So anime has been good so far this year. Let’s see if Spring can live up to 2017’s strong start.
Sampling this season’s anime was a bit more taxing than usual, partly because of some real life issues, and partly because it started just when Persona 5 and the US release of Your Name and Kizumonogatari Part 3 came out, which ate up my already limited free time considerably. Not helping at all is that Anime Strike licensed a majority of the anime that are worth watching while Crunchyroll just gave us a bunch of scraps. I don’t really care for the controversies surrounding that company, but if you’re just going to license trash, then I’m going to feel even less sympathy towards you than usual, Crunchy.
So I might be a little more biased than usual with this selection, but it’s not like I didn’t find anime worth watching. Also, some of these shows’ second episodes have aired as of this time of writing, so I’ll be taking them into consideration too.
Boku no Hero Academia 2
Like all Shonen Jump series, after a sort of intriguing start, Boku no Hero Academia has since turned to tired shonen cliches and characterization in order to continue the story. The only difference is that the characters have super powers…oh wait there is no difference. I mean don’t get me wrong, the characters are fine for the most part and the production is generally solid. But the plot won’t appeal to anyone who’s not into the usual shonen formula because it doesn’t do anything we haven’t seen before from an anime action show. I mean a sports tournament? That’s all you have, Academia?
Attack on Titan 2
Attack on Titan 2 feels less like a sequel and more of a mid-quel of the first one given how we’re mostly focusing on the side characters like Sasha and Conny while bringing up questions regarding the Titans that I doubt we’ll ever answer. That’s cool though. It’s not like I’m expecting narrative brilliance from Attack on Titan or anything. I’m just here to see hilariously over-the-top bawlfests and sweet blockbuster-like action, and Attack on Titan 2 is definitely delivering on being a “more please” sequel way more than the Bahamut one is (which I’ll mention later below) while not falling under the same uninspired trappings of Academia. It’s dumb fun at the end of the day, but dumb people can be great at parties sometimes.
Alice & Zoukuro
Remember how I thought Logan and ACCA failed because their idea of genre evolution was just combining a bunch of C-list genres hoping it would create a new A-list one? Well they look inspired compared to Alice & Zoukuro. It’s a sci-fi/slice-of-life/family story revolving around a cute girl and an old man, but every single element is so flat and boring. The car chase scenes suck, there’s no effort put into making the sci-fi element stand out, the characters are stereotypes, and it was an hour-long premiere too, which just made it worse. What exactly is there to this show besides the very temporary novelty? A story about the relationship between an old fart and an annoying brat? Add in a second episode that was just banal slice-of-life antics and I dropped the show fast.
Guys, what is the appeal of watching workplace anime? Yes I like a little reminder that getting a job in this economy is difficult and all, but after a quick second, I’m wondering what else the show has to offer. Because it sure isn’t anything resemblings laughs, tension, good characterization, or anything that keeps my mind awake in Sakura Quest. Oh look, the new girl who resembles Aoi from Shirobako wore a crown when she was a kid. Snore.
Wow this was badly presented. We’ve got yet another time travel story amongst us with Sagrada Reset, and this one seems to think that the best way to convey its tale is to have the characters dryly talk about the concept and their emotions in some of the worst “tell don’t show” I’ve seen in a long time. There’s barely any animation, the characters are dull, and…it’s another time travel story. How many times can you see that concept in one lifetime?
Oh for god’s sakes. Not another Episode 00 where the girls show off skin whilst commentating on the anime industry and how popular their show is despite not having a narrative. People have been telling me that they can relate to Tomoya’s drive, which is why this show ended up being a surprise hit, but I counter by saying that there’s a lack of stakes in regards to him making a visual novel, and I might as well be watching Eroge H Game Blablabla if I wanted to see this sort of premise with a lead named Tomoya, because at least there’s hardcore fucking in that. Some friends have also told me they can relate to this sort of anime fandom. Given how I have zero interest in visual novels or the more popular aspects of geekdom, that doesn’t appeal to me at all either.
But really, does that change the fact that Saekano is not funny, it looks ugly, and there’s no narrative beyond “let’s make a visual novel while subverting some cliches and playing straight many others whilst being self-aware about them”? And while it’s a light novel adaptation, it was written by a visual novel author, and boy does it show. Fucking hate VN writing in anime.
