Additional Thoughts: The Success of Nichijou

This wasn’t planned to be a long post, but it’s turning into one… either way, I just wanted to share some additional history and trivia that you might not know about this show.

(Also, as a quick update, I did update my review for Nichijou to add and change some stuff, as I wasn’t happy with how it was. No changes in opinion or anything, but wanted to let you know.)

So despite how much people seem to be enjoying it in recent years, Nichijou actually didn’t see too much success right out of the gate, either in the US or Japan.

Japan

In 2011, the Nichijou anime was about to start airing. This anime project came after tremendous success with the producers’ two previous shows: Haruhi Suzumiya and Lucky Star. Haruhi Suzumiya blew up like nothing else, and people around the world clamored to get any tiny bit more Haruhi anything they could get their hands on. Lucky Star, although it rode a bit on the success of Haruhi Suzumiya, was a great hit in its own right and helped to define the genre of “slice-of-life anime”.

Naturally, they expected Nichijou to be another hit out of the park. A lot of time, money, and work was put into getting that 3rd major success: many character single CDs were made, advertisements were put all over, they opted for a full 26 episodes right off the bat, it was aired and streamed everywhere, limited edition DVD/Blu-ray boxes were lined up, merchandise (and video game) deals were made…

But it didn’t turn into the success they wanted it to be. Manga sales were actually pretty good, maybe some of the music CDs did well… but in general, people weren’t buying up the DVDs, other music CDs, and merchandise as well as they hoped.

This didn’t mean that Nichijou was a complete financial disaster, however. It still performed pretty alright. Other anime production committees would probably be pretty happy with the numbers Nichijou brought. … But it wasn’t on the level of Haruhi or Lucky Star. And with how much extra money they poured into this, expecting it to be on that level, it just didn’t return as much money as they put into it.

There’s a lot of speculation and theorizing on to why Nichijou didn’t play out as much as expected. It could’ve been that the content is more suited for a Western audience rather than a Japanese one. It could’ve been the fact that the show was split into 13 separate DVD boxes sold over a year which people didn’t want to get behind. It could’ve been the over-usage of the then-already-overused voice actor Minoru Shirashi in the bonus content on the DVDs. Either way, that’s what it was.

The manga division of Kadokawa, which published the Nichijou manga, certainly saw some success, and Kyoto Animation and Klockworx probably came out alright… but Kadokawa’s anime division, along with Lantis and Movic (who produced the music and merchandise, respectively) probably didn’t see the numbers they wanted.

Kyoto Animation would soon after move into producing its own shows, but it’d be wrong to say that Nichijou was what caused them to do so. They were planning the move into self-production for a while, starting with a book writing contest that first ran in 2009 that gave way to shows like Chunnibyou, Free!, Beyond the Boundary, and Violet Evergarden.

Japan – NHK-E version

The following year (2012), though, the TV station NHK re-aired Nichijou. They cut down the original 26 episodes, taking the best sketches from the show and reorganizing them to fit into 12 episodes. This ended up being referred to as the NHK-E version or Director’s Cut version of Nichijou.

Ultimatemegax translated a compiled listing of what made the cut in the NHK-E version.

(Side note: isn’t a “Director’s Cut” supposed to be like… longer than the original (theatrical) release? Have extra stuff? The 12 episode re-release is half as long as the original 26, but yet it’s sometimes referred to the Director’s Cut…)

The NHK-E version of Nichijou actually performed well enough that they ended up re-airing that version again later that year and also releasing that on DVD. So at least the Nichijou anime did have some success in the end… even if that meant cutting half of it out.

United States

However, now we turn our attention to the United States. Other overseas regions, like Europe and Australia, don’t necessarily apply here. (Madman Entertainment released Nichijou in Australia in 2013.)

In the early 2000s, Bandai (yes, that Bandai) had an anime distribution division in the US, and released DVDs just like Funimation or Sentai. Bandai were the ones to bring over Cowboy Bebop, Haruhi Suzumiya, Code Geass, and K-On! to the United States. For Haruhi’s 2nd season, they even did live events and promotions for it.

When 2011 came around, Bandai would acquire the license for Nichijou with plans to release it in 2012. However, it would end up not to be.

Around 2011 is when the American anime industry was hitting a problem: people just weren’t buying DVDs as much anymore. The Internet was becoming the next big thing, and piracy and torrenting sites allowed people to watch anime without paying a dime. On top of all of this, as well, was the larger economic recession happening in 2010/2011; people just didn’t have the extra money to spend on things like DVDs (and why would they, when they could just hit up their favorite site and watch a show with just a click of a mouse).

