Thought I wasn’t watching much this season? Well you’re right, but I’m still watching a bit.
Summer 2017 didn’t exactly get off to the best start in terms of keeping anime fans happy. Anime Strike took so many of the high-profile anime hostage that I could literally hear people singing that one Disney song across the Earth’s oceans and over the sound of gunfire in their area. And even when you did get access to them, there hasn’t been a Kobayashi Dragon or an Eromanga Sensei to unite the fanbase this season, whether it be in a positive or negative manner. While there are quite a few shows keeping people happy, I don’t expect many people to count anything from this selection amongst their all-time favorites. And just to put the cherry on top, the two most popular shows of the season (according to Anichart) are Netflix-exclusives. Fuck my ass.
Honestly, I’d be a bit annoyed too if it wasn’t for how I’ve toned down the anime-watching this season. A major reason for that is how very few of the summer shows appeal to me, but I also want time to focus on getting this blog’s reputation out of the “he hates all current anime” mentality people have pigeonholed me into and try catching up to what’s acceptable in the current generation of anime blogging. I was actually pretty unsure if I was ever going to make a post like this since obviously I’m going to have to be mean to what my readers are watching. But y’know, I’m not planning to write in-depth about most of the summer anime until much later and a lot of you guys like to stay in the present, so why not? And just so you know, I’m not going to give attention to the really trash shows I chose not to follow like Hajimete no GAL and Vatican because they’re not worth it, and I don’t like shorts or 4-koma adaptations, so know that I didn’t bother with Tsurezure Children or the like.
Leftovers From Last Season
Sagrada Reset is without a doubt the worst anime I’m watching right now, and certainly a strong candidate for worst anime of the year. The reason I stuck with it is because of how appalled I am that such a horrible anime could possibly exist, so in no way do I recommend anyone try to suffer through this show the way I am. It’s so bad that Anime News Network cancelled their weekly blogging of the show last week, and things did not improve from there. The story is so throwaway, the animation is non-existent, and the characters have less emotions than any of the characters in NieR: Automata – who are supposed to be artificial. Even if the show reveals that these characters are mechanical beings now, it’d be too little too late, nor would it make this tale of a dude saving girls from personal problems any better.
Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul
I don’t dislike Virgin Soul or anything. It’s just so bloated with all the things I didn’t like about Genesis whilst the stuff I do like is too few and far in-between the tedious exposition scenes and Disney-esque characterization. You know, there’s a reason Disney is most successful animation-wise when it comes to their movies Bahamut. Because anything past the 90-minute limit would be overdoing it. The animation and visual-storytelling is still consistently good quality though (with the occasional outsourced hiccups), so I’m not surprised that people are still onboard with the sequel. I just wish the actual story wasn’t so lame.
Caught up to this one over the week. I know it’s a little weird that I’m finishing this whilst having no interest in giving Hanasaku Iroha or Shirobako another shot, but I got motivated to try and finish this one because I want to give attention to how Sakura Quest is an obvious product of trying to cash in on a success without realizing what made the success good. I may not like this genre, but even I can recognize that the characters don’t have much individuality and the drama is so mundane and oblique. Incidentally, Japan seems to agree with me because the sales for this thing are apparently shit. I can understand people relating to these women’s lives, but I don’t see how that can carry you for twenty-five episodes.
Talk about a good concept executed poorly. I really tried to give Ei Aoki and Troyca a break after Fate/Zero and Aldnoah Zero ended up being as engaging to watch as women’s basketball after the participants all got injured in a car accident, but now that they’ve actively made an anime with likable characters and a unique take on fiction and anime tropes completely average, they are officially on my shit list. In addition to the endless exposition and poor pacing of the plot, what I dislike the most about Re: Creators is how you could have made it a live-action series and nothing would change, because the animation is so soulless. I can’t think of one time it was allowed to shine other than during some of the action scenes. And that might be enough if it wasn’t for how the action in this show is kinda shit. Still going to write about this show every week though. At least it still has some interesting things to talk about.
My Hero Academia 2
I fell behind on this one around the time the second arc started because the dubs fell behind for some reason and I prefer watching this show in the English language. Also, it’s not like I’m all that enthusiastic for Hero Academia to begin with. Most people know that Shonen Jump and I don’t really get along, and while Hero Academia is better than most of that magazine’s output thanks to its production values, likable characters, and unique take on superpowers, the story is still going to go on for god knows how long, and I don’t have the patience for that sort of serialized storytelling. Might catch up on it later once it gets dubbed again since I’ve heard the current Hero Killer story is kinda cool. The image I have from that episode makes it seem nice at least.
