Hello. I am 24 days late, but Happy New Year, everyone. I hope, this year too, you put up with my tardiness and lame posts.
Yeah, I have been gone for a while and there are a bunch of reasons what that is the case. I will, hopefully, at some point finish up those 12 Day posts as well as catch up on the Weekly Shonens, but to ease my way back in, I am gonna type a quick impressions post for this season.
From my limited observations, anime season hype comes in two forms. Either a season is hyped and everyone looks forward to it or a season is downplayed and folk claim it is the worst season since ______. Naturally in the first case, expectations are rarely met and folk end up sad. In the second case, anime (as a collective whole) is never as bad as expected and sometimes it can even be surprisingly good! This current season falls in that second category. Folk weren’t looking forward to it, but whop-de-do, I am having a hell of a lot of fun so far (at a great cost to real productivity mind you).
hmm. I haven’t seen the third episode yet, but I enjoyed the first two. It is rather fun seeing the new kid get bullied by her police seniors. The underwear transformation sequences are kinda funny as well. The characters haven’t really won me over, but they are all reasonably distinct and not generic feeling which is good!
Not a bad anime to watch all things considered. Not sure if I will bother keeping up though as I am going to be rather busy these few months.
Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm
I think I watched like 2 and a half episodes before getting distracted and forgetting about the third. I probably won’t bother continuing this, but it is a pretty harmless watch. Black haired, sleepy girl is very cute (both in her sleepy and genki forms), but the overall “girl discovers sport she is somehow a genius at under the tutelage of some ex-super star guy” is not really my thing. I have already seen Walkure Romanze (admittedly this show is far less classy than Walkure though!).
Boku Dake ga Inai Machi (Erased)
BokuMachi is a contender for second best anime this season. The mystery setup, the initial characterization, the animation, the scene transitions, all of it is fantastic. I really have have no complaints about BokuMachi. It is not entirely my thing given its serious nature, but it has been very gripping thus far. I WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED! I really hope I can finish this anime. I think it deserves that much.
I LOVE THIS. I read a bit of the manga long time back and it was okay, but the anime is so good. It is pretty funny at times and Hotaru’s hyperactive imagination is amazing, and it just flows so well. All of the characters are cool (thus far) and well realized. Saya is very cute and Hotaru is FREAKING HOT. OH MY GOD I HAVE SUCH A BIG CRUSH ON HER.
Do you want me to keep going because I could totally keep going. I spam screenshots so hard when I am watching this show…I have 446 for the second episode alone. Another really cool thing in this show is the relationship between Hotaru and Saya. There is no angry jealousy or drama. In fact, Saya has not once been shown to be jealous of Hotaru despite Saya having a big crush on MC.
I am enjoying Dagashi Kashi a lot! In terms of enjoyment alone, it is up there at #2 or #1 this season, but if I were put aside my Hotaru crush aside for a minute, this would probably still be #3 or #4.
WOAH. I liked the 1st episode, but the second blew me away and the third only further hammered in my already good impression. Fantastic. This is the third best show this season(along with Dagashi, maybe). It looks good. The characters are interesting and the world building has been fantastic thus far. Oh and both the opening and ending are really fantastic. That opening makes me want to dance every time I see it.
Hai to Gensou no Grimgar
When the PV for Grimgar came out, everyone was amazed at how good it looked. People were hesitant about the actual story since it is based on a Light Novel and anime adaptations of LNs tend to be not received well by Anitwitter (or they get lumped into “trash” that only trashy folk like me can enjoy).
Grimgar has thus far definitely delivered on the promised visuals. Those backgrounds are downright stunning and the character designs are amazing. Surprisingly though, barring one or two things, it delivered on the story front as well. Grimgar has thus far been a bit different from what one would expect of “trapped in game world” anime. The characters are weak, incredibly poor and these first few episodes have documented their struggles and small victories.
Perhaps most interestingly, the anime went to extreme lengths to showcase the brutality behind an action as mundane as killing a goblin. Something that seems to have no moral value attached to it in other similar stories was shown be gut wrenchingly brutal for everyone involved. I don’t think I will be forgetting that fight from the second episode any time soon. The year has only just begun, but I doubt there will be many anime scenes that viscerally destructive this year.
