Anime Spring Season 2017 – Early Impressions

[Segmented Version Available, split into three more digestible parts.]

Cor, this season feels a bit larger than the last one. And a bit beefier. Will be hard to make cuts this season. I’l leave that for the end of this post.

Now in general it’s not a new issue for anime to fall into the “this could have been good, or at least better, without that one male main character”, but I’ve been feeling that theme more strongly in this season’s early offerings.

There seems to be a significant amount of harem shows this season too, a couple of which are unmistakably teen-wanks, even though they make a few token efforts towards concealing that.

So as early impressions go, there’s been a lot weighing towards both sides of the scale. And as some shows have their second episodes out, I have heard things that make me grateful I already decided to not keep watching certain shows. It’s almost like there’s a contest towards the low end of who can be the absolute worst. Not something worth fighting over if you ask me.

Starting Up

Curious and cute.

Alice to Zouroku

Aka Alice & Zouroku

Already a slightly odd title, as the girl is actually called Sana, and while the old man is named Zouroku, it seems like everyone naturally uses his family name: Kashimura. Ah, I’m just giving them a hard time, the title does actually make a fair amount of sense in context.

The show opens with Sana (aka the Red Queen, though I don’t know why) trying to escape from the research facility where she and several others are held. She almost fails, except that help arrives in the form of a combat maid. Giving Sana the possibility to get away, the maid engages with the people sent to retrieve her for long enough that Sana gets away.

See, Sana is one of several people with special abilities. They can call upon a special force that lets them manifest anything they can imagine, according to her. Though in practice it seems like each user has a very specific power-set. Reminds me a bit of X-Men, honestly. Sana’s powers seems to be mainly teleportation and telekinesis, though she is shown to be able to peer inside someone’s mind as well.

Apart from Sana, we also see twins where one can summon a bow and arrows, and the other anything with a chain. There’s a boy who seems to be able to restore/alter anything he sketches into his notepad. Great for cleaning up other people’s messes. The aforementioned combat maid who has a dimensional pocket where she keeps a variety of weapons and other things. And a woman who can summon giant arms to carry her and fight for her. I’m sure more will appear later on.

The opening episode is 44 mins long, a double-feature you could say, as Sana escapes to… I’m going to say Tokyo, it’s certainly a big city. There she encounters Kashimura. He tries to stay away from this girl who is clearly trouble, but she latches onto him, and in the end he relents and decides to take her in. On the condition that she stops using her powers.

Kashimura is very good with his no-nonsense attitude, no patience for anyone’s shit, and no fear of anyone either. He seems to have a strong sense of what is right and wrong, and he ends up putting both Sana and the twins in their place at a couple of points. Great scenes.

While not his intention, Sana quickly starts seeing him as a father (or grandfather) figure she has never had. All she can remember is being at the research facility, and the tests they conducted there.

From all I’m saying here, it’s probably obvious I like this show. I think this was a really strong opening, and I hope it keeps going that way. Considering the tone, the show will probably be stronger if it keeps the whole superpowers aspect fairly light. It also reminds me of the new Logan movie in several ways, what with Kashimura’s attitude, the kids in the research facility, and all that.

They found a way.

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations [Dropped]

I never intended to follow this show, but I was curious to at least see the first episode. I can’t even really remember what I last saw of Naruto, but it was quite a while back.

And while there are a few twists, it is generally just a re-do of Naruto. The kids are on the whole fairly similar to their respective parents, and it all seems perfectly fine.

The show starts as Boruto and the gang are about to enter the ninja academy, just like their parents. While Naruto struggled in school from being an orphan, Boruto’s issues seem to stem more from living in his father’s shadow, and said father also being absent a lot due to Hokage work.

One of the few things I did hear about how Naruto ended, was that Naruto succeeded in becoming the new Hokage. I had not heard that he ended up with Hinata, but I’m okay with that ship. I seem to remember thinking those two were cute. Possibly the biggest alteration to the roster is Sasuke’s stand-in/kid Sarada being a daughter and not a son.

Favourite part of the episode: Boruto’s younger sister Himawari. A spin-off with her as the main character I might actually watch, as she is extremely adorable. Naruto: The Moe Generations!

I shan’t claim to be in touch with the fanbase, but this is probably exactly what the fans want? Just another take at the same thing?

I don’t know how things progressed technologically so fast though. It seems to have only been like 10-15 years since the end of Naruto, but suddenly they have electric trains, skyscrapers, flat-screen monitors, and modern-looking PCs.

Also have to giggle a little at Naruto and Sasuke naming their kids Bolt and Salad.

The Misandry Is Real Show

Busou Shoujo Machiavellianism [Dropped]

Aka Armed Girl’s Machiavellism

Aka the Misandry is Real anime. I shan’t claim to be that surprised considering that “SJWs ruin Japan” anime not long back, but this really is something.

If you look at the basic framework of this, it’s essentially a teen-wank harem show. The whole “men are so oppressed/whipped by women now that they need to learn to stand up for themselves” angle is just the filling.

This takes place in a school that used to be an all-girls school. When it became open to boys as well, the girls felt so unsafe that they started arming themselves. Now the top five of the school are even allowed to carry swords, and all the boys have been “corrected” so they have to wear girl uniforms, heavy makeup, and act very effeminate. Because that’s what the feminists want, I guess.

Anyway, apparently now the school has taken on the role of accepting problem students from elsewhere and “correcting” their behaviour to make them “proper” students. At sword-point.

In comes our prick of a “hero”, a real badass who got transferred here because he fought like 40 people at once or something. He claims that he just loves peace and being free, but won’t accept anything that compromises his freedom. To quote: “I’m a Japanese boy who knows how to say ‘no’.” Which he spouts at the girl who is determined to “correct” him on day one.

They fight, he wins, and through HILARIOUS circumstances they accidentally kiss. It’s like they’re not even trying to be interesting. I’ll pass.

Probably fine.

Cinderella Girls Gekijou

Aka The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls Theater

Short. A strange little show featured the iMAS Cinderella girls in short skits. It’s also divided into one release for TV, and one for Web. The first episode had three skits for the TV episode, and one for the Web episode.