What I’m Watching
Koi to Uso
Well this show is pretty horrible, isn’t it? It’s popular and definitely looks nice animation-wise (character design, not so much. I mean what is up with those eyes?), but I can tell that not many people are actually enjoying this anime. And really, why should they? The premise is pretty retarded as is, but it’s the way the show handles its love triangle and what it means to be in a relationship that truly irritates me. For some reason, people are comparing this show to Scum’s Wish, but I’m more reminded of Kiznaiver (and to a lesser extent, Mari Okada’s other romance stories) and how it says nothing about teenagers and romance besides “they have feelings”. I’m sorry, but who doesn’t know that romance is all about feelings?
You can throw in all the gay fourth wheels you want, but when none of your characters have interesting philosophies regarding the situation they’re in and your story has less imagination than a two-year old, I don’t see how you expect me to take this solution to Japan’s population crisis all that seriously.
Classroom of the Elite
Also not a good show, but it does try to stand out with its semi-serious take on meritocracy and its twists on anime stereotypes, even if only a small fraction of them are actually executed well. As far as light novel adaptations go, it’s harmless, although it’s a little distracting to go from a Seiji Kishi anime that looked good to a Seiji Kishi anime that looks washed out. But oh man, the execution issues in this show. From a main character who’s secretly perfect to females who are either too mean or too there, I can see where the “watered-down Yahari” comparisons are coming from. C’mon Lerche. I know you can do better than this.
Welcome to the Ballroom
Apparently people were really hyping this anime up to hell before airing, and I even saw promotional material where Welcome to the Ballroom teamed up with Attack on Titan at Anime Expo. And after sitting through three episodes, all I have to ask is “why?”. It’s nothing but every sports anime ever except with ballroom dancing, the characters are either not funny or complete assholes, and the animation is mundane with the occasional visual highlight of sweat and feet bogged down by cost-cutting stills, annoying facial reactions, and weird fanservice-y shit. Also, I’m sorry, but I know that ballroom dancing requires a lot of time to really get into, so how do you expect me to buy that the protagonist can pick it up as quickly as he did without any prior training whatsoever? We’re supposed to relate to the guy, and yet he frequently does actions that make it hard to relate to him.
From what I’ve been told, while the general reaction to this show has been positive, it’s also had a lot of reservations, especially since many fans are comparing Ballroom to Yuri on Ice. Maybe it picks up later, but I don’t know how much of Sengoku’s unfunny behavior and Tatara’s meekness I can handle before the show reaches its full potential, assuming it ever does.
The Reflection: Wave One
I know a lot of people have already decided to hate on this anime due to is murky visual style and obtuse storytelling, but I’m in the minority in that I don’t really have an opinion on The Reflection at all. It was very much a case of “show don’t tell” and while I think I got it, I’m not sure how to feel about what I got. The animation I don’t have much of a problem with because I kinda saw it coming, and I even laughed at how it looked like Aku no Hana’s at various points. And Aku no Hana was a good show. But it was how the animation brought a sense of mundane dread that made it visually engaging, whereas I don’t think The Reflection has that same excuse. Still, while I don’t see this show winning any awards, I’m curious to see how it pans out.
I stopped watching this around Episode 3 because I want to wait for the official Netflix release and not have to deal with the trouble required to watch anime licensed by them online. However, as some of you probably know, I like what I see. It’s style as substance/pure camp so I can’t recommend this show on any narrative basis. However, what I can say is that Jabami tackling on a school full of crazies with her own brand of insanity in games that require actual logic regardless of wheter you cheat or not is fun. And I do like how she’s not invincible, if only because she needs an adjustment period before absolutely owning her opponent. Add in good visuals and direction, and you’ve got my favorite show of the season. Now if only I could watch it legally…
What I Chose To Not Follow Up On
Made in Abyss
You know, with the exception of some of the Digimon seasons, I don’t think I’ve ever liked a single anime series that had children as the main characters. Western cartoons yes. Ghibli films yes. Mai Mai Miracle wasn’t wretched either. But never anime. Hell, I doubt either Pokemon or Digimon would hold up if I ever went back to them now. There’s something about anime doing little children that I find obnoxious/unengaging (Noein, Dennou Coil, Gunslinger Girl, Now and Then Here and There), and I hate it even more when you make them go through harsh shit that they’re not old enough to handle because I’m against violence towards children in all forms, even if there’s a point to it.
Basically, what I’m saying is that while the production is decent, I don’t find Made in Abyss’s characters and their youth engaging, I don’t find the world to be very inviting, and the story…actually what is the story to this show anyways? I know it’s supposed to explore children’s innocence and all, but what’s driving those themes? I didn’t see any hook beyond an Abyss full of mysteries I’m not given a reason to solve and a girl finding a boy who happens to be a robot, which is like beginning Serial Experiments Lain without the suicide to kickstart Lain’s adventure into the Wired (edit: I’ve been informed that the third episode established the hook to be the main girl looking for her lost mother and the robot boy to find his memories. After much deliberation, I decided that wasn’t enough of a reason for me to give this show another shot).
