My Look at the Spring 2018 Season

(Note: I expected this to come out in mid-April, not mid-May, so… whoops! Better late than never though!)

It’s the middle of April, but as I look outside, there’s more snow than you can even believe. This is spring, isn’t it? Where’s the butterflies? The colorful flowers? The constant rain storms that make the ground all soggy and the sidewalks all slippery? I don’t know, but they aren’t here!

One thing to enjoy about spring though: the new anime season! For this season, I’ll only be looking at a handful of shows, for a few reasons:

  1. There’s a lot of sequels this season. There’s a lot of sequels every season, but it feels like a lot this time. There’s not much point of me watching the sequel if I haven’t seen the season prior, so almost all of them, I’m not watching.
  2. Beyond that, a number of the new (non-sequel) shows don’t seem all that interesting. I’ve picked out the ones that did catch my eye, and I also checked out some that other people have been talking about. Beyond that, though… everything else seems meh.
  3. I don’t really trust Tokyo Ghoul Re to be any good. I really don’t.

Anyway, all of that out of the way, let’s get to reviewing:

Steins;Gate 0

26cab01d95a04956bd5a1a2994d231ea1523422286_fullDespite my talk about sequels above, this is one sequel where I’ve seen the show immediately prior to it. So, this ends up with the title of the only sequel I can/will touch here and now.

Steins;Gate 0 takes place in the winter after the events of the first anime. It’s on a separate timeline from the very last episode, where Rintaro decided to walk away from time travel rather than using it one last time (trying to be vague to avoid spoilers). As you’d expect, the sequel definitely demands that you have seen the first show, and it doesn’t give any time at all (beyond some blink-and-you’ll-miss-it flashbacks) to refresh viewers on the show either. If it’s been a while since you’ve seen Steins;Gate, you’ll probably be a bit confused.

For me, this also isn’t helped by the fact that I’ve grown very accustomed to the English dub of the first series. The Japanese voices aren’t too bad (with the exception of Daru), I guess… but it doesn’t sound/feel the same.

Anyway… Three episodes in, I’m quite enjoying Steins;Gate 0. It has the same tone, art style, and character designs from the original anime. It proves to be an interesting premise about how this alternate-timeline Rintaro is dealing with the outcome of his decision to walk away. (Again, trying to be vague.) My biggest concern, though, is that the original Steins;Gate was a slower-paced, atmosphere-heavy, and character-heavy show… and this sequel seems more willing to move more quickly, and to push aside almost everyone to focus on Rintaro and a new cast member named Maho.

Part of it may be the fact that this is airing in Japan as a direct continuation from the original. I also wonder if they’re doing this as a 12/13 episode series, as having it be 24-to-26 would allow them to slow down a bit more, I’d think. Either way, only time will tell to see how it all turns out, and I am excited to see where this goes.

Megalobox

75c8ff7a84bac94f275d2a1c0c8f05601522906376_fullI went into this not knowing what to expect; the name sounded cool and it being an original anime helps too. I was curious about it and honestly, even after the first episode, I was hooked.

Megalobox takes place in some sort of post-apocalyptic Japan, but with this major 1970s punk vibe. Junk Dog, our main character, is an underground boxer with no legal ID; he and his mentor Nanbu stay out of debt by agreeing to throw matches and manipulate bets. Boxing here is done with special equipment called “Gear” strapped onto your arms and back (which helps add more power to their punches). After a run-in with the world champion Megalobox fighter, Yuri, and the businesswoman financing the worldwide Megalomania competition, JD decides he wants in. With a forged ID and the name “Joe”, he enters Megalomania and aims for the top.

This show is gritty, well-paced, dramatic, dark, and keeps you engaged from start to finish. Everything has this hand-drawn vibe to it, the lines don’t have that particular look of having been touched by computer animation (even though it probably has been). The music is also awesome. This show is actually a celebration for the 50th anniversary of the anime Ashita no Joe, but you don’t need to have seen that show to watch this one.

And, please, do watch this one. Whether you’re all about action or you like some drama, Megalobox has a lot here going for you. I’m loving this show, and I think you will too.

Persona 5 the Animation

1ac5964acca6075b83c1dd8329ce76661523323666_fullMy feelings about Persona 5 aren’t easily explained, but it’s best summed up as “I like some parts, and dislike others”. Unfortunately, the game’s story was one of those dislikes, but it won’t stop me from giving the anime a shot.