For Bandai America’s anime and manga division, this wasn’t an obstacle they could afford to overcome. The parent company back home in Japan wasn’t happy with how things were turning out, and when they decided to merge all their Japanese anime companies into one, they also decided to leave the American anime industry in steps.

The discs for Nichijou, Gosick, and Turn A Gundam were cancelled in January 2012, and all of the manga they were publishing were cut short. In August, they stopped selling all of their DVDs altogether, and by December 2012, they were totally out of the American anime industry.

Nichijou would still end up on Crunchyroll (under the translated name My Ordinary Life) as part of their premiere lineup for this new “legal anime streaming” thing they were trying out. But there was no company in the US to advertise and support the show, to make and put out DVDs and put it into catalogs and on retailer websites like Amazon. And so for the US, the show never raised above cult hit status, and in 2014 when Crunchyroll lost the license to Nichijou, there ceased to be a legal way to even watch the show in the US.

Things seemed to change around a little bit when Vertical Comics announced their acquisition of the Nichijou manga at AX 2015. It still wasn’t the anime, but there was at least some way for people to enjoy Nichijou. I excitedly purchased the first 3 volumes right away from them, and I still support them now (especially since they also have the Monogatari series books too).

Finally, at YoumaCon 2016, Funimation announced they got the license to Nichijou. February 2017, a month short of a full 6 years since the 1st episode aired, American anime fans could enjoy this comedy show with the Blu-Ray box in their own hands.

Unfortunately, Nichijou’s time in the limelight has passed, as there’s new shows to produce and promote, and new DVDs and Blu-Rays to make. But the show’s popularity, hopefully, will continue to grow and expand online, as more and more fans come across this awesome show.

Until next time,

Jayke

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!

AnimeBird, plans for 2018!

Greetings!

Geez, it’s been a long while, hasn’t it? I really hadn’t meant to disappear from here like I did after my A Silent Voice review. I’m actually pleasantly surprised with how many people saw it, liked it, and followed me as a result.

I’m sorry I’ve disappointed you with my lack of new releases thus far D:

If I were to be a good content creator, I would say that things will be different this year and that you’ll see post more than ever before! and things of that nature. But… that’s probably not going to be how it goes here. I’ll be trying to post more often than I have these past few months, that’s for sure, trust me, but it won’t be every week on the dot.

: :

Since some point last year when I said to you all (and to myself) that this is nothing more than a side hobby, I’ve been really treating it as such: something I do only in my spare time and when I feel the desire to spend doing it. It unfortunately leads to this website/blog thing being woefully neglected at times, though. I do feel bad about anyone who actually is interested in my posts and my thoughts and is receiving nothing from me here.

I have some reviews stockpiled that I wanted to post after I wrote a review for “Your Name”, but seeing as I never finished that review, I never posted it nor posted the stockpiled ones. I’ve been telling myself to just post one of the stockpiled ones and forget about that plan, but obviously, that never came to be either (in the past month).

I’ll be coming into 2018 posting these stockpiled reviews that I mentioned. In fact, if I’m not mistaken, it’ll be reviews for the same exact shows that I was hinting at in the post I linked to a few paragraphs ago. So allow me to quote what I said back then:

The reviews I’ll be posting over the next few weeks will be quite interesting. A lot of them are well-known shows, to be honest, but it’s not just that. The shows I’ll be reviewing are shows that I either really like or really dislike. Not every show can be a winner, huh?

So look forward to that 😀

I will say that despite not posting much on this website/blog thing, I am relatively active on Twitter! Recently it’s just been retweets from my main/personal account, but they’re retweets about the things I’ve watched! If you want my (condensed) thoughts about a show I’ve watched, you’ll find it there, and you’re also open to ask me about shows too!

Also, quick last thing: I do plan on doing that Funimation February thing I did last year again! No promises on those extra pieces about the company itself or the anime industry as a whole, as I had said (and failed to do) last year. But I will be reviewing Funimation shows!

: :

Yet another thing I mentioned in that post and also haven’t yet done (wow, good going past me! /sarcasm), I wanted to talk about video games! Random thoughts about them, maybe semi-reviews about them, who knows? I’m kind of transitioning this website/blog thing to being just my place to voice my thoughts about the media I consume, and of course, I’ve been consuming video games.

I’ve recently been going through a Paper Mario phase (again), so you can actually look forward to a post from me talking about the entire series. Who knows when I’ll have it up, but… it’s a thing.

: :

Anyway, thank you so much for sticking with me… if, uhh, you have been sticking with me… and I’m sorry about my lack of posting here.

