It’s that time of the season.
I actually wanted to record and upload this onto both SoundCloud and YouTube, but I lost confidence while trying to do so. Plus the Twitter poll I posted showed that the majority wants to hear my lower voice. Too bad I only recorded me sounding bubbly. Maybe some other time.
With that sorted out, we can continue onto the actual content. The entries feature the shows that I’m currently following and have reviewed at least once this season and are roughly sorted in order of personal enjoyment. That means I’m not talking about Made in Abyss, sorry. But everyone is praising the show already so I don’t have to be an echo chamber, right?
While this statement may seem redundant to include, I feel obligated to stress that this post is strictly my own opinion. I promise I’m not being a hater (unless you’re stepping up to bat for Battle Girl High School. I wish you the best of luck in that endeavor).
Princess Principal (Episode 6)
I was excited for this series before it even aired. Must be because I’m a sucker for steampunk. Be that as it may, Princess Principal pays attention to minute details which leads to excellent and immersive world building.
Yes, the instruments and gadgets they use are all very cool, but we also get to see how said tools function. This in turn allows the audience to appreciate said instruments beyond flashy appearances and stresses that this is an alternate world where the steam engine wasn’t rendered obsolete by the internal combustion engine. It’s a setting of fantasy and science fiction where amazing things can happen simply because they can.
Unfortunately, the series isn’t taking full advantage of this creative freedom given that they’re relying a lot on clichés for entire episodes. Nevertheless, I believe that strong execution can save uninspired work. With interesting and layered characters as well as the aforementioned and engaging world building, I think Princess Principal can make up for its defects.
…With that being said (wow, this is the last bit, I promise), the series does across as being a bit pretentious. No explanations are given for cavorite, which first appeared in an early 20th century piece of literature; the series just assumes the audience will do the research and look up some early science-fiction (or use the power of Google). This means less wasted screentime, however, so I can’t complain. But I will complain about how the episodes are not airing in a chronological order. I’m all for it if there’s a reason behind this artistic decision, but right now it’s like it was just thrown in there so following the storyline is merely rendered more complicated for no reason.
Okay, I’ll stop here.
New Game!! (Episode 5)
A second season that is following after the heels of the popular first season that aired a year ago, New Game!! has opted to increase the variety of character interaction and to focus on character development. A typical move for a Manga Time Kirara adaptation, as noted by infinitezenith. The series has also opted to retain a noticeable amount of fanservice and “moe pandering.” Furthermore, Hifumi has received an increased amount of screentime to the approval of her diehard fans.
It may not accurately depict an office setting down to the finest detail (eschewing pants just wouldn’t fly in many office environments, for instance) and it may be considered just another “cute girls doing cute things” show, but New Game!! also features a relatable cast who struggle through problems and situations that can be familiar to the audience. For a generation that struggles to find or hold down means of employment, a series that starts off by showing a girl trying her best at her first job very much strikes a note with many viewers. That was the case for me, at least, since I found my first job shortly after the first season started airing last year.
Sakura Quest (Episode 19)
Another continuation (from Spring 2017). The series has really improved in this cour which is largely due to its departure from the surgically neat but predictably uniform 2-episode arcs. Strong character development has allowed the Fab Five to realize to reconsider their previous mindsets regarding reviving Manoyama as well as confront their own individual problems. Viewers can truly relate to the struggles with employment, failed dreams, normalcy, etc. I definitely had Sakura Quest (among other series) in mind when I wrote this post.
That being said, some may argue that the series has seem to have incorporated irreverent side jobs that detract from the main premises of Sakura Quest, but others will claim that life itself similarly meanders and that people have to make detours all the time. I personally am a bit wary of its current development – the girls have placed all their faith in the revived Mizuchi Festival which seems naively optimistic to me. I guess we will have to wait and see.
Ballroom e Youkoso (Episode 6)
The animation has largely been disappointing with the excessive amount of still frames. Some may find the giraffe necks to be off-putting, as well. And so far, the show has been rough on those who dislike seeing female characters being misrepresented. Be that as it may, it appears to be improving in that regard at least. All in all, this is simply another shounen underdog story that knows how to balance humor and drama very well. I sort of dislike how Tatara just happens to be innately talented, but this is shounen, after all. Protagonists who win the genetic lottery is par for the course.