Visuals and aesthetics wise, the anime feels very much like the game, featuring screens, animations, and transitions that were present in it. Indeed, it feels like they cut them straight out of the game and lifted them into the anime. It’s impressive.

Unfortunately for the anime, it also feels like they cut the story beats straight out of the game and lifted them into the anime. Things move along at a bit too fast of a pace, things only ever seem surface-level, and they seem content with just mentioning the main points and moving on. It’s difficult to take a video game (where you yourself can control the pace) and implement it into a non-interactive medium, but Persona 5 the Animation feels like a clip show rather than an actual animated retelling of the story. I wish there was more expressiveness, or they at least let scenes stay their welcome. I will certainly commend them, though, for sticking extremely faithful to the story thus far.

Ultimately, the anime’s goal is to get more people interested in the game and playing it. Or, at least, that’s what I assume its goal is, because I, as a fan of Persona, feel underwhelmed by what we’ve gotten here. I probably won’t be continuing with this show.

Magical Girl Ore

3c7c9222cfa33e21bdcae187bdd007591521854044_fullI knew the basic idea of this show was about magical girls that transformed into muscular boys in their magical form. … What I did not know was how far they’d go to take the idea of magical girls and knock on its side.

Magical Girl Ore is the story about a young duo named Saki and Sakuyo who are trying to form an idol group but happen to just be terrible at it. Due to the power of love triangles, Saki and Sakuyo realize they can turn into “magical girls”… which are more like magical boys. They use their magical boy-girl forms to defeat demons and to protect each other and protect Sakuyo’s brother, Mohiro, who’s part of a much more successful male idol duo.

This anime enjoys doing everything out of the ordinary. The “mascot” character looks like a yakuza boss, the leads themselves look like overly-muscular guys in cute magical girl outfits, the demons they fight are these muscular humanoids with cute faces, and they fight them by literally punching/beating them to death. It plays on even more tropes as well (such as the “running to school late with toast in your mouth”) and also manages to do this all with a bright color palette and more expressiveness than you’d ever expect. It’s a magical girl show that’s also a comedy and is just full of contradictions.

This show is weird. But probably in a good way. I’d recommend giving it a look, I plan on sticking with this myself.

Umamusume

11d01819ab5ca0f94ebdbc1f82f345181525472777_fullI’ll be honest. I only looked at this series because it seemed the most-talked about new anime of this season. I came into it expecting myself to not like it. I know it’s not a great way to come into a show, but here we are. And the end result is… it’s surprisingly pretty okay.

Umamusume seems to be a cross between a slice of life anime and a sports anime, with a sprinkle of idol and fantasy animes for good measure. It’s the story of Special Week, a horse-girl whose mom got her enrolled in the most prestigious horse-racing academy in Japan, Tracen Academy. Upon arriving at the campus, she came across the most famous horse-girl in Japan, Silence Suzuka, winning yet another championship. Special Week became inspired and vowed to join the same horse-racing team as Silence Suzuka, so that she too can become among the best racing horse-girls in Japan!

To me, this show seems like a strange concept (although a lot of anime is just a strange concept taken to its extreme), but it seems to be delivering upon it fairly well. Special Week, although perhaps a bit too ditzy or naïve, seems interesting enough on her own, and I enjoy a number of her friends. That being said, I quite despise the character Trainer (seemingly the only male character in this show). They say first impressions are important, and my impressions of him were nothing good. I’m honestly over creepy/pervy male characters in anime.

All in all though, like I said, it’s a pretty okay show. I’d suggest finding someone else to tell you if Umamusume’s worth your time, but I won’t say it’s not. I expected it to be bad, and I came out pleasantly surprised, but not surprised enough to want to stick with it. But if it piques your interest, go for it!

Crossing Time

0a87bda81e1bf231e22dbece79f5eb411523241970_fullI’m adding onto my plate, once again, a short-length show. I get a real kick out of them, but short-length anime are really only the side dishes for the main course meal that is the full-length shows I’ve reviewed above.

Crossing Time operates on a simple premise: two people are stuck at a railroad crossing waiting for a train to pass, what happens next? Each episode features two different people having different conversations and different relationships (classmates, senpai/kouhei, teacher/student, etc.). The anime had a surprisingly emotion-filled first episode (and it saddened me that we probably won’t see those girls again), but I believe it to be a comedy show. The 3-minute length usually leads to a quick turnaround from setup to punchline, which is effective.

