Spring 2017 Anime Season Preview and Expectations

Holy smokes, the spring 2017 anime season began today. Where did time go?! Also, did I really not publish anything since the Winter Season Preview? Turns out that is the case. Real life was busy, mood was low. But things are looking up, finally. Anyway, it’s time to look towards the new season, and put behind us a season where I watched literally nothing, though I looked forward to quite a bit.

As always, in these posts I cover shows I plan to follow, or have thoughts on why I will not follow them, or considered following and decided not to. As always, I try to strike a balance between giving you enough information on the show, and telling you why I think it is or isn’t worth watching. Shows ordered by day, and by expectation within the day, as that affects pick status. The “Almost In” category describes shows that I’d pick up in prior seasons, but decided to put aside in order to make more time for backlog, after growing unhappy with how many of the shows I pick up ending up “not worth the time”, let alone “good”.
Much space is given to the people involved with a show, as premises are easy, but execution is hard, and it’s people who are in charge of that. You’re likelier to end up with good shows that way.

Most of the information about the shows can be had from the helpful Neregate Chart, and what I’ve happened to see on various sites, such as The Cart Driver. Check them out if you want more information, or information on shows I didn’t cover (such as follow-ups to shows I don’t watch). I planned to write only when I really had something to say this time, but turns out, as always, I had a lot to say.

Sunday:

Uchouten Kazoku Season 2 anime - The Eccentric Family Season 2 anime 2Uchouten Kazoku 2nd Season / The Eccentric Family 2nd Season – Uchouten Kazoku was my 7th favourite anime series in the very strong year of 2013. And although I didn’t dedicate an entire piece to it, I did touch on its storytelling in my piece on Kyousougiga (Capital Craze). It was a story about loss, and family, and trying to fall in love. It got very emotional at times, while being silly, or ponderous in others. A good show. A second season? I’m watching, you can bet on it. Of special note is that season 1’s Series Composer Suga Shoutarou (OreGairu, Isshuukan Friends) is not working on the second season, but has been replaced by Higaki Ryou, who worked on the first season’s script, and also worked on Kuromukuro, Another, and Dimension W. Feels like a definite downgrade. Also, for those who don’t know, it’s based on novels by the same author as The Tatami Galaxy.

You can read my notes for the first season here, which are much shorter than my usual notes, as I only wrote them after watching an episode and not as it aired – didn’t want anything to get between me and the show.
Interest Rating: 2.5/3. A more serious yet not overwhelmingly so show. Comfy and emotional, no idea what the second season is about, but I’ll check it out. I do hope the change in Series Composer won’t be detrimental.
Airing Date: April 9th.

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Attack on Titan / Shingeki no Kyojin – Between Monstrous and Human

Attack on TitanAttack on Titan - Shingeki no Kyojin anime poster (Known as Shingeki no Kyojin in Japanese) is certainly the most popular anime of the Summer and Spring 2013 anime seasons, and also the best selling one. Based on a manga, we have an action show where people die by the bucketloads. A hundred years ago titans appeared, huge monstrosities that forced humanity to wall itself within a huge state-wall, and now they live under siege. Our protagonist, Eren Jaeger, is a determinator determined on killing those titans, after they break into the small section he lives in, and he loses his parents.
Let’s be honest – everyone loves action shows, well drawn action shows. Everyone likes bloody, grim and gritty settings. It’s easy to understand why people like this show. In this show, humans are helpless, and they are killed by titans left and right. The show has definite themes of helplessness and being cattle.

One thing a show’s ending is useful for is presenting the show’s themes, or at least presenting themes that you can look back rethink the whole show through the lens of. The lens I chose for this post is the one pushed quite heavily toward the end of the show, but which had been present throughout – the distance, or the tension between becoming a monster and being human. The question is usually raised in the manner of “Are you willing to turn into a monster in order to defeat monsters?” or in the same way that Code Geass had raised its question – “How much are you willing to sacrifice in order to win?”

(This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that have risen in my mind as I’ve watched it. There will be spoilers of every single large plot-twist in the show’s first season.)

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Anime Season Midterms – First Impressions – Summer 2013 (Sunday)

The final part, Sunday. Quite a few shows, some of them even air on Sunday, or late enough at night that I can’t watch them before I get back from work. Definitely a strong day in terms of the shows it contains, probably the strongest day. I work on Sundays, alas, making it not as pleasurable as it could’ve otherwise been.

