Ok, far less new titles I’m picking up this round. In my defense, I do have quite a few returning/continuing titles I’m working on as well as older shows. Still, I thought this season’s line up was boring at first, but I’m actually liking more shows this season than I usually do, so that was quite a surprise. Now, will they keep it up…
Overall: Welcome to cute overload. The plot on this show is beyond weak to non-existent, but what it lacks in story, it makes up for with possibility the cutest, most pathetic creature I’ve seen in anime in a long time. If you want something sugary enough to kill, this is what you need. Just try your best to turn your brain off or the fact that an Egyptian “coffin” is sporting a Christian cross will bother you pretty much the entire episode.
Overall: This show’s descriptor on Crunchyroll makes no sense at all, so I clicked on it with bottom-of-the-barrel expectations. As soon as the full title showed up, showing this series’ goal was getting the heroines to Antarctica, I realized this was going to be a very different kind of show. And boy is it so far. The dialog and plot flow smooth and there’s enough action to keep the pace quick despite not a ton actually occurring yet. It’s still unclear if this good pace can keep going, but this is a very promising start to a show and I’m already feeling as if this is going to be one of my favorites this season.
Flavor: Sweet, but the kind you can easily get sick of rather fast
Overall: If you can’t tell, I LOVE shows that bend and break gender stereotypes. Especially when it comes to those annoying unspoken rules about what genders can and can not enjoy. This show thus had a decent thing going for it as was, showcasing a male lead who likes things most frown on simply due to his gender. Plus, the backstory of why it’s important to him? Legit heartbreaking stuff. It’s not easy for a show to tug on my heartstrings in the first episode but this one manged it. That said, this is so obviously a long commercial for Sanrio products that I feel like everything good this could have offered was already used up in that first episode. I see this going downhill very quickly. So, like, good message and all Sanrio, but it’s tainted by the marketing. It really is…
Flavor: Cereal. Not a ton to it, but sometimes it’s what you want on a lazy Sunday
Overall: This show come recommended by a friend. And while I won’t say it’s my favorite of the season thus far, it’s not a bad start. It’s another show about girls forming a club, but has the wonderful bonus of being a bit more focused on the sport/activity of the club than just “cute girls do stuff,” which is beyond boring, let me tell you. So this show is relaxing and you don’t have to think much, so it’s great for that. I’m still unsure how much pull this show can have compared to others like the above APlace Further anime, but I’m willing to give it more time to expand a bit.
Continuing Titles: March Comes In Like a Lion
I was pleasantly surprised this returned! I felt like the last season wrapped up well enough, but I look forward all the same to joining these characters again!
The Ancient Magus Bride
I so wanted to review this earlier, but this is one of those longer shows, so we’ll just have to hang tight a bit more for that full review. It’s coming! I promise!
Touken Ranbu – Hanamaru
This is an odd one… it should be fansercvice city by the set up, but so far? Not so much. That said, there’s not much going on either so, yes, this is another one I have on while doing chores.
I owe a friend a favor and this is my payment. On the upside, I’m watching it along with him so we exchange jokes, plus the show is a five minute episode type, so it’s not a long one. Still…. there is so little effort in this it’s a mystery why anyone bothered to translate it…
We have a HUGE taste testing this time with SIXTEEN titles to try out. I have a feeling not many are going to make it past episode one, but the only way to find out is to dig in. Let’s test these suckers out!
Flavor: Sand; almost no taste, but the crunch of the tiny rocks makes you want to smack someone
Thoughts: From the way this anime is presented visually, I could tell it was really trying to become this season’s artsy hit, a la Flip Flappers. But if you thought that show was boring, wait until you try this one out. It sets itself up right off the bat as a monster-of-the-week, uninteresting male character saves women from themselves while a little “sister” looks after him type of show. On their own those cliches are sins. Together in the span of a few minutes makes for quite the nasty taste. How a show using strange dream worlds manages to be more boring than watching paint dry is beyond me. Maybe because we don’t have time to attach ourselves to any characters. Maybe because the set up itself makes no sense. Maybe the show was written by a twelve year old. Who knows. But I have zero interest in watching more, honestly. I’ll probably be fair and give it one more episode, but I’m not holding my breath.