This show proves to be an interesting one, and I’ll be keeping it around on my watch list. It won’t be the funniest or most serious thing you see, but like I said, it’s a side dish, for those times the main course just isn’t enough to fill us up.

Wrap-Up

This season doesn’t stand out to me as one of the best, but there’s still certainly things to enjoy.

I think my biggest problem, personally, is I don’t have much time to devote to watching the current shows, since I have other projects and things to take up my time, in addition to working. Beyond this list, there may be a few other shows that I could push myself to try, but I’d say 3 shows is enough for me (along with 1 short-length one) right now.

What shows have you enjoyed thus far this season? Any thoughts you have so far? Let me know below! I honestly was a bit surprised by how underwhelmed I was by Persona 5 the Animation, I was expecting myself to stick with that one.

Anyway, until next time, talk to you later!

My Look at the Winter 2018 Season

I’ve done this once before, so why not do it again? Funnily enough, the last time I did it was for the winter season last year… I doubt I’ll end up doing this for every new season, but I wonder if this will really end up being only a winter season thing lol.

So my life has changed a lot since last winter. Free time is something I have a lot more of now, and I actually feel motivated and interested in anime again. It’s been quite a while since I’ve actually felt interested in anime, and it’s kind of refreshing.

Anyway, we’re not here to be sentimental! Let’s get down to the shows!

Pop Team Epic1768802a0cdfbcf8842dc17e39b06d381511957656_large

This show is something I’ve heard about long before its airing; images of the manga are relatively easy to find online, featuring the simply-drawn main characters sporting some highly-detailed middle fingers. So coming into this season, I was at least curious how the anime was going to go.

My verdict: the anime is actually quite a bit of fun. It’s a sketch comedy show, but you never quite know what you’re gonna get with each new sketch. The first (and 3rd) episode featured a sketch taking place in France, introduced by some random French animator, all done entirely in French. A number of sketches poke fun at the anime industry and anime production itself, but beyond that, there’s other sketches that are just the two main characters, Pipimi and Popuko, screwing around with each other.

All in all, I think it’s really enjoyable. The comedy pacing is really good, and the show just keeps them coming and doesn’t stop. This anime is being called the “shitposting” anime online, and it probably isn’t an untrue statement; in reality, though, this is an adaptation of a parody 4-koma manga (meaning, every “story” is told in just four panels).

The show probably won’t win in the visuals department, but it’s good enough to get across what they need to. (Also, some sections are intentionally drawn really bad). The opening theme (shown from episode 2 onwards) is really cool sounding and the animation is great; the ending theme and animation are both okay.

I only see a few downsides to this show. Firstly, the running joke where each episode is the same thing twice – only with different voice actors and slightly different lines – is gonna get old pretty quickly, I think. In fact, I think it’s already pretty old by episode 2. It was a fun gag for the first episode, but, I am tempted to just turn off each new episode after the halfway point. Secondly, I really wish there were more long segments/sketches. Obviously they’re limited with how far they can stretch the source material, but so much of each episode is just seconds-long sketches, and it’s… I dunno… hard to keep your enthusiasm? I’m failing to describe it properly at the moment.

Gripes aside, this is a lot of fun, and I’ll certainly be continuing with it for this season. I suggest you try it out too!

Karakai Jozu no Takagi-san89990

This anime, I’ve seen going by a number of English names, such as “Skilled Teaser Takagi-san” and “Takagi-san, the Master of Teasing”. I saw this show mentioned on Twitter (I forget by who), and I decided to take a look.

As you can kind of guess by the English title, this show is about a girl named Takagi and a guy named Nishikata – Takagi is really good at teasing Nishikata, and oppositely, his attempts to get back at her fail spectacularly every time. Each episode is divided up into segments, also sketch-comedy style; the premise of the show is pretty much established in the first segment of the first episode, and it’s stays just like that for the rest of the runtime – excepting the few moments where you see hints of an actual friendship between these two, which the show likes to throw to you every now and then.

It’s hard to call this show really entertaining, particularly because its central joke is pretty repetitive: Nishikata tries to do something to tease Takagi and gets out-teased by the master, or master Takagi sets up Nishikata to be teased and he overthinks it. It’s fun as something to just have on and relax to, though; it’s not going to wow you in any regard, but it’s easy to digest and it helps distract your brain for a little while.