Seems fine, really. I liked iMAS_CG, so I’ll probably keep up with this.

So dull.

Clockwork Planet [Dropped]

We were speaking of not trying earlier, and this also feels like it would fit into that. Clockwork Planet’s biggest flaw is that it is really, really boring.

It also commits one of my big pet peeves: Things don’t happen because it makes sense for them to happen. Things happen because the plot says they need to happen, and they couldn’t figure out how to write that properly. I generally don’t like accusing someone of lazy writing, but this certainly feels like it.

The concept here is that when Earth was dying and humanity seemed lost, a clocksmith appeared and said he would build them a new planet entirely made of gears. I’m not even going to attempt to understand the logistics of that, because as with so many things in the first episode, we are just supposed to accept that it happened.

Our “hero” for this story is a kid who wants to be the greatest clocksmith in the world, even though he has apparently not been able to fix a single clock so far. He has the ability to perfectly hear gears (even when they’re apparently not turning), which seems like it should have been enough to warrant some success, but I guess not.

As he complains about wanting to fix all the clocks and having his own automaton, a metal coffin containing an automaton literally falls into his house. The automaton inside looks just like a very pretty woman, even though apparently she is completely made of gears on the inside. 4 trillion of them or something like that. Putting that together must have been hell.

With his super-gear-hearing he determines that there is something broken inside her, and decides the only right thing to do is to try to fix her, even though he admits he’s yet to fix a single clock. He is apparently also a structural engineer, as he instantly makes an assessment of how long he has before the building collapses.

He manages to pull it off just in time for her to rescue him from the collapse, and she now seems to think he’s the best clocksmith on the planet. Which doesn’t exactly sound like a compliment coming from her, she just seems to think that everyone else is so bad, that this mostly incompetent boy is the best they’ve got. She still decides she wants him as her master, and as soon as I saw the registration procedure consisted of her fellating his finger, I felt I’d seen enough.

My biggest problem with this episode was how the automaton woman, RyuZU, ended up with him in the first place. Early on we see her coffin roll out of the back of a transport plane, right above his house. So I assumed that was a deliberate thing done by someone for some reason. Except they later claim that it was an accident, which I don’t even consider remotely possible.

Why was the back of the plane open? Why was the coffin on a trolley? Why was neither coffin nor trolley strapped in and secured? Why did no one notice that the back of the plane was open? This was apparently the most important automaton on the planet, to hear them speak of it. The chances of the amount of mistakes, misconduct, negligence, and accidents required for this set of circumstances to happen as they did are so low, so far out there, that it is practically impossible for this to have happened. It had to have been on purpose, even though they claim it wasn’t. Maybe it’ll be later explained as happening due to sabotage, but it being claimed as an accident is so outlandish it pisses me off.

I say don’t bother with this one. Even if you are willing to forgive its shoddy story elements and pervy parts, it is just really, really boring.

Oy vey

Eromanga-sensei [Dropped]

I don’t remember who brought this to my attention, but this is one of the only shows where I was aware what it was about before the season started.

Izumi’s a boy who’s in his first year of high school. And has also apparently been a published light novel author for 3 years already. Since first year of middle school. That might explain a lot about light novels. He has recently gone fully public and held a signing event, where he showed his face for the first time.

The artist for the illustrations for his light novels is someone only known as Eromanga-sensei. Someone neither he nor his editor have met, even though they’ve been working together for at least a year. It’s all happened over the internet.

Enter Izumi’s little sister Sagiri (the show really wants you to know these two are not blood-related), whom he hasn’t seen for a year. Something happened a year back where they lost both their parents, and now they only have each other. Except she shut herself in her room, and has not come out since. She won’t talk to him either, she just pounds on the floor whenever she’s hungry or wants anything, so he can bring it up to her door and she can grab it when he’s not looking.

Now I assume she has to sneak outside to take showers and such while he’s at school, but it does appear that otherwise she never leaves the room. Not even to go to school herself. I’m not sure how that is allowed. I’ve heard high school is optional, but she’s younger, so would probably still be in middle school?

The show doesn’t take too long to reveal that indeed it is his sister who is Eromanga-sensei, something I feel he should have figured out earlier? She has a blog, and she does livestreams, but apparently he has somehow never thought to look up either, and only checks out a livestream after his friend points it out to him. In the stream he spots the food tray he had just prepared for her, which is when he figures it out. (She wears a mask and uses a voice changer on the stream, you see.)

Unsure what to do with this information, he is spurred into action when she just so happens to accidentally fail to turn off the stream as she gets up to change clothes. So he rushes up to tell her to turn it off, and as she realises she’s been figured out, she opens the door and greets him for the first time in a year. What initially feels like a very heart-felt reunion moment is spoiled when he eagerly spouts how her drawings are really erotic.

I felt then that I had seen all I needed to see of this self-proclaimed “new sibling romantic comedy”. Look, if this is the kind of thing you want to watch, I am not going to judge, but it’s not something I feel like dealing with.

Ao and Gourai are good.

Frame Arms Girl

Ao is a fairly normal high school student who one day finds a package outside her door. Thinking it’s been sent from her father who is on an overseas trip along with her mother, she takes it inside and opens it. Inside she finds a model kit with the name Gourai stamped on it. Naturally curious she opens the kit and takes out the model, thinking that toy dolls look really good these days. She accidentally hits Gourai’s on button, and it turns out this is not just a doll, it’s a small AI-driven robot.

After introductions Gourai wants Ao to assemble the armour in the kit for her, but Ao would really rather not. She’s a bit lazy, and I can relate to that. However Gourai manages to eventually pester her into it, and Ao does her best with Gourai being quite determined in guiding her to do things right. Gourai is very eager, even if Ao is not.

Ao is also basically in charge of Gourai’s development, as she was programmed with a mind roughly at the state of a human 10-year-old, and a capacity for learning to shape her further. The owner is in charge of teaching her, meaning Ao. I fear a little bit for Gourai’s development, to be honest.

Shortly after two more boxes appear at Ao’s doorstep, and inside are two assembled and active models: Stylet and Baselard. They have been sent to combat-test Gourai, something neither Ao nor Gourai are aware of, because Ao didn’t read the e-mail she was sent.

