Anime Spring Season 2017 – Mid-Season Update

I’m a little late on this because I’ve gotten so into writing short stories that I often lose track of doing anything else.

Still, I have finally hit episode 6 on everything I’m watching, so it’s time to get this done.

It is still a very interesting season. The amount of good, and even very good, shows is higher than I think anyone expected.

But I have a couple of others thing to bring up first. And you can look at the early impressions here.

Archive Digging

One of these isn't a main character for long.

Senki Zesshou Symphogear: Meteoroid-Falling, Burning, and Disappear, Then…

Concluded at 13 episodes.

I am on a quest to get through the three seasons of Symphogear, hopefully before the fourth airs this summer. I have gotten through S1, and it was interesting.

The first episode is really quite dark. There are a lot of on-screen deaths, even of someone I expected to become a recurring main character. Not to mention it starts on someone visiting a grave in a heavily damaged city. It kinda gave me a “oh, so that’s how it’s going to be” impression.

It didn’t ever really go quite that dark again, though. I’d say the show is more about hope, and how to deal with the struggles to find it, than it is about death and tragedy. It’s about people healing from emotional wounds and trauma. As someone told me, things will generally find a way to work out. It just takes some effort.

Apparently the show was rather disliked when it first came out. It was not long after the release of Madoka, and people thought it was trying to ride on those coat-tails. And if you just watched episode 1, I can kinda understand why they might think that. That didn’t really enter my mind when watching now, and I’d say it’s a show well worth watching. It has good characters, good moments, and a finale that absolutely wrecked me. Even though I knew things would work out, since there are two more seasons.

Also: Hibiki and Miku are a great couple.

Completed Shows

Excellent!

BanG Dream

Concluded at 13 episodes.

So the final arc before the finale was not dedicated to Tae, but to dealing with Kasumi’s insecurities. I had to re-think my image of her, but not because it went against her earlier characterisation. It fit right into that, and it just lifted the veil on stuff Kasumi had been hiding. She definitely deserves all the hugs.

I enjoyed this show a lot. It was in many ways a re-imagining of K-On through the lens of Love Live, though that’s not everything it was. It had well-defined characters, it really felt like they went on a personal journey, and that the stuff that happened mattered.

The first half was good, then the second half was very good. It knew how to set things up, and how to make them pay off. Not always perfectly, but it got there.

As for the finale, it was like a celebration of their achievements and growth as a band. It had emotional weight, and it definitely coaxed some tears out of me. But it also left some stuff hanging. Possibly for a sequel, but it still felt a little unfortunate. Could have used a bonus episode to act as an epilogue. I ended up writing a fanfic to give myself some closure between Arisa and Kasumi.

My verdict: Watch it. If you have any interest in character-driven shows, music shows, or just cute girl shows, watch it.

Dropped Shows

Not Good Enough

Kaitou Tenshi Twin Angel

Aka Twin Angel BREAK

Dropped after 4 episodes.

For a show that seemed like it might hold some promise, it’s really unfortunate that I ended up feeling it’s Not Good Enough after four episodes.

The show definitely had some issues from the get-go, but nothing too bad. The first two episodes were fine. I started stumbling on the third. The first half of the third episode nearly put me off the show entirely, but the second half convinced me to stay for one more.

Then for episode four I felt pretty much uncomfortable the entire way through, because they decided it was a good idea to tell the story from the POV of one of the villains. An absolute and complete creep with no redeeming features. To up the creep factor he develops an obsession for Sumire, even though he’s like… at least 20. Which then turns into him falling for Yuuki, the boy who looks and dresses like a girl, in a way that… was really uncomfortable. Felt like a joke at Yuuki’s expense.

The show is Not Good Enough to put up with that sort of stuff.

Going nowhere important.

Makeruna!! Aku no Gundan!

Aka Don’t lose!! Evil Corps!

Dropped after 3 episodes.

Not a lot to say. After three episodes I felt like my curiosity for this thing was sated. I’m sure it’s fine.