I do wish we had more moments with these two actually being friends without all this teasing thing going on, but I think those rare appearances are all we’re gonna get every episode. It’s a bit of a different dynamic if you look at it as two friends teasing and playing around with each other, rather than as one classmate who decided to pick on the other and it delving into a competition.

We’ll see how the rest of the series goes, though. I’ll be sticking around for this one.

Darling in the Franxxb6e8676f48c62513e4ae065395b2d0c61499270624_full

At Studio Trigger’s panel at AX2017, this is one of the shows that they announced, being done as a co-production with A-1 Pictures. Having recently finished Kill La Kill and already being a big fan of Space Patrol Luluco, I was certainly interested to see what would come of this.

In a post-apocalyptic world, humanity has been ravaged by these giant beasts called klaxosaurs. They’ve concentrated themselves into these city-sized domes called Plantations, where they train special kids in boy-girl pairs to be able to pilot these giant mechas called Franxx, which can be used to beat back the klaxosaurs. Our main characters here seem to be Zero Two, an outsider who’s a bit of a wild child, and Hiro, a boy who felt like a bird with clipped wings.

But that’s all the information I can really tell ya. We’ve established (to some extent) what the world is… but where are these characters going from here? What’s the point of any of this? I feel this is one of those slow-start plots where things will ramp up later, but it’s weird coming into this from Kill La Kill where everything you needed to know was established by the end of episode 1.

Combine with this the fact that I’m not liking the character Zorome (who Hiro is currently battling against), the fact that the Franxx are controlled by the guys who hold handles that stick out of the girls’ butts (seemingly just to make a suggestive-looking pose), the fact that the main character looks super plain and doesn’t really have that engaging a personality, and the fact that I’m getting some Aldnoah.Zero-esque vibes out of this show… I think I’m gonna sit this one out. I’ll be listening to see what others say about this show as it keeps going, though.

Despite this being touted as a collaboration between Trigger and A-1 Pictures, I really wonder how involved Trigger actually is with this show. I suppose that without reading the Japanese credits and learning more about what company is filling what roles, though, I won’t know for sure. This feels very much like an A-1 Pictures-esque show (as meaningless as that is to say, though, because anime studios are commonly not the ones that direct the course of a show).

Mitchiri Nekodf36a4d78ce8b599d40f325e7cc7349d1514516525_full

Do you remember that video/GIF that’s gone around featuring a bunch of cats in a marching band? If you don’t remember or haven’t seen it, feast your eyeballs on this adorableness! Anyway, so that’s an anime now. (Actually, it’s been a manga since 2012…)

This show is, oh my gosh, another sketch comedy. Instead of two main characters, though, our cast is a bunch of cats – although a few of them do get named and short descriptions. The sketches in the comedies are relatively simply affairs, like cats getting their head stuck in a box, or a bunch of them finding a pot to fit themselves into (it’s actually surprising how many bags/pots/balls full of cats there are here).

When you get right down to it, it’s simple, it’s adorable, it’s colorful. It’s probably aimed at kids, but that wouldn’t stop an older audience from enjoying it as well. Each episode is only 3 minutes each so it’s a pretty easy thing to get through either way.

A Place Further Than the Universed2ba2e4ecb30e63da5ab3751116eec561510960628_full

I first heard about this show as “the girls going to Antarctica anime”, and it didn’t really pique my interest. I felt that it’d be a slice-of-life anime where cutesy girls just screwed around in Antarctica, playing down any downsides and promoting the upsides.

A Place Further Than the Universe, though, is more like a drama anime. Yes, all the main characters are girls, and they’re as energetic and cute as they come, but this isn’t a slice-of-life show.

Our first main characters are Shirase and Kimari. Shirase is the daughter of an Antarctic expedition member, and has wanted to travel to the continent herself to try to find her mother, despite receiving backlash and ridicule from those around her. Kimari has felt like she hasn’t been taking advantage of the life she’s been given, following through the paces of going to school and home each day without ever doing anything spontaneous or incredible. They’re quickly joined by two more girls: Hinata, who’s gung-ho and charismatic, and Yuzuki, a child actress who’s always felt alone. The four of them don’t even start as friends (as they admit in episode 3), but have instead bonded over their mutual desire to travel to Antarctica.

It’s hard to describe the feelings this show gives you. As someone who came into this sure that I wasn’t going to like it, I have to really stress how much the show got me to turn that opinion around. The plot goes through its process of ups and downs, the downs making those ups feel all that more exciting; you get engaged, excited when at least one small thing goes these characters’ way, and feeling worrisome when it seems their plan is falling apart. Tie this together with some amazing visuals and a nice sense of comedic timing, and all in all, this show is just a fun ride.