I love my “boob jokes” and other “classy” tropes, but they are very much out of place here. Red haired Tarou isn’t badly characterized at all (all of them are surprisingly well characterized), but his speech about Shihoru’s boobs was cringe inducing and not in a good way. It was the same for his attempt at peeping in the bath and the resulting fallout of that. I am not really fond of any of the LN ecchi tropes present here. In the third episode Haruhiro washes his underwear and then notices that the girls are going commando and he starts a monologue about how it is dangerous and bad. Eh, that’s a dumb point to make when you are barely able to survive and have no other choice in the matter. The show sometimes tries to build this barrier between the boys and girls and it feels totally unnecessary. Stuff like that disrupts the otherwise excellent flow of the show.
I do absolutely love the actual good fanservice present in the show! The thighs, butts and pecs are all excellent.
Another thing I have really liked in the second and third episodes are the night conversations between Haruhiro (WHO HAS A FUCKING AMAZING VOICE – THANK YOU BASED HOSOYA) and Manato. These conversations are so good. The two make such good friends.
Actually Haruhiro has meaningful conversations with pretty much everyone, so unlike a lot of other protagonists, he isn’t being characterized by how he beats up monsters, but by the conversations he has with his friends. This characterization through conversation and simple household chores is one of the show’s best assets. Hopefully we will continue to see characterization like this.
I am going to try and stick with Grimgar for as long as I can. I think it is primed to be the 5th or 6th best show this season and that speaks more to the season’s strengths than to Grimgar’s weakness.
Oh and naturally, there is some good shipping to be had here. You could ship Haruhiro with Manato. Haruhiro with Shihoru or Yume and Manato with Shihoru. The show seems to be suggesting that Shihoru x Manato will be canon, but it remains to be seen if Haru x Yume will come about or if we will get a Yume x Manato x Shihoru love triangle (Yume might have unrequited feelings for Manato and I mean I can’t blame her…).
Haruchika: Haruta to Chika wa Seishun Suru
I thought the first episode was pretty decent albeit not terribly exciting. The second was similar in tone, but was kind of stupid and almost patronizing with its mystery. Three quarters through the first episode I was shipping Haru and Chika (I am always shipping, you know), but then the anime revealed that Haru “loved sensei”. The second episode hammered this in and amazingly enough, the anime never insulted him for these feelings, it only reinforced their authenticity. That’s excellent! I really hope it continues to honor that. It would be a real shame and insult if Haru and Chika actually ended up together because Haru realized his feelings were “misplaced”.
I am not sure if I am going to stick with this though because while the sensei love triangle is interesting, the rest is kinda a chore to work through. It is a mostly harmless watch though, so maybe I will watch an episode on a rainy day if I have got nothing better to do.
Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!
In a season full of surprises, KonoSuba was perhaps the biggest surprise of all. Between Grimgar and KonoSuba, it looks like the anime industry got tired of overbearingly strong players and decided to give us a bunch of incompetent losers who can barely beat anything. Well, technically neither of the two are actually set in a game world, but it is effectively the same thing.
I could talk about how KonoSuba “subverts” the “trapped in a game” genre and makes fun of it or how it continues to betray our expectations, but really at its heart, KonoSuba is downright hilarious. The first two episodes made me laugh out real loud especially the very first one. Oh and KonoSuba has many lovely faces.
The off model character faces are very appropriate but something about the general visual look feels off to me. Not sure what though. All in all though this is a very charming show.
I wish Grimgar would learn a few lessons from KonoSuba. In KonoSuba a boy and a girl literally share a bed (which happens to be a bundle of hay) and KonoSuba does not make perverted jokes out of their living situation. It has a few fanservicy shots (which are A-OK), but the guy never has any “THIS IS A DANGEROUS LIVING SITUATION!” thoughts and he instead just complains frequently about the incompetence of his companions. Trust me, the show is definitely better for it.
Luck & Logic
Luck & Logic has a cool premise and a setting with decent potential, but it hasn’t totally delivered. I enjoyed the first episode for the silly thing that it was, but the second didn’t totally grip me and the third was half sorta good. I did find it very amusing that the show built up that Olga guy as some kind of terrible villain whom the organization keeps many secrets about, but it turned out everyone was just pitying him because he hasn’t yet found a god (HE IS A LOGICALIST BUT NOT A LOGICALIST- LMAO).