Part 1 (Monday-Thursday): Blood Lad, Makai Ouji – Devils and Realist, WataMote, The World God Only Knows Season 3, Free!
Part 2 (Friday): Gin no Saji, Rozen Maiden (2013), Stella Jogakuin Kotou-ka C3-bu, Danganronpa, Servant x Service, Love Lab, Toaru Karaku no Railgun S (continues from Spring season).
Part 3 (Saturday): Gatchaman Crowds, Kiniro Mosaic, Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya, Genei wo Kakekru Taiyo
Part 4 (Sunday): Monogatari 2nd Season, Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi, Uchoten Kazoku, Genshiken Nidaime, Shingeki no Kyojin (continues from Spring season).

Genshiken Nidaime - Genshiken 2nd GenerationGenshiken Nidaime / Genshiken 2nd Generation – Genshiken Nidaime is one of my two favourite shows of the season. Most slice of life shows either have no conflicts (unlike real life) or are just a catch-all term for anime-sitcoms. Genshiken Nidaime returns us to the college club of the past where the characters discuss anime, manga, and video games, but as most of the old cast had graduated we have an influx of BL (Boy Love)-loving girls, and Hato-kun, a cross-dresser.
If you ask me, most so-called comedies aren’t really funny, and when they’re funny it relies on visual gags. Genshiken isn’t a comedy, but when it is funny it is funny because these moments are set up and resonate with the characters’ personalities.

This is a show that feels like someone took literal slices out of someone’s life and had decided to give them to you for you to taste and savor. The way the show deals with issues of gender-identity and sexuality is also relatively mature, certainly more mature than what you usually come across in modern media in general and anime in particular.

The cast is mostly quite likeable, and even if you don’t like all of them, then you can either relate to them or think of real people they remind you of, or just come off as real people, to one degree or another. This is definitely the show we need, even if it’s not the show we asked for, and dealing (maturely) with issues of sexuality and gender-identity will not help its sales, which is very sad.
Watched: 7/13
Current Grade: A+. You should watch it if you’ve watched the original Genshiken. You should watch it if you hadn’t watched the original Genshiken, and then you should watch the original show.

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Weekly Anime Impressions – Summer 2013 Week 3.5 Impressions

Stella Jogakuin c3-Bu - A Girls' Airsoft Club. Gets weird this week!Well, another week, and another week in which I’ve decided to do a weekly run-down of the shows I’ve watched. I need to catch up on my blogging and finish some drafts I have half-written, hopefully this week. I did use my extra time from dropping/putting on hold a couple of shows and finished two books this week – The Android’s Dream by John Scalzi, and Neil Gaiman‘s The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Both were fun if not super-deep reads.

Well, this week I’ve watched “only” 12 episodes, a marked improvement over last week’s 16, right? Right? Anyway, here is a breakdown, of the episodes and the shows as they stand as a whole. There will obviously be spoilers.
Shows covered: Watamote, Kamisama no Inai, Danganronpa, Uchouten Kazoku, Stella Jogakuin c3-bu, Rozen Maiden 2013, Genshiken Nidaime, The World God Only Knows S3, Gatchaman Crowds, Shingeki no Kyojin, Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S (A Certain Scientific Railgun).

In a week or two we’ll reach episodes 5-6 of most shows, so I’ll probably pick up a couple more shows/pick them up again (*Blanch*) and probably drop a couple of shows as well. I can’t wait for this season to end, it’s just too good.

New Shows:

Have Me Hooked:
Shows that were impressive, I am highly intrigued and will keep on watching:

Gatchaman Crowds – This episode wasn’t as fun as the second episode, but part of the fun of episode 2 was how unexpected to me it’s been. The show keeps on dealing with the nature of leadership, diffuse decision-making, and the gamification of life. The way it deals with this concepts is quite multi-layered thus far, and I can hope it goes in a certain way. The show still has a lot of energy, and quite a bit of zaniness. It feels next episode we’ll get some more darker-plot-meat undergoing, rather than “merely” thematic-content.
Watched Episode 3.
To Watch? If you didn’t get up to episode 2, then certainly. If you didn’t like episode 2, I guess you can give it a drop.