I’ve said it before, but this site is nothing more than a side hobby for me. But still, it does sadden me to see people reading/liking my things at the same time I’ve neglected to post anything new. I don’t want people to think I’ve abandoned this place, although that honestly is what it looks like. I guess I don’t quite know how to rectify that, though.

Oh well.

I hope I’ll post more often in 2018, and I hope you’ll be around to read it (and hopefully like it)! See you later on! 😀

Jayke (AnimeBird)

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!

Additional Thoughts: Attack on Titan Season 2

Attack on Titan Season 2. It’s happening.

I didn’t really mention “Season 2” at all in my Attack on Titan review. There are a few reasons:

  1. Season 2 obviously hasn’t happened yet (as I write this). I wouldn’t exactly have much to say about something I haven’t seen (unless I wanted to write speculations or what I want to see).
  2. My Attack on Titan review, I felt, was pretty long, and I didn’t want to make it any longer.
  3. If I were to write speculation about it, I feel it would involve spoilers for the first season. And I keep my reviews spoiler-free.
  4. Honestly, you probably already knew it was happening.

So, let’s talk about it a bit now.

Today, the day after I posted my review, Funimation actually translated a Japanese promo video and posted it on their YouTube channel. That’s a weird coincidence… The video clocks in a bit under 2 minutes, so if you have a free moment, go take a look!

The first thing, of course, that will probably grab your attention is that weird-looking giant-eyed Titan (fish-eyed?) walking among the crowd of Titans. I’m not really going to be doing a second-by-second overview of the entire video, but I just wanted to point it out. It’s weird looking, and not even in the same way the Moe Titan was. It’s just… weird.

Anyway, now that I spent a paragraph on that…

From what we can tell with this video, there seems to be more of a focus on Titan-vs-Titan fighting. I’m not surprised, as this seems to be the next logical level, especially after the two last major battles in the first season incorporating a lot of Titan-vs-Titan fighting. There does still seem to be some human-vs-Titan fighting still, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that isn’t as prevalent.

It seems the second season may also talk a bit more about the squabbling military factions, about the three walls (which will be rather intriguing, actually), and about Titans themselves. I wonder how much the series will bog itself down from its main staple of high-intensity action.

The visuals seem to be on par with the first season. The coloration seems to be just a tad darker from the first season, but not drastically different. It seems the character outlines aren’t quite as thick this time around though. The background music piece sounds really cool, of course, and still fits right in the style of the first season’s soundtrack (I actually first thought they just reused an OST track from the first season). It’s nice to see a lot of the same staff returning for this second season too.

All in all, I’ll be interested to see what this second season will have in store for us. Of course, not too much can be figured out from a two-minute promo video, but it’s probably safe to say that the show won’t be veering off in an completely weird direction (at least, not at first).

Finally, I should also note that I’ve never read the manga. I honestly very, very rarely even look at the manga for a show. I can’t exactly pin down one specific reason as to why that is, but a big contender is probably the fact that I’d rather spend my time on other things other than just reading.

Switching gears to another topic… April 2017 is 4 years since the first season aired. That’s kind of a long time between two seasons, I feel. I know a notable part of the reason for the long wait is because they wanted the manga to advance further, but I do wonder how this second season will do, sales and viewings-wise, in comparison to the first.

Between the end of the first season and now, we’ve seen a number of other shows, including action shows like Tokyo Ghoul, One Punch Man, and My Hero Academia, more than satisfy fans. I know there is still quite a fanbase for Attack on Titan, and something as big as it was certainly doesn’t have to worry about its name disappearing that quickly; however, I feel it’s more than possible that some people have lost interest in the show since that time.

This being said, there’s also been the show Attack on Titan Junior High, two anime films and two live-action films, and a crapton of manga and light novels, to try to keep the public interested in the show. It’s not like fans have been completely dry of new material while they wait.

But still, I just don’t hear people talking about Attack on Titan so excitedly anymore. When the first season aired, you would hear conversations about it all of the time. People would constantly talk about how cool Mikasa or Armin was, or about Titans themselves, or about Marco’s death (to be honest, I enjoyed the puns that came out of that though). While I still see people in cosplay for the show at conventions, and I see merchandise still moving for it, it’s not as… everywhere now as it was then. The first opening song isn’t being blasted all over the place anymore. Like I said, the excitement seems to have worn off.

Only time will tell how this second season will go, I suppose. I just hope that the show creators haven’t shot themselves in the foot with such a long pause between the first season and now.

I’m curious to hear other peoples’ thoughts about the second season, about what it might contain, and about how much excitement there really still is for this show. If you wish to share, I welcome you to write a comment below. Do give a spoiler warning if you’re going to be talking about something from the manga that we haven’t seen in the first season.