Tsurezure Children (Episode 6)
Each episode is only 13 minutes long and every episode features at least 3 different couples. If I were to compare this series to diner food (and I love diners even though I don’t really live in a place where diners are popular), then Tsurezure Children is basically a sampler platter. You get a little bit of several things and it all feels good while you eat (in other words, it’s funny). Coupled with natural-sounding dialogue and humorous faces, the show will scratch the itch for rom-com series somewhat decently. Just don’t expect that anything deep will be said or that male characters will be politically correct if you want to enjoy the ride.
Action Heroine Cheer Fruits (Episode 5)
Look, the artstyle isn’t exactly to my taste at times and the series as a whole is just another typical “cute girls doing cute things” show. But Action Heroine Cheer Fruits features important life messages, strong characterization, and great gags. This show deserves a little more love, as Zeria aptly puts in this post.
Kakegurui (Episode 6)
Insane high-stakes gambles, nauseatingly ugly faces, and a bitchin’ soundtrack sums up this series. It’s thrilling to watch, but it’s ultimately style over substance considering how we don’t get to actually now what’s going on inside people’s heads. sometimes the rules of the matches are not properly explained, either. As such, viewers may struggle to remain engaged with Kakegurui.
Fate/Apocrypha (“Dropped” at Episode 4)
One of the three series I stopped doing episode reviews for due to various reasons. But I’m still watching the series (yarrr shiver me timbers). I feel like there’s simply too many characters and too little characterization (since there are too many Masters and Servants to balance). I often find myself overwhelmed by how much happens within a single episode, too. The animation as a whole is blurry and unimpressive, unfortunately. However, the series sure does feature some very memorably emotional moments as well as an awesome OP and ED.
Netsuzou Trap (Episode 6)
Yuri anime fans have gotten screwed over so many times that they’re willing to accept this series, which I find to be shallow and fetishistic. The characters are frustrating to watch and the audience is left finding it hard to care about them at all (except maybe Takeda) since they’re terrible people. There are implications of domestic violence, championing of heternormative beliefs, and plain ol’ cheating, after all. All of this is just for the sake of including some juicy drama.
Granted, the series is trying its best with what they can work with since each episode is less than 10 minutes long and the recent episodes have been including decent characterization for Hotaru as well as dawning realization regarding Yuma’s old feelings. Unfortunately, she is too stubborn or too busy being in denial to actually put two and two together.
Fans of messy and ugly “romance” stories are probably enjoying this one. I merely feel obligated to watch this hot mess.
Since I’m going to be called a hater for this, I’ll just play the role and mention that the animation and art is mediocre, too. Now come at me!
Centaur no Nayami (“Dropped” at Episode 5)
I feel like I’m being lectured about the necessity of equality and the evils of discrimination every single time I watch an episode. At first I took offense to this, but I’ve come to realize that this is a type of world building. The author has clearly put a lot of thought into this setting where centaurs and angels and imps and satyrs and mermaids roam around. The policies and punishments are over-the-top for even the staunchest of human rights activists, but it sort of makes sense in this setting.
Even with that, however, the series broaches peculiar topics. Girls end up showing each other their genitals among other things. And the world building is very much controversial. Maybe this is somehow satire and I’m missing the big picture. At any rate, I’m still watching this every week.
Knight’s & Magic (“Dropped” at Episode 3)
I just turn off my brain while watching this show and I have a blast. Knowing how to code makes you the smartest person in the world, everybody.
Battle Girl High School (“Dropped” at Episode 1)
I honestly meant to watch more, but I subconsciously dropped the series, it seems. Couldn’t even get through episode 2 even after resolving myself several times (and several weeks late). A shining example that shows how a stellar voice acting talent doesn’t necessarily guarantee that a series will be any good. Battle Girl High School is simply uninspired and dull. I’m still wondering if I should try to catch up so I can do a series review on this in a couple of weeks.