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Weekly Anime Impressions – Summer 2013 Week 2.5 Impressions

Gatchaman Crowds Summer 2013 anime

Gatchaman!

Last week I’ve covered the first week of episodes. I am not sure if this will be a weekly thing or not, but I was quite busy with school-obligations in the beginning of the week, and I’ve watched 16(!) episodes from the Summer 2013 anime season, so I’ve decided to spend at least another post describing these episodes. Not all shows air at the same time, so for some shows I’ll cover episode 2, and for others episodes 2-3.

Also, I’m definitely going to be cutting/putting on hold some shows, including shows that are “solid”. I’ve had 15 currently airing shows on my watch list this week, and with me working full time, wanting to read books (I’ve read Steven Brust‘s To Reign in Hell this week), and wanting to enjoy all the games I purchased during Steam’s Summer Sale, 15 shows is just not sustainable.

I’ll break the shows down by how much I’ve cared for them, and also their nature. I will include second-third episode spoilers. I consider these things to be part of the premise, though.
Shows covered: Watamote, Kamisama no Inai, Danganronpa, Stella Jogakuin c3-bu, Blood Lad, Makai Ouji, Rozen Maiden 2013, Genshiken Nidaime, The World God Only Knows S3, Gatchaman Crowds, Fate/Kaleid Prisma Illya, Shingeki no Kyojin, Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S (A Certain Scientific Railgun). I didn’t watch  Gen’ei o Kakeru Taiyo (Day Break Illusion) and Uchoten Kazoku this week, but will catch up on them tomorrow, due to time constraints, and actually picking up two extra shows.

New Shows:

Have Me Hooked:
Shows that were impressive, I am highly intrigued and will keep on watching:

Gatchaman Crowds – I’ve watched both episode 1 and episode 2 this week, meaning this is a new show I’ve picked up. I’ve actually watched a few episodes of the original Gatchaman in a convention and have some faint memories of it. Anyway, this is sort of a Power Rangers show, but if anything it reminds one of a buddy cop show. The main female character is a happy go lucky super energetic girl, who doesn’t obey authority because it’s authority (she’s not rebel, she’s just oblivious to the power plays), and the main male character is a by-the-numbers, annihilate the alien scum kind of guy. The show also deals with the nature of leadership and power, and diffuse responsibility.
I’m not super crazy about the artistic direction, but it definitely is interesting.
Watched Episodes 1-2.
To Watch? Super interesting, hope they’ll keep with the endless energy displayed in episode 2. Don’t judge it by episode 1.

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Anime Season Begins – Summer 2013 Week 1 Impressions

Watamote - Watashi ga Motenai no wa dō Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui!For the first time I’ve watched over 10 episodes at a season’s start, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on the multitude of shows I’ve been watching. I will most likely not post in this format weekly, and the next such post will come around week 5-6 of the season, as I believe many series take about five weeks to really get going and show us what they are worth. I might also drop some shows, hold off on some shows till week 5, or pick up new series after 5 weeks based on what people are saying.

I’ll break the shows down by how much I’ve cared for them, and also their nature. I will include first episode spoilers. I consider these things to be part of the premise, though.
Shows covered: Watamote, Kamisama no Inai, Uchoten Kazoku, Danganronpa, Stella Jogakuin c3-bu, Blood Lad, Gen’ei o Kakeru Taiyo, Makai Ouji, Rozen Maiden 2013, Genshiken Nidaime, The World God Only Knows S3. Will also mention Monogatari 2nd Season, Shingeki no Kyojin and Railgun S.

New Shows:

Got Me Hooked:
These are the shows that I’m definitely picking up, at least until they fail to deliver for several weeks in a row.

Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui (It’s your fault I’m not popular) – known as WataMote; This show follows an unpopular girl as she enters high school where she is sure she will be more popular. It doesn’t happen. This is a comedy, and sort of a cringe-comedy, which often make watchers uncomfortable. I laughed all along the first episode, I didn’t find it cringe-worthy, and it wasn’t due to sympathizing or empathizing with the main character. I am eagerly awaiting new episodes.
The casting of Nakamura Yuichi was played Kousaka Kyousuke in OreImo for a very similar role is very fitting. Also, super kick-ass metal opening.

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