Anime Spring Season 2017 – Final Thoughts

Somehow we have reached the end of another anime season, and the next one has already begun. I guess I’ll have to start on that soon after I’m done writing this.

This has been a pretty strong season, I feel. Though not everything panned out as well as it might have. There were several instances of missed potential, and lacking execution. But even among those there were often some decent results anyway. Like a sense of “this is quite good, but it could have been great if not for [X]”, you know?

I’ve been keeping up with my fiction writing, as you can tell by my messy blog, and consequently I’ve fallen behind on anime several times. Which has caused me to cut a few things I maybe wouldn’t have normally. Anything that was no longer sufficiently exciting me had to go. I just don’t have the same amount of time, and I’m hoping Summer Season won’t have too many good shows.

You can as always check out my early impressions, and my mid-season update.

I sadly don’t have anything more to report from the archive. I’ve not been able to find both the time and energy at the same time to watch more Symphogear, so let’s just move on.

Dropped Shows

Anything I put on hold mid-season has not been picked back up, so you can consider Royal Tutor, and Bahamut: Virgin Soul, as dropped.

Probably fine.

Cinderella Girls Gekijou

Aka The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls Theater

With the exception of a few episodes this just wasn’t very good. I might have kept watching anyway due to its shortness, but the amount of producer-worship tipped me towards “I could just not watch it and probably be happier”.

Too much pink power.

Kenka Banchou Otome – Girl Beats Boys

The more this leaned into the dating sim stuff, the less interested I became. In the end I just decided it was 10 minutes better saved.

Spooky book.

Sekai no Yami Zukan

Aka The World YAMIZUKAN

There were really only one or two stories that were worthwhile, and a couple who were REALLY bad. So on the whole, I decided it wasn’t even worth a couple of minutes a week.

Ongoing Shows

Kirakira Precure is still ongoing, but I still haven’t watched anything since episode 12, so I don’t have any new thoughts. I’ll catch up with it later.

Well, damn.

Re: Creators

This has shown itself to be a very good show. I’m interested to see what the second cour will bring. Also who it will bring.

The first half had its share of surprises and twists, along with great action scenes, and excellent character bits: including exposition, conversations, and just general interactions. I don’t really want to go into that many specifics, because a lot of the enjoyment of this show comes from seeing for yourself how it plays out.

It doesn’t heavily rely on tropes, though it does play with them. Considering it’s a story about stories, that much is to be expected. “When fiction meets reality” isn’t an entirely new concept, but they execute it very well.

Also, Mamika and Meteora are best girls.

Cute, but strange.

Sakura Quest

This one I am less enthusiastic about. It’s a show with plenty of good characters and good scenes, but also enough dull or even bad scenes to make it a hit and miss experience. It is solid enough that I’ve kept with it so far, but I am not certain if I’ll hang around for the whole second cour. Depends on how much good new stuff I find.

Seeing how the main cast have grown through their interactions and experiences does carry with it a certain satisfaction, and those are definitely the strongest parts of the show. Unfortunately there is also a lot of not-great wrapping and filling that comes along with that. If you’re lucky it’s just bland. If you’re not…

The main reason I’m still sticking with it is the main cast. I especially like Ririko and Shiori.

Completed Shows

Curious and cute.

Alice to Zouroku

Aka Alice & Zouroku

Concluded at 12 episodes.

After a hectic first half of the season, the second half settled into a more relaxed pace. The core of the story being about Sana learning about what it’s like to live as a human, have a family, and make friends. She is so proud of everything she accomplishes and learns, and it’s absolutely adorable.

The powers aren’t entirely left out of it, but it’s clear they’re a secondary matter. The main concern is seeing how life plays out for these kids. And the Sana/Sanae scenes remained an absolute delight.

Stuff happens towards the end, because of course we need some sort of climax for a finale, though it might not play out as you expect. Without spoilers I will just say that there will be some permanent changes to the world, and people speculate on whether it will be for better or worse. Then one of the characters comments “so long as the kids are happy, it’s a good world”. Which I feel neatly sums up the attitude of this show.

It’s sweet and heartfelt, with some interesting supernatural elements that aren’t overplayed. One of my top recommendations from this season.

Ao and Gourai are good.

Frame Arms Girl

Concluded at 12 episodes.

I can’t believe Ao married her robot girlfriend.

After a bit of a rocky start, this show really ended up going strong.