Not worth it.

Sin – Nanatsu no Taizai

Aka Seven Mortal Sins.

Dropped after 3 episodes.

tw: rape

Hoo boy. For a show that pretends to have a sub-theme of “the sins aren’t actually sinful”, and “sex is good, actually”, it doesn’t really do a lot to actually demonstrate that. No one seems to actually want to have sex. Every sex scene is rape. Usually of Maria. So claiming that it’s about sex-positivity while committing at least one act of sexual crime per episode comes off as rather hypocritical.

I’m not going to lie and say I’ve never read hentai with rape in it. But even by those standards this isn’t very good. I failed to find it erotic in any way, and if it doesn’t even have that, what’s the point? The story underneath is certainly not good enough to hold it up on its own. I genuinely can’t imagine anyone wanking to this. You can do better.

Shows On Hold

Cute, but not very exciting.

Oushitsu Kyoushi Haine

Aka The Royal Tutor

Watched 4 episodes.

I still think this show is good, which is why I’ve placed it on hold rather dropping it outright. The characters are pretty good, it really has a good sense of humour, and the stuff they do was fun to watch. Seeing Heine deal with the princelings was typically quite amusing.

Yet somehow it just… failed to excite me enough. So it became a bit of a stumbling block for a couple of weeks before I decided it might be best to put it aside for now if that’s the case. This one might be easier to binge once it’s all out there.

How To Be Ineffective

Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul

Aka Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul

Watched five episodes.

I got a bit into episode six before I decided to shelve it for now. I’m not certain I’ll pick it back up, but I’m also not going to entirely rule it out.

Rita is still great. Kaisar is… still Kaisar I suppose. Azazel’s a prick, and so’s the king, though in a contest I’d say the king would win the crown of Prickness. Which is extra funny since he’s a king. Favarro has been name-dropped, but not actually shown up. And I enjoyed seeing more of Bacchus and Hamsa this time around.

I wouldn’t say the story was shaping up to be anything great. I mean, neither was Genesis. It’s serviceable fantasy fodder driven by interesting characters. Which is also where the show pushed past the limit for me. It doesn’t treat Nina very well at all.

Her trouble with handsome men was sort of amusing to begin with, but by episode six it felt like they were running that joke into the ground. I ran out of patience for it, and put the show aside to move on to something more enjoyable.

That’s when I also realised that… they don’t actually let Nina do much of anything. Even though she’s ostensibly the main character. With the exception of when she turns into a dragon. Otherwise whenever something is happening, Nina is completely ineffectual, and needs to be rescued. Frankly it was getting old. All that would happen would be her getting knocked around or bullied around while doing her best to avoid looking at any of the men for longer than a second.

Aside from when she’s turned into a dragon she can’t control, she doesn’t get to do anything that actually matters. Everyone else actually does the important stuff. Which I hadn’t even thought about much until it pushed my patience too far.

Still Watching

Curious and cute.

Alice to Zouroku

Aka Alice & Zouroku

This is a good show. It has a lot of heart. And it’s demonstrated it’s not a one-trick pony.

Sana and Sanae are a very good sister-pair. Sana’s rather clueless about the world still, but Sanae seems all too happy to help look after her and teach her things. Zouroku has also proved to be a very good person, and a good character too. My favourite bits of the show is when these three are just doing everyday stuff. Especially because Sana and Sanae are so cute together! Sanae is really giving off a “I always wanted a little sister” impression. Episode six made me cry, and I can feel tears coming just from thinking about it again.

However it has also shown that it can do exciting action and cool super-power stuff when it wants to. There’s a part where Shizuku (the combat maid from the first ep) has to rescue Sana and Zouroku, and that whole episode is so cool, and Shizuku is so cool, and I was so on board for all of that.

This is a very good show. One of my top five of the season.

Probably fine.

Cinderella Girls Gekijou

Aka The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls Theater

Not as good or cute as I had kinda hoped, but it’s fine. And it’s very short. So why not?