This seems like a pretty cute show, honestly. The mix of CG and 2D animation doesn’t always work that well, but it’s mostly fine. The action wasn’t exactly mind-blowing, but it seems to be aiming for more a character-driven show, and on that front I think it did pretty well. Looking forward to seeing more of it.

So heavy.

Fukumenkei Noise [Maybe]

Aka Anonymous Noise.

Nino is a girl about to start high school, with the baggage of being abandoned twice by important boys in her life. Her childhood love Momo, who suddenly moved away without warning, and her friend Yuzu, who suddenly stopped coming to see her six years ago. Every day since she has gone to the beach to sing out loud, hoping her voice will reach them.

After entering high school, she quickly finds that both Yuzu is attending the same school, and she goes to great effort to reunite with him. Unbeknownst to her, Momo is also at the same school.

There’s also a whole chain of one-sided love going on. One of Yuzu’s bandmates in the light music club has a crush on him, and gets very jealous as this unknown girl Nino from his past comes barging back into his life. Yuzu has had a long crush on Nino that he’s tried to forget, but now that she’s back he again feels this possessive feeling welling up, wanting her to be his, and his alone. Nino only loves Momo, and is desperate to find him again, losing control of herself as she ends up singing on stage with the light music club. And Momo… we don’t know yet.

This is a bloody great show. The opening episode is easily in the top three this season. I’m not even sure I can fully articulate why, but it’s just like the whole thing hits you like a truck. And the music performances blow you away, especially the amount of raw emotion Nino puts into her singing now that she is starting to unleash. As someone comments: She is like a bird who has been caged all her life, and finally set free. She can’t stop even if she wants to.

But it is also really damn heavy. It leans heavily into teenage drama, and none of these characters are doing okay. They all have baggage, damage, and things weighing on their hearts that they can’t manage to get out. They are not okay. So I’m not sure I can watch it.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it much in my anime posts, but I have bi-polar disorder. I can be very fragile in certain regards, and watching this show is very draining emotionally. So while I think it is really good, I also know it’s going to be bad for my health. Hence why I have decided to not commit to watching it, but maybe do the occasional episode on my good days. We will see.

I still recommend the hell out of it though. Hopefully you don’t have the health issues I have, and maybe you like some drama. Because this looks like it might be one hell of a ride.

Is this actually for anyone?

Gin no Guardian [Dropped]

Aka The Silver Guardian

Short. As soon as I saw the Haoliners splash screen appear, my scepticism set in. I’ve yet to like a single thing from that studio, and unfortunately Gin no Guardian was not the one to buck that trend. It’s not necessarily bad, but it is very, very boring.

It cold-opens on some other dimension where on top of a pyramid our hero stands alone (okay, not exactly, he also has his cat) against an encroaching horde of undead. This continues into some uninspired action scenes that don’t really sell the idea that the guy has been fighting a new horde every night. While it cuts to the “real world” at times, it never really explains what is going on, or sets things up in any way. It’s just rather tedious.

It’s also just 12-13 mins long, which surprised me, because it certainly felt like it took a lot longer to get done. Not sure I could recommend this to anyone considering the better stuff on offer this season.

Wear armour when chopping wood, kids.

Granblue Fantasy The Animation [Maybe]

Possibly the only show that does a decent cold-open this season. Our female lead/macguffin Lyria is trying to escape from the imperial airship she’s on along with her protector Katalina. Or rather, Katalina is/was an imperial officer who decided that what they were doing to Lyria was wrong, and decided to break her out. The most obviously evil villain appears to try to stop them, things go sideways, and Lyria uses her power to blow a hole in the ship which throws her out. And presumably Katalina also jumped out, because she is somehow on the ground later on.

Down on the island the airship was flying over we are introduced to Gran, our male lead. He has this half-armoured outfit that he seems to wear at all times, even when chopping wood. He also has a partner in a small dragon(?) Vyrn, who doesn’t have a vocal tick. Which I mention because it is unusual (but welcome) for this kind of mascot character to lack. He just speaks normally. Kudos.

The airship and the explosion don’t go unnoticed in the village, and they see a bright, blue light descend from the ship to land in the forest. Gran and Vyrn go to check it out, and they find Lyria. Being the hero he is, Gran decides to protect Lyria from the imperial soldiers that appear (in what seems very much like a combat tutorial from a game). They run off, and quickly reunite with Katalina, who says they need to get off the island. She has a small airship readied, but the problem will be getting there. Gran insists on helping them, and Katalina gives up on protesting after not too long.

They run into Obviously Evil Villain from the Obviously Evil Empire again, and Gran and Lyria end up mystically linking up to save Gran’s life. Then they summon Bahamut because it’s time to end the world, I guess.

This seems like a decent show, actually. I wouldn’t say the writing is great, especially with how Obviously Evil the Empire is, but it does have some interesting ideas. I really don’t know anything about the game this is based on, but the first episode certainly played out like the opening of a videogame.

However, it just barely doesn’t make the cut because there are other things I would rather prioritise. Part of what made it fall short is that even though Katalina and Lyria have really great chemistry, it feels more like the show intends to force a romance between Gran and Lyria. Maybe they sell that better later, but you should know me well enough to know I generally consider het romances to be a minus.

If I end up dropping a couple of other things, I might slot it back in.

Reminds me of Lucky Star a bit.

Hinako Note

Seems to be the most moe show of the season, so I feel right away I have to stick with it for that reason alone.

The titular Hinako is a girl moving from the country into Tokyo. She has applied for a school in the hopes of joining its theatre club. She is really shy, easily flustered, and tends to freeze up when talking to strangers, or sometimes even with people she knows. Her dream is to overcome that by learning to stand on stage in front of an audience, as any time she has seen a play she has been dazzled by their performance and bravery.

So she gets into the school and goes to Tokyo where she’s going to live in a boarding house with several other girls, who all turn out to be slightly odd in their own way. It feels strangely similar to Lucky Star actually. The OP especially is the most Lucky Star OP I’ve seen since Lucky Star’s OP.