I’m for sure sticking with this anime, and I recommend you try out the first two episodes to see if this is an adventure you’ll want to embark on as well.

Slow Startdgc8dgdxcae3svl

I honestly can’t remember where I heard about this show. Probably from Twitter. Either way, here we are.

Slow Start is basically your standard slice-of-life. Our main character is Hana, who took a year off from school because she was sick. She entered into an all-girls high school not knowing anyone, but pretty quickly found herself three friends: Tama, the energetic girl; Eiko, the reasonable motherly girl; and Kamu, the short and always hungry girl.

As far as slice-of-life shows go, this one’s pretty alright. Slice-of-life shows at this point need something to make them stand out, and for this show, it’s the fact that Hana was out of school for a year. It leads to a lot of misconceptions and Hana telling a lot of white lies because she’s embarrassed to say she’s been out a year. Beyond that, though, this all takes place in an average Japanese high school with the students doing relatively average things. If you compare it to slice-of-life shows like GJ Club or Non Non Biyori, honestly, it’s hard to find anything that really makes this one remarkable. Viewed completely on its own, though, this show is still fun and provides that slice-of-life feel.

The character designs are fine enough, although each girls’ eyes look like something out of 2006’s Windows Media Player. But my goodness, nothing in this anime ever seems to sit still. Characters are always moving, swaying, or doing something. (To be honest, saying “always” is probably a bit of an exaggeration, but still…) The opening and ending themes are both pretty okay, in regards to both song selection and animation quality.

I’ll probably keep this one around, simply because I haven’t jumped into any slice-of-life shows recently. This one isn’t a particularly standout show, but it still isn’t bad.

Citrusdo8lc60ueaa6pfd

This is another one I’ve heard about through Twitter (as will the last show I look at). Specifically, I’ve seen it mentioned due to the fact that it’s a yuri show, and I follow someone on Twitter who’s a particular fan of yuri shows.

Citrus focuses around two girls, Yuzu and Mei. After Yuzu’s mom got remarried, her and Yuzu moved to a new city and Yuzu entered into a new high school. There, after a public argument with a student council member for not following the dress code, Yuzu is introduced to Mei, the student council president, and the two start off on the wrong foot. … Although they’ll have a lot of time to make things better because, as it turns out, Yuzu’s mom married Mei’s dad, making them now step-sisters!

To be honest, the first episode rubbed me the wrong way. From the starting conversation where Yuzu and her old friends were comparing guys and talking about having dumped them, to Yuzu’s confrontation with the student council leading up to Mei feeling her up (in public!) to find her cell phone and take it, to Yuzu stumbling across her homeroom teacher kissing Mei behind a school building, to the highly-awkward interactions between Yuzu and Mei in the bedroom they ended up sharing, leading up to Mei pushing Yuzu over, forcing her into a deep kiss, and then getting up and leaving the room. Episode over.

I don’t have anything against yuri shows. I’m a big fan of Sakura Trick – in that one too, it features multiple characters kissing each other, but the difference is that Sakura Trick establishes these characters as already being friends and having consented to it. In this show, it was pretty much a near-total stranger that forced Yuzu to the ground and kissed her, without being asked “is this okay to do?”

I’ll stop short of calling this a bad show, though. The backgrounds and camera work in this first episode are nice-looking, and remind me of Studio Shaft. But nice visuals won’t make up for how uncomfortable I feel watching it. Sorry, but I’m not going to keep going with this one.

Laid Back Camp5ac5fff410cb66c57ce0d2ea2617d08d1515076527_full

Hey look, another show I heard about through Twitter. Crunchyroll’s Twitter account mentions this one a lot (along with A Place Further Than The Universe), so I decided, okay, let’s take a look.

Laid Back Camp is an anime about camping… and it’s laid back. Yep, that’s all the description you need, alright, good bye!

Okay, to be more specific, Laid Back Camp is about a group of five girls who end up going out and camping together. Our main character seems to be a short girl named Rin, who enjoys just going out and camping by herself, but she ends up becoming a friend to a girl named Nadeshiko, who jumps in head-first into this camping thing with much enthusiasm. The group is rounded out by Chiaki and Aoi, president and vice president of the Outdoor Activities Club, and Saitou, Rin’s friend who brought them all together.