Ao and Gourai are good.

Frame Arms Girl

I’m still enjoying this show, even though it has had some… problematic parts. I’ll just say I feel the show has otherwise been good enough for me to look past those flaws.

I believe we have seen all but one of the Frame Arms Girls now, and they’re all… well… they’re certainly characters.

Gourai is still in the learning stage, but she is very eager, helpful, guileless, and she’s a little toughie. Sometimes learns the wrong lessons.

Stylet is possibly the most “normal” of them, and she has a very enjoyable personality. Often plays the Straight Man to the others’ antics, poor dear.

Baselard is easily excited, hard to faze, and a bit of a trickster. About 90% of the show can be summed up as “Baselard pls”.

The Materia sisters are slightly creepy sadists (and possibly also masochists) that I can’t always decide whether or not I actually like. Most likely to perform actual crime.

Jinrai is a nerd obsessed with Japanese military history pre 19th century, and considers herself a real shinobi. Puts great stock in following tradition. Doesn’t like panties.

Architect is interesting in that she’s the most level-headed one, and the only one who’s actually competent. The most robotic, but extremely reliable.

While the battles are certainly a part of the show, it still doesn’t seem like it’s the part it wants to focus on most. Most of the show is the FA Girls going on various adventures around the apartment or outside, and usually causing trouble for Ao. They turned a roomba into a support vehicle, and they take it for drives.

This is mostly a fun and silly show.

Reminds me of Lucky Star a bit.

Hinako Note

The OP is still my favourite of this season, but there are other good ones too. I just think this one is the best.

Now I was actually close to dropping this show at some point because again it felt like a case of running a joke into the ground, which I have very little patience for. However, I am glad to report that it managed to pull itself back from that. There is actually progress on Hinako’s scarecrow problem, and her first time on stage was a great thing to behold. I loved it.

There’s also a really cute dynamic between Chiaki and Mayuki. Tol and smol couples are good. Hinako seems like she might be ending up with both Kuina and Yua.

Speaking of, Yua is the final troupe member from the OP, and she showed up in… episode three, I think. She is very tsundere, and very disapproving of Hinako at first. Hinako misinterprets it as Yua wanting to be friends though, and their relationship does grow from there.

And then we have… Ruriko-sensei… the short one with the flower headpiece. The show claims she’s a famous child actress prodigy, only 9 years old. But somehow with… boobs at least D-cup, probably more. So I don’t buy it. I can’t see her as anything but a really short 24-year-old (I don’t know why 24 exactly).

See, this show is very moe. Very cute and fun. But it’s also rather horny. Which includes the drama teacher at times… so I really, truly, honestly hope she’s not actually 9, but at least over 20 like a teacher should be… it’s really the only thing I’m able to accept.

Enjoyable sci-fi romp.

ID-0

While I thought the first episode was quite enjoyable, I hadn’t expected this would become one of my favourite shows this season. It’s a really engrossing sci-fi show. I’ll get so caught up in just watching what’s going on that I’ll completely forget to live-tweet for large parts of the episodes.

Even now I got a bit lost in thought about the stuff that goes on in this show. It’s… fascinating. It fascinates me, at least. It’s such a good sci-fi setting, or maybe it just has very good characters, and an interesting plot. Whatever it is that it has, I am really, really into it.

It’s like pure sci-fi, action, fluff. Maybe fluff isn’t the right word, but I mean like: it’s very easy to watch. I feel like I can just watch and enjoy this for many episodes in a row without getting worn down by drama or heavy emotional stuff.

It’s just very interesting, and I enjoy it a lot. The episodes tend to fly by a little too quickly.

Too much pink power.

Kenka Banchou Otome – Girl Beats Boys

This isn’t bad, but I also feel like it could have easily been better.

After a lacklustre episode five, I was considering just having episode six be the last one I’d watch, but it managed to throw out a hook that made me want to see what would happen next. So I guess I’m in for at least one more.