This is the kind of stuff I tend to absolutely love, and the first episode was promising enough that I want to see more of this.

Enjoyable sci-fi romp.

ID-0

It is the “distant future”, and Mikuri Maya is a promising geology student at the Alliance Academy. She is out on her first field mission helping a mining vessel recover a vein of Orichalt, the macguffin substance of the show that is a very powerful and has led to basically all of mankind’s big space advancement and expansion. However it is also quite volatile, and there’s still a lot of unknowns regarding the material.

As things don’t go that well with the drilling, the crew have to actually go out there to check what’s wrong and hopefully correct it. This is where the show’s big idea comes in: I-Machines. Large robot frames that a human can transfer their mind into via backup pods that make a save of their mind going in, and keeps the body safe as they go out. If the I-Machine is lost and they “die”, they simply revive in the pod. Hopefully with their memory of being in the I-Machine intact, but the backup save is there just in case.

Things turn bad on the asteroid they’re mining, as the Orichalt becomes unstable. The two others are blown apart almost instantly, while Maya is flung into space. She is rescued by the crew of the pirate mining vessel Stulti, and taken on board on the condition that she helps out. Maybe they’ll even help her get back to her human body. But did they just happen to be in the area, or did they perhaps know she would be there?

I thought this was a really enjoyable sci-fi romp. It has an interesting setting, cool designs, neat robots with a neat concept, and some pretty good characters from what we got to see of them. Made me think a bit of Homeworld, too. Now I personally wasn’t bothered by it, but some people might be put off at how the show is entirely CG animated. So I’m just letting you know.

So yeah. Fun and neat.

Kabuki is not for me.

Kabukibu! [Dropped]

I don’t remember anyone’s name for this. Our protagonist is a high school student who for some reason is really into kabuki, and wants to form a kabuki club at his school. Because he thinks it’s really fun and interesting. I don’t understand why. So he goes around trying to recruit people from a list his equally kabuki-interested friend has put together. I really only got halfway through the episode before I was bored out of my mind.

I am going to draw a comparison to Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, even though this show is absolutely nowhere near that good. My reason for dropping Rakugo Shinjuu, even though I could appreciate it as a good show, was that I absolutely couldn’t stand the rakugo performances. And I feel completely the same about kabuki in that I have no interest, and can’t stand to watch it. So if I didn’t put up with it for a much better show, I’m certainly not going to put up with it for this one.

Papikana and Mimi, or Mirai and Riko?

Kaitou Tenshi Twin Angel

Aka Twin Angel BREAK

There has been a previous Twin Angel show, but I was told I didn’t need to have watched that to watch this, so I gave it a shot. It really doesn’t seem to be directly related. Also it’s based on a gatchapon game?

Our two main characters are Meguru, who just transferred to a Tokyo high school as part of an exchange program, and Sumire, a proud and somewhat cold girl. Meguru seems to fall in love with Sumire at first sight, though Sumire doesn’t exactly seem to return those feelings.

Soon enough it turns out that Meguru has been selected to be a Twin Angel by a magical hedgehog, and her introduction into the role is rather abrupt as a bad guy appears not long after she started school. Her role is only revealed to her as he is carrying out his scheme, and she has to stop him. She doesn’t really succeed, but is saved by another Twin Angel, which turns out to be Sumire.

Meguru is eager to work together with Sumire from now on, but Sumire blows her off completely. She says she will no longer be a Twin Angel, and for Meguru to never talk to her again. The hedgehog says Sumire has already been a Twin Angel and has been fighting alone for a while.

This kinda feels like it’s borrowing elements from both Maho Girls Precure, and Flip Flappers, but based on the first episode it was not exactly mind-blowing. I thought it was fine. I can see it becoming good. So I’ll watch a bit more, even though I’m not quite seeing what other people have seen yet.

Too much pink power.

Kenka Banchou Otome – Girl Beats Boys

Short. Hinako has spent her whole life in an orphanage, never aware she had any family at all. But as she’s about to enter high school, a boy named Hikaru shows up claiming to be her twin brother. His (their?) father has enrolled Hikaru into Shishiku Academy, tasking him with rising to the top of that school, as I believe his older brother had done before him. To avoid this, Hikaru asks Hinako to switch with him. He’ll take her place in the school she was going to, and she takes his place at Shishiku.

Unknown to her, the school is home to the nation’s biggest delinquents, who regularly fight over who gets the top spot at the school. So while she knows that her “mission” is to rise to the top, she is unaware of how that would work. So what will she do when she finds out?

Everyone knows of Hikaru’s older brother, so they’ll be on the lookout for him, or rather her now that they’ve switched. Though I suppose the title gives away that Hinako knows how to hold her own.

At 8 mins long it’s not the shortest show, but still only a third of a full-length episode. The first episode was pretty good, so I’m okay with sticking with this one for now.

Hanayo why

Love Kome – We Love Rice [Dropped]

Short. A show about anthropomorphised rice attending rice school to become rice idols and save rice in Japan from being out-competed by bread and noodles.

So basically they’ve let Hanayo write and direct an anime, and it might have been better if they hadn’t.

Where is this going?

Makeruna!! Aku no Gundan!

Aka Don’t lose!! Evil Corps!

Short. This is about an alien who sees an ad for how to make your own invasion force, and decides to go for it. With two comrades he heads for Earth which is known as an easy invasion target, for… some reason.

I really only looked at this for completion’s sake, but I am now honestly curious where they’re going with this.

Not what I expected.

Oushitsu Kyoushi Haine

Aka The Royal Tutor

Heine Wittgenstein is a young (and very short) man who gets hired by the royal family to be the royal tutor for the four younger princes. While the eldest is indeed the crown prince, the king still wants excellent education for his other sons. Just in case something were to happen.

So Heine shows up at the palace, and after a brief misunderstanding gets in and meets the princes. And as soon as I saw them, and his reaction to them, I thought “here we go, a yaoi harem”. I have a very hit and miss history with BL stuff, so I adjusted my expectations accordingly.