I’ll be honest, I literally forgot this anime existed as soon as I watched the first episode. I remember the main character being a casual gamer who was invited to join a gaming club by one of the most prestigious girls in the school, only to discover that they’re hardcore people who I prefer to watch rather than play with. But otherwise, I just forgot about this anime entirely despite its popularity (probably because it airs on Thursday and I’m usually watching a movie around that time). Think that says enough regarding my own opinion of the show.
It’s kinda hated now, but when the first episode of this show premiered, it got a bit of critical praise. God knows why. That premiere put me to sleep with its unrelatable characters, gimmicky plot (time-traveling samurai? WTF?!), and floaty action scenes. Basically, the usual ufotable/video game anime problems.
Holy fuck this show is boring. Like really really boring. A lot of people have already gone on regarding how the premise of little girls acting as serious spies is hard to swallow, but you could replace these characters with the cast from Ocean’s Eleven and it wouldn’t change things. Why? Because the story itself is a snorefest. Between the technically good but obtuse presentation to how all of the plot points are ripped out of much better spy stories without introducing an semblance of a hook, the entire thing is just boring to watch. It seems to be popular on Anitwitter, but I think that has more to do with the concept of female spies, as people have straight up admitted to me that the plot doesn’t inject life into the spy formula or they’re not familiar with spy stories altogether. In other words, positive points that don’t appeal to me at all.
Shoukoku no Altair
It probably didn’t help that MAPPA had two other frankly more high-profile anime to release this season, but that doesn’t change the fact that Shoukoku no Altair was the definition of mediocre from its very first frame. Uninspired animation. Uninspired characters. Uninspired fantasy tale. Really though, it was the animation that prevented me from watching more. I mean the plot is definitely more complex than MAPPA’s other summer anime, but when the visuals themselves are assuring me it’s not worth following, who am I to argue?
Even by bad noitamina show standards, this is just sad. It’s a Zero-G anime, so obviously the production is going to be abysmal. But even if you didn’t compare this show to Free! and how it spearheaded today’s current fujoshi crowd that Yuri on Ice would later perfect for a reason, I don’t see why anyone would want to watch Dive!!. It’s the epitome of mediocre in every category that visual storytelling is capable of. Mediocre animation. Mediocre characterization. Mediocre drive. Mediocre music. I gain nothing by watching this, something even horrible anime are capable of doing. And if I don’t gain anything by watching Dive!!, then why should I watch Dive!!?
The Ancient Magus’ Bride
Granted this anime isn’t really airing until the Fall season, but I recently saw the three-episode Crunchyrool premiere and want to give it some attention, so I’m talking about it here. And as you can see from the category I put it in, my reaction to the adaptation of this cult manga was a load of “meh”. The humor is godawful, running into that Hiromu Arakawa problem of disrupting the mood and exaggerating it too much by making the characters’ faces all chibi to the point that I wanted to punch the screen for thinking I’d laugh at it. And even if I could ignore it, which is hard because it’s a pretty frequent thing, the storytelling/world-building is too obtuse to get me interested.
I didn’t get the draw of the fantasy world or what it was actually saying about magic, nature, and discrimination besides “it exists”. I couldn’t get into Chise’s character because the show doesn’t make it clear where the discrimination against her comes from or what a Sleigh Beggy is (I’ve since looked it up on Wikipedia and wished they explained that sooner). And throughout three episodes, the characters are mostly being introduced to the setting and how ugly yet beautiful it is in a vein similar to the first Fantastic Beasts film, where any conflict is throwaway and handled without much fuss. In other words, it was using its dark fantasy setting for slice-of-life rather than something with actual momentum. And twenty-four episodes of a young girl living with a big skull man whilst keeping me in the dark about what’s really important isn’t what I want.
Yeah, in addition to watching less than usual, not the greatest selection of shows to keep up with, huh? Honestly, this season reminds me of 2015 when a lot of people thought that Winter and Spring guaranteed it to be one of the best years for anime, only for Summer to put a halt on that train of thought. In fact, Compulsive Gambler is to Summer 2017 what Prison School was to Summer 2015, isn’t it? We’ve still got movies, but we all know those don’t count towards a season’s quality. And while there may not be anything the fandom can declare as spectacular this summer, there are enough solid shows to keep the fans happy, including one that I personally enjoy, even if I can’t actually watch it during this season.
We’ll see how things go once two more months pass, so for now, have fun with these cartoons, guys.