Thoughts: When “slice of life” opens up with a heavy fanservice kiss scene between two female leads, I mentally check out. That is the very first scene. I was dead the rest of the episode. Ya know how uncomfortable I was with the fanservice aspects of Interviews with Monster Girls? That uncomfortable feeling is all I had for this show. Another one I’ll probably just skip.
As an aside, I don’t mind characters of various genders legitimately falling for one another. That’s not what was going on. It was a scene very obviously curated to get male viewers hot and bothered. I’m beyond done with that.
Thoughts: As I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before, I love a good straight man in a comedy and this show definitely has a solid one. The fact that I actually chuckled a bit in the first episode shows some hope. Unfortunately the episode ended on a sour note by having the female lead grope another girl for no reason. Japan needs to stop having that a thing. It doesn’t occur. It’s not funny. Just stop. I’ll be giving this show more watches for now, but if it relies on cheap fanservice it WILL fail for me as a comedy.
Flavor: Nice and crisp, if not all that fresh or new
Thoughts: I actually enjoyed this one (hallelujah). The premise has promise and the characters aren’t messing it up by being overly bland or creepy to the extreme. The biggest downside to this show I can see is them rushing the intro to our lead hero brothers. There’s a lot of exposition during combat that really glazes over their story and cheapens the tragedy of their situation. I can only hope future episodes take more time with these characters and allow them to endear themselves to the audience more naturally…. I’ll definitely be watching more of this one.
Thoughts: I wanted to enjoy this, but I didn’t and I can 100% chalk that up to the incredibly boring male lead and hyper stereotypical female leads. I’d much rather a male lead that has some goals or at least doesn’t constantly speak in a monotone over the current anime trend of the most bland cut outs possible. It really kills potential for a show… That said, I wasn’t insulted by this title, so it will get a few more episodes watches from me. I don’t have high hopes though.
Thoughts: Not a bad start, actually. I really do hope the comedy is put first before the sports considering the setup is pretty perfect for it. The opening episode is a bit tame joke-wise but it was a nice ease into the show’s setup. Even though I wasn’t enthralled, this it wasn’t insulting and even shows a bit of promise. I just hope they don’t try the drama road as this show doesn’t seem to have the makeup for that…
Flavor: A hint sweet, but pretty tasteless overall
Thoughts: If you dig romance this one is…. fine. It’s not great by any means and the animation is pretty cheap here and there, but this show didn’t offend my senses and thus, despite it not having that much going for it, I’ll probably give it at least one or two more episodes. No clue if I’ll finish it though…
Flavor: Slightly sweet with the barest hint of salt
Thoughts: This is one of those more laid back shows concerning youkai that I will likely neither hate nor love. It just is. A human is living with youkai (gasp!) and shenanigans ensue. It’s not at all unique, but, if done right, can be charming. Ideally I’d like for this to be a great comedy, but the first episode felt far too at ease to be setting up for that… Maybe I’ll be wrong. Since I’ll be giving this show a few more episodes, we shall see.
Thoughts: The sports anime genre is hitting the bottom of the barrel here. Quiz games? It’s true that there are tricks about hitting the buzzer quickly and stuff, but it’s really not this dramatic. Not even close. It’d be a bit funnier too if all the lead characters weren’t so darn serious about it. As episode one stood, I couldn’t quite laugh at it, but the serious tone didn’t really fit either. I hope better interactions between characters might smooth out the mood of this…. I’ll give it a few more episodes…
Also they really needed someone fluent in English to double check that title… xD
Flavor: Definitely not local cuisine but it’s not entirely from somewhere else either….