This is a pretty relaxing show. The slow pacing while Rin is out camping somewhere, just sitting, enjoying the scenery and stuff… it’s nice. The show has its energetic moments too, especially where Nadeshiko is involved, but it’s overall a slow and enjoyable ride. The backgrounds are also amazingly done, and the opening credits are done in English, amusingly enough (the opening theme song is also my second favorite of this season, behind Pop Team Epic).

I’ll be sticking with this one as well, although I do feel it may fall to the wayside as I have so many shows to attend to.

Honorable Mentions

I’ve sat here and gone through eight different shows here, but there may be some names you’re surprised to not see on here. So let’s run through them:

Violet Evergarden – Trust me, I want to watch this so badly. I really do. But unfortunately, Netflix isn’t simulcasting this show here in the US, like it is in many other countries around the world (including Canada!). It disappoints me, because lack of simulcasting is pretty much the biggest complaint I think a lot of people have with Netflix, but at least most other people in the world get to enjoy it weekly. I will be watching it once it comes out on Netflix here!

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card – I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m still a relatively new fan to anime. The first show I watched was the original FMA, back in 2012. It’s been a bit over 5 years for me, and there’s a lot of classic shows that I haven’t yet gotten around to (if I ever will). Cardcaptor Sakura is one of those.

The Ancient Magus’ Bride  – This is a show that has been recommended to me. However, I’m not going to delve into it just yet… besides, it didn’t even start airing this season; this is the second cour, as it began airing last season. Hard to count that on this list.

Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles – This is like the last show I’ve heard mentioned a lot for this season. It doesn’t seem like a bad show, but given how I already have about 6 I’m already planning to watch this season, I think my plate’s a bit full right now. This may be one of the ones I return to later on down the line!

Wrap-Up

So that’s my thoughts on a number of shows this season. What do you think about them? Are there any that I haven’t mentioned that are worth checking out? Do you have different opinions on the shows I’ve talked about here? The comment section below is open and it’s hungry for people’s words! So please don’t keep it starving!

Anyway, my next review is coming up this Friday as well! And then starting next week is Funimation February! See you all then!

My Look at the Winter 2017 Season

So 2016 was a busy year for me, especially the latter third of it. This means that, unfortunately, I didn’t have much time to actually focus on watching anime and staying up to date with the new and current shows. This is probably pretty apparent since a number of my first reviews of this year were from shows two seasons ago, having finally gotten a chance to finish them.

This season, though, is different. I finally have the time to actually watch more anime shows again, so that’s what I’m gonna do! The Winter 2017 season started at the beginning of this month, so now that we’re a few episodes in and have a better idea of how these shows are kind of going, now’s a good time to talk about them and see which ones are worth our time!

Special note: I will only be talking about shows that began airing this season. I didn’t watch a single show from last season, and there’s enough I’ve seen that started this season that I don’t feel a need to go back and give them a try.

So, let’s begin!

Akiba’s Trip The Animation

akibaThis show, I found because Funimation announced they were simuldubbing it. Although that alone shouldn’t be reason enough to start watching a show, I still decided “ehh, what the heck, I’ll give it a try”.

The story is about Tamotsu, an otaku who suddenly finds himself a superpowered semi-human being, who is tasked to protect the Akihabara strip, along with a small team of new friends, from evil creatures called Bugged Ones who want to take over the city. This team consists of him, a girl named Matome (who turned him into this superpowered state), and another girl named Arisu (who’s human, but seems to be along for the ride).

Akiba’s Trip honestly don’t sit completely right with me. I think it is mainly because I don’t exactly like Tamotsu, the main character. I don’t totally hate him either, but still, he’s selfish and doesn’t seem to know how to be serious. Arisu is probably one of my most favorite things in this show for me. Her bubbliness and that weird spinning thing she does to exit a scene is really fun.

Beyond that, the action is interesting enough, although the action scenes could perhaps go on for a bit longer. Everyone on the team is competent, but Tamotsu seems to get a bit more attention than everyone else. It also knows how to do non-action scenes fairly well, too, though. Bubbly Arisu tends to be the comic relief. In the non-action scenes, though, is where Tamotsu’s selfishness and other flaws really show themselves, and irk me.

It isn’t on the top of my “must see shows of this season”, but I’ll keep watching it for now. If you’d like to check it out, I suggest watching 2 episodes before rendering your opinion.

Fuuka

Fuuka animeThis is probably one of the shows I’ve been hearing the most about this season.