The show as a whole is ridiculously chuuni, but I think it understands that, or at least I hope it does and just rolls with it. (For a possibly better example of just rolling with the chuuni, please see Active Raid). Some of the teamwork stuff is pretty good too. The main character is strong, but his role is primarily defensive, so he doesn’t actually hog the spotlight all that much.
Some of the stuff in Luck & Logic is a bit stupid like its take on morality in the third episode with the girl finally deciding to “kill” the paranormal thing. I mean, the question itself is valid in this context because you have a villainous thing hurting people, but the villainous thing is controlling a humans, so I guess “killing” refers to killing the human? Or maybe just to the thing because they showed that these foreigners can be captured and caged and I guess tranced with maybe (implied by Olga asking monsters to trance with him or Lucifer at the end of episode 3). I don’t know. The show’s logic is weird.
Apart from the silly bits, I am watching this for the Athena x MC relationship. Athena is very cute and the two like kiss and stuff to transform! I hope they get married and do lewd things like holding hands. Oops, getting ahead of myself there.
Oh and one final disappointment is that the opening scene with the Indian God super trance thing was a bit of a lie. I got rather excited seeing dark skinned MC since that was a cool look, but sadly that God seems to have died or something, so we can’t get multi-armed brown boy beating up bad guys. 😦
Musaigen no Phantom World
I am really sorry. I shouldn’t unload you guys with dweeb politics, but I am about to. If you’d rather not read said nonsense, just skip on ahead.
I can’t remember who it was, but someone once said “animebloggers can’t make a post about a KyoAni show without mentioning KyoAni”. This is true and even more so on Anitwitter.
In general, it is not a good idea to make a big deal out of the studio behind a given anime because a large amount of studios outsource staff anyway. Talking about the staff behind a given production generally yields better insight into its expected quality. And well, there are so many factors involved in making anime, studios alone are rarely the sole culprit behind a bad anime. That said, Kyoto Animation is a bit of an exception since they have a very regular staff and apparently have a fair bit of creative control over their output.
This difference, combined with a bunch of recent good shows, has created a bit of a KyoAni cult in my part of the twittersphere. The cult, for the most part, isn’t a bad thing. It is good that folk find media they can enjoy and gush over together! (Full Disclosure: I am a big fan of most KyoAni productions!)
The problem comes when KyoAni puts out something that doesn’t fit in with people’s vision of a KyoAni show. I think some folk are still upset Amagi Brilliant Park exists and currently many more are mad over Musaigen no Phantom World.
Had Phantom been made by some other studio, many wouldn’t throw so much mud at it. But no, it happens to be made be made by everyone’s favorite studio! And it differs greatly from it’s predecessor (Hibike Euphonium!) and thus, we must whine. There are a bunch of reasons why I am not fond of this.
A Matter of Taste
It might surprise you to know, but some of us actually prefer well made goofy anime over serious character drama. I really respected the 8 or so episodes of Hibike that I watched and consider it to be a fantastic character drama, but I won’t hesitate to acknowledge that slightly over the top shows like AmaBuri or Phantom are more my cup of tea. Expecting a studio to cater just to your taste is silly!
KyoAni is not going away or changing for the worse
Most people probably already know this, but I will emphasize it anyway: “Good” KyoAni productions are not going away. We are getting a Hibike Euphonium movie and a second season. On top of that, they are making a Koe no Katachi film! One “bad” anime from them this season isn’t the end of the world. Even if you don’t like Phantom, there are lots of other good anime you can watch this season.
You can’t expect artists you like to only produce things you like or want them to.
This is probably my biggest complaint. For all we know, the folk behind Phantom might have wanted to make it! Maybe they were tired of the usual stuff? Maybe they wanted to try something different. Or maybe they just wanted some money. Either way, you really shouldn’t get so vocally upset because the studio made something you aren’t fond of. You don’t have to like the anime of course, but insisting said anime shouldn’t exist because “the studio is normally better than this” is silly.
Okay, that is all I should say for now. Sorry about that.
