Whew, that took a little longer than expected. And it didn’t help much, either, that Splatoon 2 came out last Friday, so I spent most of the weekend getting my ass served to me. I never played the first Splatoon, but damn is this game stubbornly addicting.
But yeah, I’ve had to “battle” my way through the remnants of Spring 2017, and finally I’ve been able to make it through in once piece. I’m not sure if it’s because of the gap in viewing that my take on these shows has been tamed, somewhat, but my overall impression of Spring 2017 is just not very good. I mean, sure I enjoyed most of them, but in the greater scheme of things, I think many of these titles are titles I’m gonna forget. And another reason for this is because I’ve actually been rewatching several of my favorite shows with my room mates during my hiatus (yes, I cheated), which I’m planning on sharing in a separate editorial post.
So if you’re not already head-deep in Summer 2017, come join me as we run down just what kind of beast Spring 2017 was in this late end season run down. LET’S DO THIS!!
#14 – Sword Oratoria: Is it Wrong to Try Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?
A blatant attempt at milking the cash cow that is the Dan Machi series, which is fine if you’re willing to buy into it, but amazingly lacks any sense of charm or merit to justify any extended viewing. Final rating (dropped): 3/10
#13 – Fukumenkei Noise
A noisy, clumsy exercise of a youth teen drama that is plagued by excessive dramatization of its characters to the point that I’m just too annoyed to even care about any of them anymore. At least the music is nice. Final rating (dropped): 5/10
#12 – Alice and Zôroku
I think had I had the leisure of time to see this series through to the end, I might have had something more substantial to say about it; however, whatever I got from its first 8 episodes seemed a poor argument to justify any extended viewing. I honestly felt like there was something interesting about this series, and true, its characters do have a certain charm to them, the dramatic tension lent to it by its sci-fi premise is lost in the shows overall ability to appeal to its familial slice-of-life intentions. An honest attempt, but quite frankly it’s just that: an attempt. Final rating (dropped): 5.5/10
#11 – Granblue Fantasy
To be honest, there’s nothing really wrong with this show, but from the perspective of an outsider of the series, there’s nothing that really sells me on the franchise as a whole. There’s a larger debate surrounding the adaptation of video games into anime, in general, but I guess this is a prime example of simply doing the bare minimum necessary to get plot on screen. Granted the visuals are great, that makes for nothing more than a spectacle: beautiful, but ever so evanescent and easily forgettable. Final rating (dropped): 6/10
#10 – Eromanga Sensei
What the hell? I thought you said this was refuse that needed to be flushed down the toilet. You’re a friggin’ closet lolicon! Well, to a certain extent I disagree with how this show forwards the “little sister incest card”, and its underlying intention of seeking acceptance with kindred spirits is undermined by its own fixation on depictions of the sexually charged — but hey, it was fun. At the very least, Eromanga Sensei knows how to be silly and yet keep its characters charming. Although this show is riddled with anime tropes, it at least does the whole thing justice by executing it with reasonably good comedy and outstanding animation. Do you need to watch this? No, definitely not. Do you need to flush this down the toilet? Yes, you can try, but it’ll resurface like the shiny turd it is. Final rating: 6.5/10
#9 – Shûmatsu Nani Shiteimasu Ka? Isogashî Desu Ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii Desu Ka?
I honestly went into Suka Suka not expecting an in-your-face romance story, but I appreciate its effort at creating a heart-wrenching story about salvation through sacrifice and the overarching motivation that is love. Dramatic tragedies are always hard to sell on screen without seeming a little heavy-handed, and to a certain extent Suka Suka did just that, but at least it did so with style. Now if only the story wasn’t so convoluted and was a bit more consistent in its character sketches, it probably would’ve been much better. Still, this is likely to be a pretty polarizing title for some. Almost great, but ever so slightly falling just a bit short. Final rating: 7/10
#8 – Attack on Titan (Season 2)
Surprisingly, I became a bit more invested in the characters now that the focus has been shifted to character pairings like Historia and Ymir, and Reinhart and Bertholt. The same can’t be said for Eren and Mikasa, but those two have always been hard sells for me since the beginning. And it’s also a bit satisfying to finally know more about the titans, but again this falls upon the series’ general lack of conveying meaningful information beyond that shrieks and blood showers. This is a spectacle first and foremost, so in terms of that, Attack on Titan definitely excels. But it’s not like I’m counting on Araki to iron out the wrinkles in his general ability to convey a narrative properly — that would be simply asking for too much. Final rating: 7/10
#7 – Re:CREATORS
This show has been a veritable roller-coster ride for me with its over-reliance on narrative progression through contrived dialogue exchanges, to its intriguing introspection into the creative process. The latter half of the first cour, thankfully, revived my interest in the series’ direction with the dialogues being much more engaging and less “technobabble-like”. I think there needs to be a balance between the ramblings of Meteora (although I love her to bits after that creative mid-season recap episode) and the exposition of other characters like Magane. I also had a bit of issue with the pacing of Sôta’s backstory, which seemed a bit patronizing as a viewer since the foreshadowing was so early on in the show (it was the first scene for crying out loud) it felt more annoying than gratifying to finally get the story out of him come the end of the first cour. Oh well, love-hate relationships with shows are a good sign that they can actually engage with viewers on a deeper level, which as far as this show is concerned, is fully capable of achieving. On-going rating: 7.5/10