Looking at it myself, it seems obvious pretty quickly that this is a drama/romance show, revolving around male lead Yuu, and two girls: random new friend Fuuka, and childhood friend-turned-superstar idol Koyuki.

Of the two, the anime formally introduces Fuuka first. However, she really rubbed me the wrong way in the first episode; although Fuuka hasn’t been quite as abrasive since then, she still annoys me. Based upon first impressions, I like Koyuki a lot more, but she still comes off as a bit odd to me too.

I’ve gotten used to fanservice existing in shows, for the most part. When it gets really up there in your face, it’s a bit annoying, but all in all, I tolerate it. However, the whole “girl getting mad at the guy when she ends up in a questionable situation” is a joke in anime that I’ve really never gotten any enjoyment out of; the fact that this anime pulls this 3 times in two episodes… ehh…

All in all, though, this doesn’t seem to be that bad of a show. Bad introductions aside, Fuuka has made me curious to see what will happen with the main characters in the future; I can see myself getting swept up in whatever ends up happening next. However, I think I’ll put off watching this until after it finishes, to see if other people say it goes downhill or anything.

Gabriel DropOut

gabriel-dropoutThe angel Gabriel, after graduating school in heaven, moves on to the next step in her education: learning how humans act at an actual human high school. After arriving in the human world, though, Gabriel finds herself sucked into an MMORPG, believing that healing other characters is the right thing to do as an angel. Years pass, and Gabriel has become so irresponsible, she risks becoming a “fallen angel”. Her friend Vignette, actually a demon, convinces her to return to school though and try to get back on the right path.

Gabriel DropOut is a comedy series, and honestly, it’s like any other comedy anime you’ve seen before. Another demon appears, named Satania, and declares Gabriel to be her rival, despite being totally incompetent. Gabriel is an otaku slob, wanting to take the easiest way out of everything. The fact that the main characters are either demons or angels is the gimmick of this series. It’s not terrible, but it’s jokes aren’t that new when you get down to it, and I feel more bored watching it than entertained.

I’m not going to be continuing this one. It’s not something to avoid, but I don’t see it as anything special either.

I’ll admit the opening song and animation are pretty cool though.

Interviews With Monster Girls

interviews with monster girlsThis was actually not going to be a show I was going to pick up by myself, because I thought it was related to the Monster Musume anime series a few seasons ago; a friend told me I should check this out, though, and so, here we are.

In an alternate world, where certain people can be born with some supernatural characteristics, such as those of vampires, dullahans, or succubi, we meet Mr. Takahashi. He’s a biology teacher in a high school, and he’s had an interest in these “demi-humans”, and has wanted to be able to sit down and talk with them. However, since he never met any, he never really got the chance.

Now, all of a sudden, after meeting a new teacher who turns out to be a succubus, he also runs into students who are a vampire, a dullahan, and a “snow woman”. The coincidences of this first episode are beyond the range of believability, but I’ll let it slide. Mr. Takahashi gets a chance to sit down with the vampire student, after a random run-in with her one night, and he proceeds to interview her about how her life as a vampire is.

This is a pretty cute show, honestly. Even after one episode, I felt myself really enjoying it and wanting to watch more. I really like the interactions these various characters have; the unique situations these “demi-humans” have lead to some interesting dialogue and funny moments; this show doesn’t squander the potential it has here. I honestly think it’s pretty well-written, and I’m looking forward to continuing this throughout the season.

If I have any concerns, it’s what will happen later on down the line – after Mr. Takahashi sits down with the four girls we’ve met so far, where will the anime go from here? I’m hoping that we don’t end up with lazy, contrived situations that are written in just for cheap jokes or development.

If you’re looking for another show to add to your watching list for this season, and you haven’t given this one a look, I suggest you try it. I bet the first episode will get you hooked.

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid

Miss Kobayashi DragonMaid

The newest show to be animated to by Kyoto Animation, this series’s colors and designs are more flat and a bit simplified, rather than the shaded, super-realistic visuals of KyoAni’s past works.

A female dragon-turned-maid named Tohru falls in love with a programmer named Kobayashi, after the latter drunkenly stumbles into a forest and comes across Tohru, telling her that she can stay in the latter’s home. The next morning, she doesn’t remember a thing, but now she has a new roommate. Pretty quickly, they’re also joined by a younger dragon named Kanna, and Kobayashi now has to get adjusted to the new hectic life she finds herself in.