Only to find that after a slightly rocky start, it turns out to actually have a very good sense of humour. I ended up liking the first episode of this a lot, and I didn’t expect to. Heine is wonderfully deadpan and undaunted in the face of everything. His stature has probably led him to this “who gives a fuck what people think, I’m gonna do my job” attitude.

The princes have only been briefly introduced yet, with the exception of the one he ended up interviewing this time. There’s the large stoic one who doesn’t say a word, and only glares at everyone. There’s the smug, intellectual one whose attitude shifts greatly depending on how he feels about the one he’s talking to. There’s the young playful one with a bit of a playboy attitude who is prone to going with the flow.

And finally the interviewee, the one with a big chip on his shoulder towards the very idea of teachers and tutors, and very openly hostile about it. It of course turns out he is not that bad of a person, he just has trust issues after so many previous tutors have abandoned him and his brothers. And he hates studying, preferring physical activity to academic. Heine manages to get through to him a little, but the prince has a lot of insecurities to work through.

I want to see more of this, because it was actually quite funny. And a bit endearing.

Too early to tell.

Re: Creators

After a cavalcade of title drops for what I assume are pieces of fiction that only exist in-universe (I didn’t recognise a single title, at least) we are shown a scene where an unknown girl seemingly throws herself in front of a train. This never comes back up during the first episode.

Because then we cut to our… main dude. He says he’s not the main character, he’s just the narrator, but the show certainly focuses around him for this episode. He’s a big nerd and… I’ll say an aspiring artist, even though he seems to have a bit of an art block at the moment.

While looking up information on his favourite anime on his tablet, he starts playing the PV for the next episode, and his tablet blue-screens. Good job, kid, never seen that before. But before he can get around to rebooting it, it seemingly fixes itself before freaking out completely and spouting nonsense at him in several languages. Then it blue-screens the world, because this kid is just that big of a fuck-up.

Actually he ends up transported to an alternate world, more precisely to the world of his favourite anime, in the middle of the PV he was just watching. Stuff happens, and the main character of that anime, Celestia (Selesia) Yupitilia ends up being transported back to his world with him. There she is forced to come to terms with how she is actually a fictional character, or at least regarded as one in this world.

The person she was fighting, a curious woman in a strange uniform who can summon an infinite amount of sabres (I started referring to her as Sabres, actually), follows the two of them, and offers Celestia to join her in her grand plan. However, Celestia grabs main dude and makes a run for it. After a heated chase she is forced to resume her fight against Sabres, until another person interferes: Meteora. Sabres disappears, but not until after telling them both that this is the world of the gods, and she seems to want to destroy them all. But first she wants “all the players” to be present.

I think I get what she means. They all come from worlds made by creators from our world, and have gained a will of their own separate from their creators.

After Sabres is gone, Celestia and Meteora fly off, leaving main-dude behind. Though a few days later he ends up finding both of them in his room when he comes back home, as they realised they have nowhere else to go. At which point I thought “this is 100% the set-up for a harem show”. However it does seem to have enough going for it that I want to see a bit more.

How did this happen?

Renai Bokun [Dropped]

Aka Love Tyrant, The very lovely tyrant of love♥

This could well be the worst anime ever created.

Thinks it's far cleverer than it is.

Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records [Dropped]

Aka Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor

To get this out of the way right away: This seems to be another teen-wank show that is probably leading into harem stuff with The One Dude.

So we start with Sistine and her sister who are attending a magical academy. Their previous teacher has just quit, or moved, or died, or something… I forget. And they’re due to get a substitute today. One hand-picked by one of the greatest magicians at the school.

The thing to keep in mind with this show is that it thinks it’s being subversive. It probably looked up “subversive” on TV Tropes and thought “yup, I’ve got it”. But the thing about satire is that it has to have an element of criticism towards what it’s satirising/subverting. When you’re just doing the thing you claim to be satirising, while pointing out “hey, look at this thing”, that’s not satire. Then you’re just doing the thing.

I bring this up because we quickly run into the typical scene of “girl is about to round the corner, unaware of the guy sprinting in that direction, so they’ll run into each other”, except! As he’s about to hit them, Sistine casts a spell that repels him and sends him flying into the fountain. Subversion! Except… as soon he gets out, he starts poking at her sister anyway. Causing Sistine to knock him into the fountain again before they both storm off.

At school it of course turns out that this asshole is their substitute teacher. He has no teaching license, no experience, no motivation, no integrity, and really no place being there. He was just sponsored into this position because… his sponsor wants him to lead a happy life, or something? Consequences be damned for anyone who has to put up with him, I suppose.

After a rather tense and awkward class, with Sistine in particular trying to get him to take things seriously, they move on to the next part, which apparently requires a changing room scene. Which he of course decides to burst into. The reason he gives is “why should they need to change”, so he knew they were changing… and still decided to burst in on the girls. Not the boys. He then says, more or less, that he knows this is cliche, but he’s not going to look away in shame, he’s going to stare as much as he can before they kick him out. What a swell guy.

This culminates in Sistine challenging him to a duel, saying that he has to take his job more seriously if she wins, which is also a clear teen-wank thing. I fully expected him to win, because that’s just how these things go, but he actually doesn’t. He puts on a good performance, but still loses.

I’m still not going to stick around for this though… it has so many things I can’t stand, and it pretends to be subverting some of them, but it’s really not. Plus I’ve heard that basically the entire second episode is about dragging Sistine’s character through the mud, and even has an attempted rape scene. I don’t want to see that…

This really is one of those shows where this might have been okay had they just not had The One Dude.

That doesn't really look like the characters that much...

Sakurada Reset [Dropped]

Aka Sagrada Reset

In a perhaps more fitting X-Men metaphor than Alice & Zouroku, Sakurada is a town where well over half of the population have some special ability or other. Most of them are fairly specific and mostly useless/harmless, even though they also tend to defy the laws of physics.

Main dude Kei has the power of a perfect memory. He can completely recall anything he’s ever been seen or experienced with all of his senses. Which hasn’t really done much for him besides making it easier to study. He meets main girl Misora, who has the power to reset the world up to 3 days. She doesn’t actually rewind time, she says, she just rearranges the state of the world, and everyone’s memories of it, so that it is essentially back to when she “saved”.