Thoughts: You can tell from tonality alone (especially dialog) that this show isn’t a run of the mill anime. That said, it still falls for some of the classic anime tropes and cliches. Interestingly enough, many of those cliches are quite dated and aren’t typically seen that much anymore, such as the male lead who will do anything for food but really does have morals under all his devil-may-care-attitude. I’ve never been too fond of that cliche in particular, but, hey, it’s better than those monotoned, lazy leads we seem to get so often now. It’s not much, but I’ll take what I can get.
Overall I feel weird about this one and can’t place whether or not I liked it… At the very least I’ll give it another episode to see… Kinda confusing taste, to be honest.
Flavor: Bland. I can sense sugar is in this, but it still retains no flavor
Thoughts: Boring. So, very boring. And when this show isn’t being boring, it’s being incredibly stereotypical. If the leads weren’t the most snooze-inducing tropes in anime, I might find the world set up vaguely interesting. But, alas, we are denied such luxury. To be fair, I’ll probably give this show another episode to see if it can try to be even the barest hint entertaining, but I doubt anything will change.
Thoughts: This isn’t a new concept. This isn’t a unique show. But I will say right here and now that I was very pleasantly surprised by how non-creepy the lead is. Yeah, I know that shouldn’t be that big of a deal, but these days it really is. Honestly. It was incredibly refreshing to watch the hero focus on learning bits and pieces about the world he now lives in without staring at a girls chest in every scene. If fact, he doesn’t do that at all, despite being surrounded by girls very early on. He treats them with respect and, interestingly enough, as if their gender doesn’t even register for him. No leering, no weird comments, just respectful let’s-build-a-team-and-hunt-monsters attitude. And I enjoyed that so much it hurt.
We also get hints of more interesting ideas, like the fact that the hero’s cell phone can tell him about news from a world he can no longer be a part of. That might become a very interesting plot point in the future… In any case, I liked this one, even if it was pretty bland. But it was a pleasant sort of bland that goes well with a meal, so this show will definitely be getting a few more episode watches from me.
Thoughts: Another shocker for me as this was another title I expected grade A creeper lead and instead, well, he may not be super lovable, but creepiness isn’t on the radar yet, thank goodness. As can be gathered from Crunchyroll’s synopsis this is another typical nerd boy gets set to a fantasy world after dying prematurely type thing. Except the heavy fanservice I expected would throw this show out the window never came up. At all. No boob shots, no panty shenanigans, none of that. The most cringe-y thing about this show is how tech nerdy the lead can get about robots, but honestly? That doesn’t bother me much. Maybe that’s because I myself own some Gundam models and really love them so I can somewhat relate (though not quite to this show’s extent). In any case, I found a lead who really does just care about robots and NOT about gettin’ some from every female on screen with mech on the side, wonderfully refreshing. It’s too soon to say if I like the characters as a whole or the world yet. So far they’re pretty typical, though they do show promise. Without messy fanservice taking up precious screen time we just might get a decent story arc or two out of this. We’ll have to see.
Thoughts: The only reason I even tried this was because all I knew was the title and thought we might get a nice romance about not judging by appearances and have a rounded cast of both guys and girls and… nope. Mistake noted after the first shot very obviously (and poorly) “censors” the lead female’s panties. Solid drop right there. Don’t think I’ve ever dropped a show faster in my life. Knew the cleaner anime premiers would end eventually, but that was still jarring. Crunchyroll really needs to get on with a better tag system for this stuff….
Thoughts: Another drop only a minute in. Again, I don’t mind if your show is yaoi or yuri or whatever. But date rape is NOT ok. Stop it. Do NOT want. Again, Crunchyoll, PLEASE get a better tagging system.
Well, out of a total of sixteen (!!) premieres tried, we have twelve that will at least get one more episode to redeem themselves, though only around half of those seem to show promise. As is pretty common, I doubt that many will get full reviews, but ya never know. It does have more titles going for it than last season, but we’ll see if any turn out to be anything beyond just “ok.”
What are you watching this season? Am I wrong about any of the titles I’m dropping or find lack luster?