But I believe this is based on a dating game or something, and it’s when it plays up that aspect of it that I kinda lose interest. So I’m not sure if I’ll stick with this for the whole season. It’s a short, but it’s not that short.

Precure furries. Prefur?

KiraKira Precure A La Mode

I’m a little behind on Precure due to certain issues, so I’m only up to date through episode twelve, I believe.

They’ve finally introduced a proper antagonist, and as far as I know he’s a little shit. The Cures also have gotten upgraded weapons, and a proper finisher. I was for a while wondering if they’d ever get one, but I suppose I shouldn’t have.

I do like Kirakira Precure. The Cures themselves are excellent, especially Aoi, Akira, and Yukari. They all three have excellent transformations, that are certainly better than either Ichika’s or Himari’s. It’s not that either of them are bad, they just don’t really match up to the other three. At least in my opinion.

Yet I still feel like it’s… missing some piece that keeps it lagging behind Go Princess and Maho Girls. It has arguably better Cures, but a less interesting story and world. Definitely worse mascot character. I’m sorry Pekorin, but you do not measure up to Puff or Mofurun in the slightest.

Though I keep giving it the chance that this missing piece could appear at any point in the future. I’ve certainly seen people say good things about the latest episodes. But for now that missing piece is also part of why I’m not really feeling any great pressure to catch up.

Well, damn.

Re: Creators

Well, this show sure faked me out. It’s not at all in any way like a harem. I feel like the end of episode one set me up with false expectations there. I wonder if they did it on purpose, or I’m simply too quick to jump to conclusions.

I’ll be frank: This is a very, very good show. It’s good at being an action show, but it also isn’t afraid to have entirely talky episodes, and they’re really good. It delves into the ideas it has set forth. There’s still a lot hidden for us to uncover, but with the last couple of episodes especially I am very eager to learn more. At the end of episode six I was just like “wow, that was scary good”.

There are so many interesting things to touch upon and talk about in this show, but I shall pick just one for this time. Aliceteria and Mamika.

They are very interesting contrasts to each other, and mirror images in a certain way. They are naturally drawn to one another, as they are both pursuers of justice, and the two who are probably suffering the biggest culture shock by coming into our world. But for nearly opposite reasons.

Aliceteria is a knight from a hellish world of death and chaos, where she has had to kill, and see people get killed, in countless numbers because that’s the kind of story her creator wanted to tell. The idea that all that was for someone else’s entertainment is lot for her to take in, so understandably she wants her creator to change it. And she won’t listen to anyone saying it’s not that easy.

Mamika is a magical girl whom I believe is the only one of the creations to come from a world that is actually kinder than ours. She has had to deal with fact that in our world her actions cause more destruction and have bigger consequences than they did in her world. Which has also been a lot to take in, and she’s had a lot to sort out. She still believes in her ideals, she is just pondering what’s the best way to pursue them.

And seriously, episode six is such… it’s just… so good. This show defied my expectations in a brilliant way, and I love it.

Cute, but strange.

Sakura Quest

It may not be among the best of the season, but I’d still say this show is pretty good. As soon as Yoshino starts accepting her role, the show can properly try to find its feet. I’m not sure I’d say it’s completely succeeded yet, but I think it’s getting there.

It has earned some critique for sometimes slowing down things in order set stuff up for future episodes. It doesn’t always handle that really well. There was a whole episode, either three or four, where it just wasn’t very engaging because it got too caught up in set-up to make the actual episode that interesting. Hopefully it won’t go that far again.

I feel it is definitely growing, though episode six had a couple of instances of characters keeping things from Yoshino that she probably should know about. So I’m wondering how that’s going to get resolved.

Ririko is best girl.

Quite interesting.

Seikaisuru Kado

Aka KADO: The Right Answer

This is one of those high-concept stories, I’d say. I find it very interesting how it’s trying to do a genuine representation of what a first-contact scenario with a completely alien entity might look like. And Kanata is still great, which is the most important thing.