Since that time still technically happened, Kei can still remember it. While this did not come up in episode 1, the synopsis says they end up working together to use their powers to fix problems assigned to them.

This is a very strange show that I get a bit of a Monogatari vibe from. It’s a very dialogue-heavy show. And I kinda found it wasn’t entirely for me. However, I am certain this is going be right up some people’s alley, and I won’t be surprised if it ends up really loved. It’s just not for me.

Cute, but strange.

Sakura Quest

No relation to Sakura Trick.

Main girl Yoshino moved into Tokyo to study, and is now trying very hard to get a job after graduation. With no luck. She really doesn’t want to move back out into the country with her family, so she still keeps on trying.

Then one night she gets a call from a talent agency she did a one-time job for, saying someone had asked for her by name for a job. To head out into a small town in the country to be their “queen” for promotional purposes. She is initially hesitant, but considering they did ask for her by name, it’s an all-expenses-paid trip, and she thinks it’s just a one-day thing (spoiler: it isn’t); she agrees to head out there.

She arrives at a small town that might be even more destitute than the one she came from, and it turns out there’s been a misunderstanding. The local boss wanted a different Yoshino, but misspelled her name to his subordinates. Also, it turns out that Yoshino has been dead for a few years. So they’re left with this Yoshino, who manages to convince the boss to give her a shot.

So they take her out to the Kingdom of the Chupacabra to hold the crowning ceremony, and it’s not until after that when Yoshino arrives at the lodge she’s going to be staying that she finds out this job is not for a day, it’s for a year. Oops, she hadn’t read the contract.

She attempts to escape and take the train back, but of course the last train has left. There aren’t that many trains that run in small country towns. So can she be won over into staying? I’d hope so, or we wouldn’t have much of a show.

Now considering the character designs, I wondered if this was by the Shirobako team, but it seems like the character designer from there is the only one working on this team. Still though, I can see the potential in this. It has also done a great job of nailing that feeling of being a millennial. It deserves some recognition just for that.

It also deserves better official subtitles, but that’s a different story. Maybe someone’s doing fansubs, because the official ones are not up to the task.

Quite interesting.

Seikaisuru Kado

Aka KADO: The Right Answer

So this released both episode 0 and episode 1 at the first time. As I started watching episode 0 I was quite curious why.

Episode 0 makes this feel like a show about government bureaucrats doing their job. We focus around Shindou Koujirou, a top negotiator for the policy planning department, as he takes on one final job before reassignment. The episode focuses mostly on fleshing out his character along with that of his assistant, and they introduce some of the other characters as well. I was actually fooled into thinking this would be a mundane show about this negotiator and his skills in getting the best deals for everyone. Which honestly didn’t seem that bad considering how well ep 0 sold it.

Then once the job is over, the two of them finally go on vacation. While the plane is on its way to take off, the aliens arrive. A giant cube, 2 x 2 x 2 kms, appears in the sky and sets down on the runway, right on top of the aircraft. It doesn’t seem to crush it, so much as absorb it.

Episode 1 starts at that same point, doing a runthrough of the airport scene with a few extra bits, just in case someone didn’t watch ep 0. Ep 1 focuses on the outside response, as emergency services, airport personnel, and government agencies all work on how to deal with this thing.

Enter theoretical physicist Shinowa Kanata, a woman who’s a bit of a mad scientist, and very, very eager to explore this cube. She is sent out to the airport to study it and try to figure out how to get in. Anything and everything they try is repelled, including an AP round from a tank. She seems absolutely delighted by this.

The episode has a lot more going on than that, but I would simply suggest to go watch it yourself. The show is really particular about accuracy in everyone’s roles and titles, and how different agencies and services work. It really adds some very nice flavour to this interesting sci-fi story. The preview made it seems like episode 2 will be about what was happening inside the cube while episode 1 was going on. Looking forward to it!

Spooky book.

Sekai no Yami Zukan

Aka The World YAMIZUKAN

Short. Fairly certain the title would actually mean “The Picture Book of the World of Darkness” or something like that. Literally: “World of Darkness Picture Book”. But I digress.

This is a strange show about a book that tells you horror stories. It really is in a picture book style, and almost entirely devoid of actual animation. The first story was a decent one, as well. I’ll probably keep watching just because I like weird Japanese horror stuff. It doesn’t seem quite on Kagewani‘s level, but I’m still interested.

How To Turn Into A Dragon

Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul

Aka Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul

This is set 10 years after Bahamut got loose for a short while and ruined quite a lot of stuff at the end of the first season. So while it might not be strictly necessary, I do recommend you watch the original series before this sequel. There’s been several recurring characters already, and I’m not sure how much the show is interested in explaining them again.

Our main character is Nina, who it’s hard to not think of as an RPG character. She seems to have maxed out her strength stat by using charisma as her dump stat and taking a disadvantage to luck. What I’m saying is that Nina is really, really strong, far beyond what any human could or should be, but she’s really bad at dealing with people, and events have a way of conspiring against her.

Nina is easily mesmerised by good-looking men, and tends to go really red and start day-dreaming if they dazzle her. After an unfortunate turn of events has the city guard chasing her, she is rescued by someone known as the Rag Demon (whom she was actually hunting herself before things got unfortunate). During the rescue it turns out that when Nina gets really flushed and horny over a good-looking man, she turns into a dragon. I’ve heard about hormones making you hot-headed, but this is just silly.

Oh, and there’s also some stuff about humans now attacking angel sanctuaries, having enslaved demons, and their king/emperor being up to no good, but listen. Nina’s the important thing, especially since she has now met Rita.

To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t that fond of the first series, but I did complete it, so I figured this was at least worth looking at. And I quite liked the first episode, so this could be good.

Guess who's back

Shingeki no Kyojin S2 [Maybe]

Aka Attack on Titan S2

Four years later, and having experienced a lot of other anime, I must confess this no longer seems as great as it did back then.

So… yeah. Attack on Titan is back. It picks up the story basically exactly when S1 left off. Like, just a few hours later, I think.

Annie is captured, Eren is in hospital, a lot of people are dead, there’s a hole in the wall showing a titan’s face, and all of Eren’s teammates are under watch in case any of them are also secretly titans like Annie was.