This show is a comedy series, and like Gabriel DropOut above, also works on a gimmick: the fact that most of the main cast are dragons. However, I feel this show really takes more advantage of the whole “dragons” thing, and its jokes get to me more and overall, this show feels more clever. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t strike it with every joke; I don’t think I like Kanna all that much, and Kobayashi and her coworker going into full otaku mode when they get drunk also has already gotten old to me, 3 episodes in.

Kyoto Animation’s visual quality is still on display here; Tohru as a dragon in the first episode looked really well animated and drawn. And, as a programmer myself, I find myself a bit impressed: the dialogue of Kobayashi and her coworker in the first few episodes sound like things in the same vein of what actual programmers would complain about.

In the end, even if it doesn’t hit it out of the park with every joke, this show’s probably one of the most entertaining things I’m watching this season. I won’t say everyone will fall in love with it, but if there’s one current show I would suggest people to check out, this one would be it.

OneRoom

one-roomMade by the team that created the “Makuro no Danshi” short-length series, they’re back with a similar premise. This time, the story revolves around the male protagonist being you, the viewer. The characters (well, character) talk to you, and pauses as if you were to actually respond to the conversation. It’s like a reader insert fan-fiction or something, except in a video form.

It’s a pretty okay show, and for being 4 minutes long, one can’t really expect something very deep or anything anyway. It’s rather simple, and it’s kind of cute.

I must say it does have some really pretty backgrounds at times (although the inside of the protagonist’s room in episode 2 looks very plain and subpar). I personally like realistic-looking backgrounds, so this show doing that is pretty nice.

If it’s something that seems interesting to you, give it a shot. I’ll probably keep at it simply because it’s 4 minutes per episode.

Piacevole

Another short-length anime series that I randomly stumbled across, this show revolves around Naruse, a girl who accepts a job at a nearby Italian restaurant, Trattoria Festa, because she needs some extra money. It’s here that she runs into a series of wacky characters and situations.

587670a1df64bIt’s what you should come to expect from a short-length comedy series: over-the-top wacky characters, everything going at a super-fast pace, animation and art that looks weird and inconsistent, and it’s all over in just a handful of minutes.

There really isn’t much to say about Piacevole, honestly; it’s a pretty alright show, and its jokes are also pretty alright. The animation and art is one thing, but it’s not really that glaring or out-of-place for a short-length show. All in all, it’s just pretty alright.

If you’re looking for something quick and funny, you can give this a shot. You may enjoy it, you may not. But with it only being a few minutes long, there’s no harm in trying. I enjoy it personally, so I’ll be continuing to watch it.

Seiren

Seiren got me with a PV that I watched about a month or two ago by this point; it positioned itself as a romance anime where people are truthful with each other and themselves. This is the one show I was excited about going into this season.

So, after 3 episodes, this show didn’t exactly meet my expectations.

seirenSeiren puts you into the perspective of high school boy Shouichi, who finds himself to be the butt end of Hikari’s teasing. The first episode awkwardly flounders around a little bit, but eventually gets across the point that Shouichi goes to a summer retreat camp with his best friend Ikuo to study for the upcoming university entrance exams, where Hikari also shows up out of the blue. There, the beginnings of a friendship blossoms between the two.

At times, I see this show falling into clichéd romance anime trappings. The animation quality is only okay at best, and there are specific lines of dialogue that don’t really make much sense. That being said, the moments where the characters are honest and straightforward with each other really make this show for me. I really enjoy seeing Shouichi and Hikari together. Looking past its surface issues, I am finding myself enjoying this show a decent amount.

I’ll be continuing to watch this through the season; it probably won’t result in anything that amazing or great, but I’m interested enough to keep going. I wouldn’t not suggest others to give it a try either, but I’d say to give it at least 2 episodes before deciding what to do. Honestly, though, I won’t be surprised if you decide this show isn’t for you, it does have some glaring problems.

Wrap-Up

There are some seasons where there’s just a whole slew of shows I want to watch, and I don’t want to give up on any of them because they’re all so good. That isn’t the same situation here, unfortunately; most of the shows I’ve tried are pretty much “okay” to “pretty good”. Not every anime season is going to be absolutely spectacular though, and honestly, it works better for my busy schedule to not pay attention to too many shows at once.

Hopefully through this post or in other places, you’ve found a few shows this season that interests you. If there’s any that I haven’t tried, or if you have another opinion on the shows I’ve talked about here, let me know in the comments!