While it is about small robot girls who battle in simulated arenas, the actual battle aspect is almost like an afterthought most of the time. The show is far more interested in these little weirdos going on all sorts of adventures, or pondering stuff they think are weird human customs. There’s even a whole chapter (each episode is typically two chapters) dedicated to a fever dream Ao has. It’s amazing.

It does have a fair amount of fan-service, if that’s a problem for you. The show is very interested in the tiny ro-butts, and the Materias are a class all unto themselves. They even figure out how to do a hot springs chapter, even if it makes very little sense.

As the cast has grown larger, the amount of “Baselard pls” has decreased, but it’s still an ever-present factor. And Architect remains the only competent one for the whole run.

Possibly the biggest surprise of the season, depending on how you classify such things. I still can’t believe they actually let Ao marry her tiny robot girlfriend though.

Reminds me of Lucky Star a bit.

Hinako Note

Concluded at 12 episodes.

Easily the horniest show of the season, and unfortunately had a tendency to push that too far every now and again. I wouldn’t say it was always tasteful.

Speaking of, Kuina seemed really interested in excuses to get to bite Hinako. Like, this is far hornier than I’m used to from moe shows.

But it’s also kinda fun? Maybe I’m just that shameless, but with a few exceptions, I enjoyed it a lot. Hinako had great chemistry with Yua and Kuina, and Mayu and Chiaki were confirmed a couple very early on. You know how weak I am to cute yuri.

Though since Mayu/Chiaki was confirmed, I feel like they should have dropped Yua’s extensive crush on Chiaki. Yua worked much better with Hinako. Yes, Hinako also worked well with Kuina, but why couldn’t she have both? I still enjoyed all the “here’s a treat for you shippers” moments. But in the end Hinako didn’t kiss Yua or Kuina, which was disappointing.

So with that all said, I’m not sure I can give it any sort of definitive recommendation. There are cute girls doing cute things with each other, and LOADS of fan-service. So if that’s your thing, have at it. If that is not your thing, then probably best to give it a pass.

Enjoyable sci-fi romp.

ID-0

Concluded at 12 episodes.

This is such enjoyable, fun sci-fi, and I enjoyed it a lot. Interesting to see how it takes inspiration from Firefly and Homeworld in certain respects, or at least I assume it does.

I still feel like it’s probably the easiest watch of the season. A great show to binge without it tiring you out much. Good characters, interesting technology, fun action, and it’s all very engrossing. I live-tweet all the anime I watch, but for this one I often get so lost in just watching what’s happening that I’ll forget.

Even though it’s one of my favourites from this season, I don’t have a lot to say about it. It’s not very deep. Just very entertaining. The kind of show it feels like they just don’t make any longer. If you can find it, I highly recommend checking it out.

Quite interesting.

Seikaisuru Kado

Aka KADO: The Right Answer

Concluded at 12 episodes.

What the hell happened to this show? Sorry, but I am going to have to bring up spoilers for the final episode in order to properly lay this mess out.

All the stuff I previously said about this being a high-concept sci-fi story is only true up to a point. That point being when zaShunina’s evil plan is revealed in episode 8 or 9. I don’t exactly remember. Just suddenly he turns into a super-villain with a diabolical plan that will destroy humanity. I am not even entirely sure whether that was his plan all along, or if it came about after he ended up becoming “too human”. Just like… ???

Now suddenly it’s a story celebrating how great humanity is, and how they have to stop zaShunina’s evil plot in order to retain humanity’s purity. I think? And then the final episode just goes full-on anime, so hold on to your butts: It’s spoiler time.

Shindo has determined that the only way to stop zaShunina is to surprise him. So they have this face-off where Shindo talks about how zaShunina is his friend, and that’s why he has to stop him. Because this isn’t the titular “right answer”, and they both know it. zaShunina has this little moment where he talks about how he can’t force Shindo into the anisotropic universe, because that would destroy his heart, and zaShunina doesn’t want that to happen. Then he literally pulls Shindo’s heart out of his chest. ???

And then, I shit you not, a 16-year-old girl in a school uniform who’s even more super-powered than zaShunina shows up. They found a way to include that! That’s the surprise! She’s also a kuudere and the daughter of Shindo and Saraka (who’s also an anisotropic being), and she was hastily aged through time-manipulation. I swear I am not making any of this up. Heck, I’m having to leave some stuff out because it would just take too long.

Anyway she wipes out zaShunina, the world is saved, and she fucks off. Leaving her father dead, and her mother behind without saying a single word about where she’s going. What the HELL happened to this show?

If you want to see a high-concept sci-fi show that pays off, this is not it. If you want to experience just how messy it gets, then by all means.