You know, I did read ahead a bit in the manga after S1, and I was a little surprised at where the story was. I thought it was a little bit longer until it hit the events in the first episode with the talking beast titan and all that. But I guess here we are.

Eren’s teammates are evacuated as titans appear near them. Thinking the wall is breached, they all go off to warn the surrounding villages and to tell the people at the next wall. Knowing exactly what has happened it was pretty interesting to watch this unfold.

Now I’m not sure whether this is an attempt at making an extra dramatic return, or it just wants to one-up the manga, but it feels a bit edgier, grislier, and more try-hard than I remember. Especially towards the end, where before the ED there’s 40 seconds of a man being eaten alive by three titans, screaming all the time. No one needs to see that. The manga cut away as soon as he got grabbed. So once that starts, I recommend skipping ahead 40-50 seconds.

Now I was planning to watch this just because I am still a bit interested in the story, and I’m curious how far S2 is going to get, especially since they’re only going for one cour. I have an idea of what might be a logical end-point for them, but we’ll see. Or rather, I probably won’t see, because I decided to cut it. There’s just so much else I would rather watch. If the list shrinks enough, then maybe.

There's nine of them.

Sin – Nanatsu no Taizai

Aka Seven Mortal Sins.

This is one of those NSFW shows. Have we had one of them since Valkyrie Drive? Wait, yes, there was one, but it was really bad and I don’t remember the name of it. They’re a bit infrequent, is my point.

The plot, as it is: Lucifer is cast down from heaven and ends up in the lowest circle of hell: Cocytus. Where everything is really cold and tends to freeze up fast. There she is found by Leviathan, who decides the best way to heat Lucifer up is to remove her clothes and take a hands (and mouth) on approach. So it doesn’t take long until it gets its porn on, is what I’m saying. This is an anime that believes in nipples!

Leviathan is a bit of a Lucifer fangirl, and decides all on her own to stick with the fallen angel. Who merely decides it’s easier to go with it than try to push her away. A guide would be handy, if nothing else.

Levi shows her the way to Pandemonium where the Seven Mortal Sins gather, and Lucifer learns that Hell is not welcoming to an angel, even a fallen one. Lucifer is strong enough to hold her own though, and while initially proclaiming she no longer cares about Heaven or Hell, her tune has now changed, and she wants to rule over the Mortal Sins.

Though this is already where I had to call bullshit on the show. There are only six of them. Gluttony, Greed, Lust, Sloth, Vanity, and Wrath. Yet they still call themselves the “Seven Mortal Sins”, and in Japanese as well, so it’s not like they’re misusing Engrish. There are only six of you! Lucifer would make seven, but you haven’t recognised her yet. You just… are six, but call yourselves seven.

That’s not even getting into the promo image up there which has nine! This show is taking the piss.

It’s a porn show. There’s no two ways about it. Crunchyroll and other streaming/broadcast services that aren’t AT-X only have access to the censored version, but if you really want to watch this, go for the uncensored if you can. Otherwise I feel like it misses the point. I wouldn’t say the story and characters really hold up without the NSFW elements, but maybe that’s just me and my own perviness.

I can’t say it blew me away, but I’m shameless enough to keep watching at least a while longer.

Good kids.

Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii desu ka?

Aka WorldEnd: What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us?

Here we have it. The most light novel title of all light novel titles. Light novel authors need to stop and calm down. The show is pretty good, though.

At the start of our story, it’s been five hundred years since humanity was wiped out, and the surface made uninhabitable due to being flooded by large, mysterious Beasts.

Everyone left alive now lives on islands in the sky, of which there are at least 68. And everyone now seems to be some sort of furry. The few still around who don’t have any fur, fangs, horns, feathers, or anything like that are known as the “disfeatured”, and are looked down upon. Rather aggressively so, even though it wasn’t explained why.

Our protagonist is the last human. As far as anyone knows, he’s the only human left. I wondered if something had happened those 500 years ago that made him immortal, but according to the synopsis he had somehow ended up on ice, and only recently got defrosted.

With everyone and everything he ever knew lost, he has resigned himself to living out his life in obscurity. Then one of the people looking out for him convinces him to accept a job as a caretaker at a military special weapons warehouse.

As he arrives, he runs into an old acquaintance, the troll Nygglatho. She apparently was his caretaker when he was younger, and she really wants to eat him. She knows how to behave though, hopefully, though she did add that if he ever wanted to be eaten, all he had to do was say so.

It turns out that the weapons he’s supposed to look after are living weapons. Most of them children. And just so you know, they’re adorable.

The opening of the episode might not blow you away, but once he gets to the warehouse, things do really pick up. I think this seems fun, charming, and interesting, and I’m looking forward to more. Even though I have a feeling it could also break my heart…

No.

Tsugumomo [Dropped]

Right, this is supposedly somehow about the Japanese concept of items who are so loved they gain a soul of their own, but I will tell you this:

As the OP ends, it doesn’t even take 20 seconds before we get a double-handed accidental boob-grab, a “what was that for”, and a panty shot. That really told me all I need to know, so while I could watch more to see if it goes anywhere…

Absolutely adorable.

Tsuki ga Kirei

Aka As the Moon, So Beautiful

This is rare treat. It’s a show about a het romance that I really like. It’s not unheard of, I was really into Ore Monogatari and Momokuri because they both did a good job of selling the romance to me. And Tsuki ga Kirei‘s first episode also did that really well.

Akane and Kotarou are both third-year students at middle school, and in the same class for the first time this year. It quickly becomes obvious that Akane has a crush on Kotarou, and he might feel the same about her. However, they are both shy, awkward teens who don’t really know how to approach each other. Akane keeps trying her best, poor dear, but tends to freeze up and chicken out.

The show delivers this so well though. It also does a very rare thing of portraying just how awkward these kids are in a way that didn’t make me feel awkward at all. In fact, they just seemed very adorable in their awkwardness. Adorkable, if you will. I think the most succinct way of describing this show is: absolutely adorable.