But seriously, as a contemporary sci-fi story, this one is really good. This is another case of me often going “wait, the episode’s over already?”. There’s lots of little details to show just how alien Yaha-kui is to us, and it can often be a little hard to grasp what he might be thinking. Which is how it should be, in my opinion.

And as more of his agenda is revealed, one might wonder if his influence is really in our best interest.

The one thing that gives me a little pause is the weirdly nationalistic vibes the show gives off at times. Maybe it’s just me reading too much into things, but it just at times gives off this “Japan is so great, the JSDF is so great, the UN sucks, the rest of the world is just waiting to turn against is” vibe.

Spooky book.

Sekai no Yami Zukan

Aka The World YAMIZUKAN

This is not as good as Kagewani. In fact only a couple of the stories have really been much of anything, but it’s so short that I don’t really mind too much.

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?

I feel like I keep saying this this season, but this is a very good show. It isn’t entirely cruel, but at times it won’t pull its punches either.

This has a lot to do with the strength of the characters. It really helps that Willem actually is a character. He’s not just an audience-insert like so many light novel protagonists. He is an actually developed character with a personality. And I completely buy his attachment to and protectiveness over this bunch of little fairies destined for cruel fates.

The girls themselves are great, Nygglatho is great, and there’s been plenty other good support characters.

Though I will say I am not entirely sold on the crush Chtholly has for Willem. I love Chtholly, but somehow the whole idea of her actually being in love with Willem doesn’t feel built up properly. Maybe the novel sells that better, but even when she show tries to justify it, it feels a little hollow… yes, even with her little speech at the end of episode six. I still cried from her coming back, though.

That was overall a really heavy episode when it came to dropping stuff on us. And I’m looking forward to more.

Absolutely adorable.

Tsuki ga Kirei

Aka As the Moon, So Beautiful

I have ended up with mixed feelings towards this. Like, it’s still a cute and sweet story about the developing love between Kotarou and Akane, but it has also started making some missteps.

And I’m not talking about those two messing things up. That’s to be expected. They’re awkward and inexperienced. No, it’s in how the show has been handling that stuff.

Up until episode four I was confident in saying this show had the best execution of any show this season. The way it skillfully balanced many tight ropes and dangerous borders. But towards the end of episode four that kinda went out the window a bit as the show fell into tropey area, and became excruciatingly awkward to watch for a few minutes of runtime. I needed several breaks to get through that.

And up until then the show had done a great job of showing that these kids are awkward, without projecting that awkwardness onto me as the audience.

Episode five continued this with awkward scenes that took me a long time to get through. And I decided that if the same was true of episode six, I’d have to put this show on hold as well, just because it was taking too long to get through an episode.

Thankfully episode six handled itself well, and I’m still on board. But I am feeling more wary of this show and what it might do now, as opposed to the total confidence I used to have.

I love Zero.

Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho

Aka Grimoire of Zero 

Another very good show. I absolutely love Zero. Mercenary’s a good character too, even if he can be a bit bone-headed at time. But he and Zero developed a very good dynamic, which just grew stronger with each episode.

Even Albus, the kid, grew to become more tolerable, and even had a few good scenes. The show probably still would have been better without him, but he did serve a purpose.

And then episode six just… this show is fucking evil. I really hope things work out somehow. But that ending and cliffhanger just… EVIL!

Also, Thirteen’s an asshole.

Please just let Zero and Mercenary be happy ;_;

There we go. We’ve managed to narrow things down a bit since the start, thankfully. The list certainly feels more manageable now.

I wonder if anything else is likely to go… I suppose anything could if it suddenly disappointed me greatly. But the most likely candidates would be Frame Arms Girl, Girl Beats Boys, Hinako Note, or Sakura Quest. Maybe I won’t drop any of them, but if I am to drop something, those would probably go first.

It is fun to have a strong season with a lot of variety though, even if it is time-consuming.

Now I’m going to go back to my fiction writing, and I’ll see you all at the end of the season.

~Wulf

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Posted on May 21, 2017, in Cartoons and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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