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?

Concluded at 12 episodes.

After a really strong start, this show wasn’t entirely able to keep it up. It’s not a bad show, far from it. It’s the “quite good, but could have been great” type, if you know what I mean.

The big problem was how much it leaned on the idea of a Willem/Chtholly romance. I am probably more harsh on het romance than most people, so I feel it has to be earned. There are two shows this season that earn their het pairings through displaying a good chemistry, demonstrable attraction, and believable romance. SukaSuka is not one of them. It did not earn it.

I will grant it one thing: In the final couple of episodes I did finally feel like I could believe that Willem and Chtholly were two people who had found a measure of salvation and happiness in each other. I still don’t equate that with them having a believable romantic attraction.

So by focusing so much on their relationship instead of the much more interesting relationship of Willem as a caretaker and father figure for these girls, I feel it fell short of its potential. It’s still good, and I can probably give it a general recommendation if you’re into character-driven stories with some action bits. I still give the author props for making Willem an actual character, as that is far too rare in male-MC stories. But I can so easily imagine it being even better.

Absolutely adorable.

Tsuki ga Kirei

Aka As the Moon, So Beautiful

Concluded at 12 episodes.

I am happy to report that my worries about this show were largely unfounded. There were still a few really awkward scenes during the second half of the season too, but overall it was a really good, sweet story about first love.

The portrayal of two dorks in love with no idea what they were doing was both refreshing and satisfying. This is the first of the two aforementioned shows where the boy-girl romance actually felt earned. There’s a clear connection between the two leads from the very start, and they are incredibly cute and dorky together. And they have to deal with friends and family making things awkward for them, along with screwing up in several ways themselves. Simply because they don’t know better.

It tries to be grounded enough in realism that not everything always works out for the two of them. It even turns out they both have another person interested in them, and they have to deal with that when it’s revealed. But they stick with it. Slight spoiler: In case you’re worried, there is a happy ending.

So if you want a sweet love story about two dorks, this is probably the best het one since Ore Monogatari. And it’s far more grounded.

I love Zero.

Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho

Aka Grimoire of Zero 

Concluded at 12 episodes.

And here we have my favourite show of the season. Zero is so good. She’s excellent.

It’s kinda weird to me that this is not an original show. It’s based on a light novel. And you really could have fooled me, because it seems so perfectly made to fit into one season of 12 episodes. It’s like it was expressly made for that purpose. There is so little wasted here, almost no filler or pointless scenes, and the pacing is excellent. I can’t even imagine how they pulled that off.

Now the side/background characters are not given a lot of attention. But for the main five I was also amazed at how much sense their motivations made. As things were gradually revealed, I typically just went “oh yeah, that makes sense”. There are exceptions. Like I still don’t entirely get why Holdem was keeping three women enslaved when he was introduced. So I guess I can’t say it’s perfect. Except Zero. Zero is perfect.

This is also the second show I’ve seen this year where the main character ends up marrying her cat. Which is a weird thing to have in common with Kemono Friends. And this is the second show of the season where I feel a romantic connection between the two leads is earned. The two display undeniable chemistry, and while it wasn’t initially set up as romantic, it became something I could easily believe might turn romantic.

Very solid fantasy action show, with great characters. Highly recommended.

Bonus

Cute lesbian devs.

New Game!: Watashi, Shain Ryokou tte Hajimete nano de…

Aka New Game! OVA: My First Time on a Company Vacation…

Gaaahhhh, so cute! The OVA, or episode 13 if you will, of New Game S1 is just… it’s glorious. I loved it so much. The shipper in me was so happy for lots of good Hifumi/Aoba, and Kou/Rin moments. I feel like I’m gonna die of cute just thinking about it. It’s so precious.

It’s all so adorable, and Aoba is so great (there’s more devil-Aoba too!), and I just can’t contain my excitement for this show. I really hope S2 is going to be amazing.

Though honestly it could just give me loads more Hifumi/Aoba, and I wouldn’t complain about a thing. Have the girls kiss, please! Or I guess I’ll just have to write more fanfics… that will probably happen anyway.

This turned into an interesting, but hectic season. I’m still in catch-up mode regarding certain things, so I’m hoping Summer season won’t have too many good shows, to be honest.

I don’t know a lot about what’s coming. I’ve heard a few things, but otherwise it should be interesting to see. I’ll be back with my first impressions in a couple of weeks, probably. Depends on whether the release schedule is as strange as for Spring or not.

~Wulf

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Posted on July 5, 2017, in Cartoons and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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