Tsuki ga Kirei
This show isn’t bad so far, but I can’t get a handle on whether it has enough material for a full-length series. I’m not sure if the Hourou Musuko guys are involved with this one despite the similar art style and tone, but if they are, I hope they remember what made Hourou Musuko watchable despite being a low-key slice of life series. What appealed to me about that 2011 noitamina show was how it dealt with transgender issues in a relatively mature way, while Tsuki ga Kirei is dealing with social anxiety and first love(?) in the same matter. However, it needs to go deeper into social anxiety than the first episode showed if it wants to have a future, because right now all it’s doing is saying “well this exists”. Yeah, I know it exists. What are you going to do about it?
So forgettable that I can’t think of anything to say about it.
Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul
While not the worst anime sequel in the world, there’s no escaping how Virgin Soul feels like one of those “more please” sequels that exist solely to make fans happy rather than because they had more story to tell. And it doesn’t help that said story they’re telling is a lame persecution plot regarding how demons are now roaming the world after the Bahamut incident ten years ago, along with the new main character being a blushing moron who makes Maria the Virgin Witch look like Oscar from Rose of Versailles.
It still looks nice and the old characters are…there I guess, but oh god the dialogue in this show. Bahamut has never been good when it comes to talking due to being a blockbuster anime that gets by more on execution than actual substance, so when there’s no sense of adventure and the action is limited, it’s kind of boring. Not that I’m surprised or anything. I mean it’s a sequel to an anime with a definite conclusion. What do you do after that?
Of all the new anime this season, this looks to be the most promising of the bunch. While the premise isn’t really new to anyone who’s watched stuff like the live-action Master of the Universe film or those awful Smurfs movies or whatever, I’ve never seen an anime about anime characters (and I mean specifically “anime”) coming to the real world before aside from maybe a lame comedy that I’ve already forgotten. And I definitely haven’t seen it being treated as seriously as this, even though the show still keeps a light tone at times. Which is fine as long as it sticks to its story the entire time.
Not that Re: Creators is above using generic anime cliches, most of them related to a bunch of female warriors living with a nerdy male dude. However, I’m allowing it here somewhat since there aren’t any distracting jokes coming from it, and it’s being used in service of a tale regarding how people perceive fiction and what said fictional characters would think once they realized they’re products of the human mind, which I’m all for, especially in regards to providing an inward look at the very nature of anime itself. I’m not sure if this combination of the Aldnoah Zero team and the writer of Black Lagoon will actually realize that potential (thank you opening credits for spoiling that for me btw, even if everyone else already has), but I’m definitely excited to see where this goes at the very least. Can’t say that for most of the other shows on here.
Or to be more accurate, Oreimo: Another One. I didn’t look up who made this anime beyond A-1 Pictures beforehand, but when I saw the Crunchyroll image on the video file, I immediately recognized the designs and went “agggggghhhhh!” Yes, it’s the Oreimo team trying to poison the world again with another anime about a little otaku sister. And just like Oreimo, it is total shit. Completely boring. Really creepy. Painfully contrived. I don’t need to say anything else, do I?
Uchouten Kazoku 2
Is it really a surprise at this point what my opinion on Uchouten Kazoku’s return is? I don’t find this show’s humor funny (in fact, I find it intrusive at times), the characters and world-building have no story to support them, and the naturalistic dialogue is wasted because there’s no momentum carrying it. I can understand that stuff carrying a full-on comedy anime, but not a slice-of-life show trying to have a plot. Why I’m supposed to care about this tengu conflict and whatnot alludes me because none of the main characters are personally involved, and the issues with their dead father were cleared up last season meaning there’s not much of a reason to care about them now either. Production values are nice, but you can just insert my complaints about Virgin Soul right here, increase the execution whilst decreasing the substance said execution is going towards, and tada! Stance on Uchouten Kazoku 2’s premiere episode made.
So that’s the Spring season so far. Not too bad all things considered, even if most of the sequels are not really living up to their first installments. Well okay, I also watched Silver Guardian, Bastard Teacher, Clockwork Planet, Kabukiku, and Busou Shoujo Machiavellianism, but let’s not bring down the mood unnecessarily, shall we? Instead, let’s look forward to a future where the world continues to go to shit and these anime are doing their damndest to distract us from that fact.
- I’ll watch Atom: The Beginning when that comes out, but I have severe doubts that it’ll be good.
- How did Bastard Teacher get to be one of the more popular anime of the season anyways?