Anime Spring Season 2017 – Early Impressions – Part 1

[Segmented Version, page 1 of 3 – A to F]

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.

[Continued in Part 2]

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