Big changes to the lineup this week – in addition to picking up four new Winter anime, I’ll be welcoming Nanatsu no Taizai and Tribe Cool Crew back, bringing my list up to the usual 18 series. Expect a lot of down arrows as a result! Nothing gets dropped this time, however. 🙂
1 – Death Parade ep 6 (↑ 3)
2 – Parasyte -the maxim- ep 18 (↑ 1)
4 – Durarara!!x2 Shou ep 6 (↓ 2)
6 – Shirobako ep 18 (↓ 1)
8 – Tokyo Ghoul √A ep 6 (↓ 2)
9 – Akatsuki no Yona ep 18 (↓ 1)
10 – Rolling Girls ep 6
13 – Yuri Kuma Arashi ep 6 (↓ 1)
15 – Aldnoah Zero S2 ep 6 (↓ 5)
16 – Ansatsu Kyoushitsu ep 5 (↓ 5)
17 – Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love! ep 6 (↓ 8)
Making my Top 5 is Nanatsu no Taizai, a series that was consistently placing in my BOTTOM 5 this time last season, causing me to eventually drop it. It seems I was a little too impatient, as every episode from the point I dropped it onwards has been fantastic, so I’m glad I went back to it! I feel this has a lot to do with Ban, King and more recently Gowther joining the group – in addition to being great characters in their own right, the larger cast ensure there’s more to the party’s interactions than just Melodias perving on Elizabeth. A great fight tournament, recurring enemies who are (just about) comparable in strength to the Sins, and a plot involving the reawakening of the demon clan are other things that helped change my opinion on this series. 😀
Topping the mid-table cluster of new shows is Rolling Girls, a series which won me over with its energy and music. It involves four girls travelling by motorcycle from one place to another, settling disputes between (or in the case of the arc that’s just ended, within) the small independent nations that have arisen following the Great Tokyo War. While doing so, they’re also on the lookout for mysterious heart-shaped Moonlight Stones that fall out of the sky… exactly what these stones are all about is a mystery, but they do seem to be able to grant or amplify characters’ powers. So far we’ve seen a cosplay state, and a nation divided between Mie’s motorsports and Aichi’s shachihoko, who can’t even agree on a name for themselves… I look forward to finding out what the next arc will bring!
Junketsu no Maria is certainly a unique series, set during the Hundred Years War in France, and focusing on a witch who desires peace more than anything. Every time England and France clash, Maria summons some huge monstrosity to force them all to retreat… but of course, things don’t quite work out as she’d like. Mercenaries who can’t fight can’t make money, and raid local villages Maria cares about. And her constant use of her powers has brought her to the attention of the archangel Michael, who in addition to assigning the (largely incompetent) Ezekiel to watch over her, informs her that she’ll lose her powers the moment she loses her virginity. The humour is fairly crude – in addition to the running virginity gag, Maria has a succubus and an incubus (currently missing the tools of his trade) as familiars – but it’s certainly not your average ecchi show. 🙂
My only previous experience of the franchise was when I watched the live action movie, years ago, but Yoru no Yatterman has been an unexpected gem! Long ago, the Yattermen defeated their rivals, the Doronbo Gang, and exiled them. In the present, descendants of the gang are still wearing rags and eating leaves in a barren land. Main character Leopard loses her mother after she fell ill, and the Yattermen wouldn’t grant them access to their kingdom to get medicine… and so she reforms Doronbo, with the goal of giving the Yattermen a good flick on the forehead. The show is surprisingly dark – the world is a real dystopia, with people being dragged away from their loved ones for a life of heavy labour, while said loved ones are forced to celebrate this ‘honour’ and salute the Yattermen; this week’s episode was (relatively) light-hearted though, hence the fairly low debut ranking.
Tribe Cool Crew brought up the rear for a lot of the Autumn season, but I decided to bring it back, and it certainly didn’t deserve last place this week! The previous episode showed us the darker side of having celebrity status, as a sniper attempted to take Jey-El’s life at a concert! Fortunately Haneru was there to save the day, and his experience gave him the inspiration behind this week’s new dance, the theme being ‘fighting’. It wasn’t my favourite of Tribe Cool Crew’s performances, and I wouldn’t have known Kanon was playing the part of a princess if Yuuji hadn’t pointed it out, but their handshake with their robopponents at the end to signify making peace following conflict was nice. The highlight of the episode for me was the Sakurazaka twins’ dance – both groups are of course through to the next round of Dance Road. 🙂
The last place in my new lineup went to The iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls, which hopefully won’t be at the bottom every week, as previous episodes have been quite good fun. The cast is completely different to the previous A-1 Pictures iDOLM@STER series: new idols, of course, but also a new agency, much larger and better established than 765, so things are progressing much faster in terms of actually getting live shows and debut singles arranged. New producer too, though so far he’s been a man of very few words. The main downside of Cinderella Girls (for me at least) has been the focus on Shimamura Uzuki and her fellow late-arrivals Shibuya Rin and Honda Mio – they’re alright, but I preferred the more episodic approach of the original series, following a different member of the cast each week for the most part kept things fresh and entertaining.