I do wonder why Akane isn’t in the promo image up there though? In the first episode she was definitely the protagonist. While it did occasionally cut to his point of view, for like 90% it was her. Her thoughts, her actions, her attempts to get up the nerve to talk to him. Her nervous squeezing of her little plush toy to help herself calm down. I can relate to that kind of anxiety.

I just want to scoop them all up and hug them! It’s so rare to find a show like this, and it makes me want to gush about it all the more. There’s honestly not a lot more I can say though. If you like, or at least don’t mind, het romances, I would say definitely check this one out. It might melt your heart.

So mean.

Warau Salesman New [Dropped]

Aka The Laughing Salesman

Apparently a re-make/sequel/resurrection of a show from 1989?

The titular salesman is Moguro Fukuzou. What he sells is the heart’s desire of his customers. He gives them exactly what they want, but then it tends to end badly for them. Especially if they try to break the deal/rules he set.

And I just felt like it was so mean. Like it was punishing people for having dreams and wanting a better life. He was taking advantage of people in vulnerable positions, and then punishing them for it. It’s just… pretty abusive, actually. I guess the title doesn’t lie, but fucking hell. I don’t want to watch this.

I love Zero.

Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho

Aka Grimoire of Zero 

This one really caught me off guard. It was setting up what seemed like a fairly generic medieval fantasy.

The witch-hunts are in effect under the banner of the Church, except here witches are actually real. Some are even trying to fight back. And there are beastpeople known as beastfallen.

So it’s safe to say the opening didn’t impress me. I figured this was going to be something dull and generic. It didn’t take long for things to pick up, though.

We start with our first main character: a beastfallen only known as Mercenary. He is actually stopped from introducing himself, but let’s get to that later. He sets out into the woods to hunt witches. As a mercenary, he earns a living by collecting the bounties on witches’ heads, and doing various other jobs. There is however also a bounty on beastfallen heads in many areas, so he’s often hunted himself. Either by bandits, other mercenaries, or witches.

Then he runs into Zero. Yes, the one from the title. She hasn’t really paid that much attention to the outside world it seems, and doesn’t really understand why Mercenary would hate/fear her. She just cares that he spilled her soup. He was running from another witch firing magic arrows at him, so she decides she might as well help out. However, he runs away upon discovering she is also a witch.

She finds him again though, and takes her revenge by starting to eat his soup. Soup for a soup, and all that. I love Zero so much, and identify with her a lot. She is definitely my favourite character of the season.

After seeing how weak she is from hunger (which is probably partly acting), and how she doesn’t seem inclined to attack him, Mercenary relents and agrees to give her some soup. It is almost impressive how quickly the show manages to establish a chemistry and dynamic between these two. Zero manages to convince Mercenary to join her in finding her lost book, the titular Grimoire of Zero. It is when he tries to introduce himself that she says she doesn’t care. Which I think might be at least partly because names hold a lot of power for witches. Zero isn’t her real name.

See, this is where it caught me off-guard. These two characters are really good, and work really well together. It reminds me maybe more of Spice and Wolf than anything else. So what seemed to be just another fantasy story, might instead become a very strong character-driven piece. It’s a little heavy-handed at times, but as first impressions go, this is one of my most anticipated titles right now.

Not Watching

A lot of this stuff I just copied down from the list for completion’s sake, just in case anyone cares to know all that’s out.

Atom: The Beginning: Coming out too late for this post, and I honestly have enough.

Berserk 2: I dropped S1 so fast.

BEYBLADE Burst God: I didn’t even know they still made Beyblade.

Boku no Hero Academia 2: Still not forgotten how fatigued I felt after trying S1.

Duel Masters 2017: I don’t even know what this is.

Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka Gaiden: Sword Oratoria: While I’m sure this alternate viewpoint is interesting for Danmachi fans, I couldn’t get into the original show at all.

Future Card Buddyfight Battsu: I don’t know what this is.

Idol Time PriPara: I have not seen PriPara.

Kyoukai no RINNE 3: I still remember how much I hated Rinne’s father.

Tomica Hyper Rescue Drive Head: Kidou Kyuukyuu Keisatsu: While I am a little curious about this Transformers knock-off, I really do have enough.

Natsume Yuujinchou Roku: Sixth season! I’ve not watched the first five.

Rilu Rilu Fairilu: Mahou no Kagami: Not seen S1.

Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata ♭: I barely remember what this is, but I think I only watched the first episode of S1.

Star Myu S2: I really lost interest in S1.

The Snack Attack: As the blurb said it’s made in collaboration with Level 5 I was kinda interested, but I just can’t find it anywhere.

Uchouten Kazoku 2: Not seen S1.

Yu-Gi-Oh VRAINS: They still make Yu-Gi-Oh too?

I somehow keep making these posts longer. Making more work for both myself and the readers. Ah well.

I actually thought Winter Season did fairly well, but compared to how many strong and good shows there are this season, it’s barely even comparable. It is too early to say if any of these can really measure up to Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid or Kemono Friends, though. Winter may not have had a lot, but the best shows set the bar really high.

The extremely staggered release for new shows seems far more pronounced than I’m used to, though. One or two releasing later isn’t uncommon, but this time so much is spread out across over more than two weeks. They got started before we were even in April.

As for what I’ll be watching, I gave up on the idea of limiting myself to just 10 shows. While there are some I can see maybe not panning out, I’ve already cut as deep as I’m comfortable right now. In another couple of episodes I will likely have a better feel of what is and isn’t worth sticking with.

Watching: Alice & Zouroku, Frame Arms Girl, Grimoire of Zero, Hinako Note, ID-0, KADO: The Right Answer, Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul, Re-Creators, Sakura Quest, Seven Mortal Sins, The Royal Tutor, Tsuki ga Kirei, Twin Angel Break, WorldEnd.

Shorts: Cinderella Girls Theatre, Girl Beats Boys, Makeruna, Sekai no Yami Zukan.

Maybe: Attack on Titan, Fukumenkei Noise, Granblue Fantasy.

14 full + 4 shorts. Eesh. I’ll figure this out somehow. See you again at the mid-season update!

~Wulf

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Posted on April 15, 2017, in Cartoons and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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