other times it appeals to me in the same way a fighting anime does, with ridiculous drama and heightened reactions during the games. In Kuroko’s Basketball, the main character is practically a ninja who can erase his presence from the sight of his opponents. All of the other big players have their own “special abilities.” They aren’t supernatural or anything, their specialties are just so heightened and ridiculous. For example, 1 character shoots 3 pointers so high that they are essentially impossible to block.
Kyle: Haha, yeah i like stuff like that. Overpowered characters you can root for and just watch them do amazing, impossible things.
Will: That why I love Dragon Ball Z
Kyle: Yeah, that’s the main, or only, draw really of Dragon Ball Z, it just does that to the max.
Tyson: Well the sports anime I am talking about aren’t like Dragon Ball Z, heightened, but not supernatural.
Will: Okay, Absolute Duo, Junketsu No Maria, Rolling Girls, and Stardust Crusaders (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures) all sound good.
Tyson: Of those, I am excited for Stardust Crusaders (I like all the JoJo stuff.. “OH MY GAWDD!!”). Junketsu no Maria too, mostly because it is from Production IG.
Kyle: Oh Production IG knows what they’re doing.
Will: Maria also sounds like it has a lot of potential for humor. Ok there is also an anime about bears rising up to destroy mankind, and then they mixed that with Yuri (Yuri Kuma Arashi), Okay.
Tyson: Hahaha often times the absolutely insane premise anime don’t do it for me. I think I prefer the ones that start out as reasonable and then BECOME insane.
Will: Ha ha yeah, but they do at least make you take notice.
Tyson: But that brings up a point of conversation; What do you look for in anime? How do you pick what you will watch? besides direct recommendations, that is.
Will: I just look for anything that sounds like a good premise and has a decent art style to back it up.
Tyson: I tend to watch just about everything that looks remotely good to my eyes. (Laughs) Then I eliminate shows from my queue as I go.
Will: (Laughs) I tend to avoid anything that’s blatantly moe.
Tyson: I tend to avoid stuff that looks too shoujo, or too slice of life, unless it has an interesting hook.
Will: Right, not a fan of slice of life either.
Tyson: What about you Kyle?
Kyle: I tend to have one action and one slice of life going at once, if not more. They both have their strengths and weaknesses. It all depends on my mood, and how good the current offerings are.
What do you think? Tell us in our comments, and stay tuned to TVEnthusiast for more coverage of all of your favorite shows, and anime.