#6 – Sakura Quest
I was a bit wary entering Sakura Quest knowing full well that P.A. Works was essentially creating the country-sticks version of Shirobako. But instead of uninspired character templates being transplanted into generic cookie-cutter shells, what we got was a charming story about five girls attempting change in the stubborn bureaucracy that is tradition and generation. It’s an interesting sort of meta-dialogue that permeates the series and makes it relatable on several levels beyond that of Shirobako, which was limited to some extent in the societal mechanisms of the workforce. But Sakura Quest is freed of such limitations and is allowed to explore the greater mechanism of human interaction, the sort of conflicts that arise from butting horns and clashing ideals, and the pleasing resolution when we don’t compromise our values for the sake of everyone’s benefit. Now I’m not saying Sakura Quest is better than Shirobako — this show has a lot of work to do if it wants to achieve that — but at the very least, it isn’t a pushover that can be relegated to the side. This show has grown on me pretty much, and I’m more than excited to see what more these girls have in store this coming cour. On-going rating: 7.5/10
#5 – KADO: The Right Answer
We were all kinda expecting ZaShunina to be some kinda douchebag, but boy, how I wasn’t expecting that twist. It’s kinda weird, but ignore the pitch from left field and the story ends on a reasonably good note. There’s a whole lot of fluff stuffed in mystical McGuffins rather than overt exposition, but we’re talking about upper dimensional orders here, so when you put it that way, anything is pretty much fair play. Still, I kinda like how the show implies that human progress is subject to the collective decision of its constituents rather than a passive acceptance of the flow of history. It’s a progressive stance that does not promise lofty ideals like “world peace”, but nevertheless encourages us to strive for it nonetheless. “The Right Answer” is not in the result, but in the process, so it seems. A little esoteric, but enjoyable. Final rating: 7.5/10
#4 – Little Witch Academia
If you’re gonna go, might as well go out with a bang! is pretty much Trigger Studio’s mantra at this point. Indeed, Little Witch Academia ended with a bang, complete with the saccharine high notes of witches saving the day with the help of the positive support of a united people. It’s a deceivingly juvenile depiction of victory against a vague evil, but the overall message of belief in kindred spirits is still pretty clear. Akko is the personification of the child in all of us — that naive brat that believes she can achieve anything she sets her heart out to — it’s up to us to listen to her and believe in what it is she can actually achieve. Alone, she definitely can’t do anything — but with the aid of kindred spirits, magic happens. Call it juvenile and overly optimistic, I call it simple and honest. We sometimes need to pull our head out of the mud and embrace the warmth of the sunshine — and this is a show that does just that. Light hearted and fun, endearingly honest, and timelessly enjoyable. Final rating: 8/10
#3 – Natsume Yûjinchou Roku
Words can’t describe how impressed I am with Natsume Yûjinchou Roku. Everything that frustrated me in the last season was rectified here; (wait for it) thematic cohesion was solid, and the overarching purpose of the book of friends was expertly addressed come the end of the series. All the while, this further served to deepen Natsume’s relationship with Natori, making them even more charming than I remember. This was a stellar performance from a show that is well over a decade old, and yet is still capable of tugging those heartstrings like it was just yesterday. Final rating: 8.5/10
#2 – Tsuki ga Kirei
I think I’m a bit biased by this show, but maybe it’s because my story is quite similar to Kôta and Akane. I was in a relationship for 10 years before I finally proposed to my fiancé, all the while sustaining a long-distance relationship with the aid of SNS services like iMessage. It’s surprising to know that stories like mine are the minority in a world where relationships fade as easily as statuses on FaceBook, and that many people (especially in Japan) have no experiences of a relationship well into their 30’s. And so you’d think a tribute to a successful relationship as seen in Tsuki ga Kirei would be a slap in the face to people like that, but the production is far more honest in that. To some extent it believes in the ability of even emotionally insecure characters like Kôta and Akane to fight against the forces of the world that tear us apart. That it is possible to turn technology (like LINE) in our favor to maintain relationships. That we can still maintain relationships with the people we’ve rejected. That life isn’t as complicated as it seems when we actually communicate our feelings. It’s a deceivingly simple and naive depiction of deeper relationships, presented with beautiful animation that lend to the honesty of its message. Final rating: 9/10
#1 – My Hero Academia
The first half of the first cour of this season of My Hero Academia may have been reason for concern, but boy did the second half deliver. It was on par with what I’ve come to expect of the show’s pedigree in presenting us with fully fleshed out characters that showcase the show’s core values with unparalleled flare. Todoroki and Uraraka (who I previously wrote about) are the two characters that undoubtedly shined this season, and man did their character beats ring a strong tone within me. There’s something to love about a show that is just begging us to find the hero within ourselves, and for that reason this show gets the title of best show of Spring 2017! On-going rating: 9/10
And there you have it! Feels great to finally get this off my chest, and though I could’ve said more, I’ve decided to save it for some editorial articles in the future. Like I mentioned before, I’ll focus more on select articles than weekly reviews given I have a late start. So far, I’ve picked out 9-odd shows to watch this season, so I guess there’s more time for me to think about articles as opposed to thinking about what to say about shows. Sounds like fun — I’m down to that. So until next time, ciao!