Now, for the anime itself! I very much enjoyed the first episode. The first episode was one of my favorite episodes this season, actually. The second was pretty good and the third was surprisingly melancholy and kind of touching. I do like the world and some of the philosophical questions Phantom tries to ask, but I mostly just like some of the goofy things the show does (like the limbo scene). I will admit though that the Phantom is rather lacking in OOMPH. It feels like it gets close to being lots of fun, but doesn’t quite hit it. I hope it gets a bit better, but as it stands, it is a nice easy watch.
Norn9: Norn + Nonet
nhm. Norn9 is interesting….
Visually, I love the backgrounds, but for some reason, the foreground feels blurry? It feels jarring for some reason. The character designs are passable at best.
The setting is very cool. It is an advanced floating Sci-Fi city with a small number of children, but technically the story is set in the past. And it looks like we have got some time travel going on as well. The children all have special powers and contrary to initial impressions, this isn’t a reverse harem (main girl is only really interacting with one guy).
There is some big mystery about their parent organization, the final destination of their ship, the characters have seemingly tragic pasts and of course, there are some ambiguous villains. All of this was shown or implied in the first two episodes….talk about ambitious! Norn9, surprisingly enough, is actually able to combine all of these story elements into a mostly coherent story. I was impressed.
Sadly, I felt the pacing was kinda of and the two main characters are not really all that interesting. The girl especially is a bit boring to listen to. Still, I give Norn9 maximum credit for being ambitious and fairly different. Not sure how many episodes I will watch though!
Reikenzan Hoshikuzu-tachi no Utage
Okay, this one totally slipped under my radar. People didn’t really seem to be talking about it, so I never bothered checking it out. I think part of it is because neither Crunchy nor Funi are streaming this, so you gotta go old school and actually rely on fansubs to watch Reikenzan…and from what I have seen, the fansubs aren’t particularly well edited (to the extent that I had difficulty understanding the actual story), but I do appreciate the hard work put into making them! Thanks. 🙂
Anyway, back to the anime at hand. I was surprised. Surprised that this anime was not a short (expected that from the file size) and that more importantly I actually enjoyed it. Reikenzan is dumb. There is little question of that, but it is totally my brand of dumb. The gist of the anime is that the main character goes to a town and partakes in a test thing to join some kind of warrior clan. It is basically Hunter x Hunter…Worrying about exact plot details shouldn’t be your top priority here.
I think the main reason I can enjoy this and why many would probably just go “HUH?” or “WTF?” is that I have some experience reading Chinese Manhua. I believe (and I could be wrong about this), but the anime is an adaptation of a Chinese Web comic called 从前有座灵剑山. That’s really cool! It is pretty unusual to get anything outside of Japan turned into an anime in Japan and a trend I expect to see more of given the popularity some Chinese and Koren comics enjoy on the web.
Going by my very limited experience with Manhua (mostly the hilariously stupid and thus amazing Doupo Cangqiong), modern fantasy Chinese LN style tales are very different from their JP counterparts. The main character tends to be more full of himself and the stories are less about his struggles or harem antics and a bit more about running/punching your way to the top. Or something. They are interesting if you can get into them!
I rather like the main dude of Reikenzan. I have a thing for narcissists and folk who are full of themselves and he delivers. Interestingly enough, he can backup his plans and schemes with actual success! But of course, he is some chosen, prophetic thing, so, that is to be expected.
Potential romance between very attractive people was one of the things I liked in Doupo (I am currently a few chapters behind) and it looks like we will get some of that in Reikenzan as well! The only problem is that the canonical pair (as suggested by the OP) is a bit strange because the lady is probably close to 20 and MC is currently 12 years old….(SURE DOESN’T LOOK IT THOUGH). I am assuming there will be a timeskip soon.
All in all, I am looking forward to more Reikenzan! This is my kind of story with overpowered, scheming main characters and possible ships. I don’t think it is for everyone, but do try it and try not to get too bogged down by its silliness. (Warning: I implied this earlier, but the fansubs aren’t so good.) Oh and it has some excellent faces!
Saijaku Muhai no Bahamut
This might end up the “classy” watch of the season, though it isn’t really all that classy. Bahamut (not to be confused with the excellent Shingeki no bahamut) is about a boy who was probably an overpowered hero in the past and is now attending a seemingly all girls magical mecha school. Of course, the boy’s first encounter with the girls is by him falling into a ladies bath. Of course, the main girl is a tsundere Princess who happens to be crumbling under the expectations set for her. Of course MC wins a fight that they hold because he fell in the bath. Okay, well, it was a tie as befitting his title of the unbeatable weakest.
nhm, I don’t really have anything else to say, but Bahamut is palatable at least. It is not terribly exciting (at the moment), but it doesn’t offend or upset me. And looking at screencaps of the first episode, I think parts of it have pretty nice visual direction actually.
Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu
It is hard of me to admit this, but it feels like Shoujo-tachi has already begun its descent. I really liked the first episode for a bunch of different reasons. Most of the cast was likable. Black haired main girl is hot and totally shippable with MC and MC himself was totally rad. He didn’t have any embarrassing blunders, but actually came across as a very competent young man with a good head on his shoulders!
Sadly, MC’es “radness” degraded a bit over the following two episodes and the drama/fighting over why games need to be made (fun or money) was unnecessary and boring! The resolution with YURI BL was pretty great though. Red megane clearly has the most likable personality, but it pains me to admit black hair’s design is more my type.
I also ended up a bit dissapointed with the romance. In the first episode, there was literally nothing between Yuka and MC. In fact, she even cracked a few “you are going on a date” jokes and encouraged MC to go on dates. Naturally, I shipped her with Atomu (the other boy). I figured the two made a good pair! Then the third episode came along and revealed that Yuka has budding feelings for Bunta.
NOOOOOOOOO! I didn’t want a love triangle! The two worked so well as friends. Why can’t you see that! I just wanted two independent couples…..is that so much to ask for…..CRIES …..(alternatively Yuka could be in love with Kuroda, but I doubt that’s the case and even if it were, it would still be a love triangle….)
Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
I can’t remember in which post he said it, but Scamp once said that folk who were watching Mushishi as it aired knew they were watching a future classic. I feel that way about Rakugo. These first three episodes have been some of the best three opening episodes I have seen in anime (at least in recent times).
Rakugo is just so well made. It draws you into the world of Rakugo and it is very much a world I have no experience or former interest in. Rakugo has been a real lovely experience thus far. Like, I honestly can’t pick apart any bit of it and to be honest, I don’t even want to try. Everything from how the characters are unique and interesting to the dynamics between them, to the visual and audio story telling style, it has all been spot on.
The first episode was a lovely premiere that was masterfully told, but man, the third episode. The third episode was just so good. Please read Samu’s comprehensive take on it. And for some great background info on Rakugo and culture, do read Illogicalzen’s post (his post for the second episode is also fantastic!).
Nijiiro Days (Rainbow Days)
I am a massive fan on the Nijiiro Days manga. It is in my good shipping manga post for a good reason! The anime though….feels a bit lifeless. I mean I love these cute boys, but their character designs feel uninspired here and the visuals as a whole feel like a let down. Maybe I am just being too harsh because I have been spoiled by the manga’s excellent art and general flow.
Ideally, I’d have wanted a Nijiiro Days that was full length and with visual direction similar to Ookami-Shoujo or some other well done shoujo. I will keep watching this of course, but I will probably also keep being grumpy about it because I am one of those annoying manga people. Grumble. Grumble. At least Spit girl came out real cute.
Ojisan to Marshmallow
OMG. Shipping! And between a THIRSTY AS HELL office lady and a super huggable middle-aged man. This is sweet!
I watched the first episode and actually didn’t hate. it I thought it was kinda cool how these cute anime girls kept talking about very TMI topics like pooping. Good reversal of expectations. I haven’t really bothered to see any more of it though…
If I were to devise a litmus test for who can be my friend, it would probably involve Sekkou Boys in some way. This show is hilarious and amazing. No really. Go watch it. These “rockies” are the best. This is one idol show I can totally support. Forget those actual idol shows! SEKKOU BOYS ARE THE BEST IDOLS AND THE ONLY ONES YOU NEED.
In case you are curious, this is the first APR I sent in:
- Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju
- Dagashi Kashi
- Dimension W
Erased, Dagashi Kashi and Dimension W are all pretty close in my eyes and my opinion on which I like the most probably varies by the horu. Right after Konosuba would be Phantom and Grimgar though these three are also very close. I am not going to bother ranking beyond that, but I am enjoying a lot of stuff this season! Yay. I hope I actually finish stuff though. I barely finished anything last year.