First Impressions: Spring 2017 Anime

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.

Sakura Quest

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.

Sagrada Reset

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?

Saekano 2

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?

Kado

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?

Re: Creators

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.

eromanga-sensei

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.

Minor Quips

  • 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?

13 responses to “First Impressions: Spring 2017 Anime

  1. Overall, what I watched so far aren’t bad, but nothing looks truly exceptional the way Shouwa Rakugo from last season was. My opinion:

    Alice & Zouroku: I hope the show sticks to slice of life, because the action sucked. 2 episodes in, it seems to be an enjoyable slice-of-life, but nothing more.

    Sakura Quest: Compare to Shirobako’s 1st episode, I find this one better. Granted, I dislike the earlier episodes of Shirobako, so that’s not saying much. Maybe I should pick up Shirobako again. I heard it get better, but the first four episodes put me to sleep.

    Attack on Titan 2 is still the dumb, silly series that I like but will never love. Thankfully the animation seems to be more consistent this time.

    Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul is my favorite so far. It is standard fantasy done well. There aren’t many of those in the first place, so no complain about unoriginality from me. After both Warcraft and The Hobbit ended up being mediocre, Arslan Senki’s terrible animation, Grandblue Fantasy being blander than water, and Game of Thrones basically murder optimistic fantasy; this anime is possibly my sole source of good High Fantasy entertainment this decade.

    I don’t enjoy the first Uchouten Kazoku season much. As a slice of life, it looks good. Sadly, the plot and drama bored me. I read up a few analyses; but none convince me that the anime is as deep and meaningful as people think it is.

    Re: Creators has plenty of potential and the first episode is enjoyable. However, it keeps reminding me of Izetta: The Last Witch and Aldnoah.Zero. Even before the first episode is half over, I already imagined 40 different ways this show might turn to garbage. Now that I think about it, how many original anime that tried to utilize anime cliches for commentary succeeded? Aside from Code Geass and Re:zero (which I I dislike), I can’t think of any right now. Maybe Guilty crown? I don’t like that one either.

    For others like Tsuki ga Kirei and Kado, I’ll wait for a few more episodes.

    • how many original anime that tried to utilize anime cliches for commentary succeeded?

      Concrete Revolutio? I know it’s not the kind of anime cliches you’re referring to, but it does use being “anime” as a main component of the story. If you’re looking for something more general than that, Welcome to the NHK is a bit of a famous example.

      Even before the first episode is half over, I already imagined 40 different ways this show might turn to garbage

      Well I’m not exactly denying that it could go to shit, especially considering the team behind it and nd the two-cour length. Still, I can deal with that when more episodes air. Right now, I’ll just see where this show goes. Sucks it’s on Amazon Strike though.

  2. Maybe I’m a gullible sequel gulper that lacks any critical sense, but I quite enjoyed Bahamut. MAPPA seem to do wonders with the budget they have. God I wish they had done Berserk instead of Millepensee.

    • Nah, lots of people who like the first Bahamut thought the sequel started fun (though not on the same level as when Favaro was first introduced to us of course). Can’t argue too much with them besides say “I don’t like this like they do” because Bahamut is a blockbuster show that uses plot as an excuse for high-energy setpieces. Which were kind of lacking in the premiere, but that’s a different subject entirely.

      And I’m sorry for all you Berserk fans. Although given how many anime MAPPA are doing this year, I wonder if they bit off more than they can chew.

  3. Have to agree with you on My Hero Academia. They finally did something interesting at the end of last season with the school being attacked and now we’re watching a sports carnival. They keep trying to act like the audience should care about the outcome but it’s a school sports competition. Way to backtrack on raising the stakes or interest levels.

    • The school getting attacked was the part where my interest drained personally, because the villains were generic and had no chemistry with any of the students, plus it was just an excuse to show off their powers at the end of the day.

      • But at least it proved there was a reason to care if there were heroes in the world. Prior to that it had just felt pointless to want to be a hero when being a fire fighter would probably have served well enough for most of the threats seen.

    • I mean, they are in school and this is a part of the “festivities”. The villains will come later, but you’d have to be dumb as bricks to not lay low after that initial failure.

  4. Of all the brand new shows now airing, the only one I like so far is Tsuki ga Kirei. Otherwise, I’m pretty much just hanging around for the Natsume Yuujinchou, Shingeki no Bahamut, and Uchouten Kazoku sequels. Given my current schedule IRL though, I don’t mind having a quieter season.

    • I had to take a look at who was behind Tsuki ga Kirei and Wikipedia states it’s Seiji Kishi. Didn’t know the guy could do calming anime, but I guess if Ei Aoki could do the same with Hourou Musuko, why not the guy who gave us Ranpo Kitan?

  5. Hmm. I’m actually getting into Boku no Hero, but I have the benefit of knowing where things are going. I generally don’t mind tournie arcs, either, so long as something comes of them(either from a plot or character standpoint). The main villains being sorta “bland” is actually kind of a plot point, too(as I saw that other comment you made in here). Glad this is a 2 cour season.

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