Well this has been a weird start to the season. Still no release dates for Lupin III or Digimon Adventure Tri, so I’ll be moving on without them. I already delayed things as long as possible so that I could pick up Sidonia no Kishi, and even that wouldn’t have made my lineup if the subs came out a day later! 😮 Second episodes are already out for exactly half the shows I’ve picked up, so I have quite the backlog to work through when I’m done writing this…
Anyway, welcome to the start of my weekly rankings posts for another season! As usual I’ll be looking at the all-new, non-sequel series in this first post, of which there are twelve, two-thirds of my lineup. A full list of what I’m watching and how highly I ranked them in comparison to each other is just below the next image, so if you haven’t watched any of the listed series, bear in mind that there may be spoilers to follow!
10 – Show By Rock!! ep 1
14 – Oregairu Zoku ep 1
17 – DanMachi ep 1
18 – Re-Kan! ep 1
Starting with the highest rated, Kekkai Sensen – this first episode was pure style. And what amazing animation too, I only hope they can keep it up for the entire series. The setting of a New York cut off from our dimension, where humans and other weird beings coexist (largely) peacefully is an interesting one. As for the plot, there were snippets of information throughout, but to a large extent this was just character introduction and beautiful, beautiful action scenes.
Arslan Senki wasn’t quite as pretty, especially in the scenes featuring heavy use of CGI, but I’ve seen worse. And that’s my only complaint about the first episode, which did a fantastic job of introducing main character Prince Arslan, his relationship with his parents the king and queen, and the world in which the series is set. I love him as a protagonist so far, as despite his current naive opinions on slavery, he’s inquisitive and wants to learn more about the world. I’m hoping he ends up like Yona eventually, a strong warrior with a stronger sense of justice. 🙂
More well-animated action and interesting settings in Owari no Seraph: this time humanity has been decimated by a virus that effects only adults, and the remaining pre-teen population is promptly enslaved by vampires and kept alive for blood farming. That’s certainly different! Aside from that the first episode progressed in quite a generic fashion – an escape plan fails, and all the protagonist Yuuichirou’s friends and family are killed, apart from the one brother left behind with grievous wounds (who I’m predicting will show up later as a villain 😛 ). Yuuichirou makes it out alone… and ends up in high school judging by the next episode preview! I’m hoping that isn’t a sign of more generic to come…
Gunslinger Stratos completes the lineup of action shows with cool settings, though it’s the weakest of the bunch based on first episodes. It starts off in a world one step short of Psycho-Pass‘ Sibyl System, where paint-balling and lightsaber battles seem to be part of the high school curriculum. We’re told that a number of people have disappeared without a trace, despite the high-level surveillance, and by the end of the episode we find out where it is that they’ve likely gotten to, when our main character follows a holographic girl (who feels like the younger sister he never had?) into an abandoned area of town… only to then fall into another world and end up in a real gunfight with his evil twin. No doubt all will be revealed eventually. 😛
Plastic Memories makes my Top 5 for the week, with an episode that for me struck a perfect balance between emotional drama and hilarious comedy. It’s the future, there are robots that are indistinguishable from humans… but they have a short life span. This series focuses on the group tasked with collecting those ‘Giftia’ whose service life is approaching its end. With heart-breaking emotional farewells in the first episode, I can only assume it’ll be even better if it takes a few episodes to build up future Giftia and their owners/families. Comedy comes in the form of Isla, a veteran and a Giftia herself, whose methods of retrieval weren’t what I was expecting!
Shokugeki no Souma was also hilarious, and looks as though it’ll have a bit more going on in it than last season’s food reaction anime Koufuku Graffiti. The introductory episode saw titular character Souma fight using food to protect the family restaurant, only to learn that his father intended to close it down anyway! Souma ends up being sent to a culinary school instead, but unlike with Owari no Seraph this doesn’t worry me in the slightest, as from what little we’ve seen so far, this hardcore school with its 10% graduation rate seems anything but generic!
Due to Lupin and Digimon not materialising, and other series I had high hopes for turning out disappointing, Re-Kan! makes my lineup from the reserve pile. There was nothing wrong with the first episode, other than the fact that other comedy shows this season made me laugh more. Having said that, I do like 4-koma adaptations for their multiple, quick-fire gags, which this first episode had plenty of. I’m not expecting a huge amount of character development or any running plot, but better something that makes me smile than something that makes me cringe!
DanMachi (or Dungeon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatte Iru Darou ka? to give its full title, but even I feel that’s too long) is another reserve – I like fantasy settings, and this one has plenty of the usual elf ears and cat ears and other traits that I find inexplicably attractive… but so far, that’s about it. The game-like but apparently real setting with levelling up and questing for drop items being a part of daily life is fun, but as the title suggests, our protagonist is more concerned with finding love than defeating the last boss. And the girl currently closest to him, the goddess Hestia, seems a bit irritating so far (also, what’s with her under-boob string?). Hopefully it’ll improve as further characters are introduced/developed.
Though action/fantasy series make up the majority of my lineup, I do like variation, which is where Ore Monogatari!! comes in. Set in the real world (with some additional sparkles here and there), it’s a standard shoujo romance series with a non-standard male lead. Gouda is a nice guy, but he’s big and quite awkward, and from early on in life has always lost his crushes to his good-looking but cold and stoic friend Sunakawa. Things seem to be looking up after he saves a girl named Yamato from a molester, and start to form a friendship from there, but Gouda is so used to failure that he is convinced she would never love him, and decides to try and support her relationship with Sunakawa instead. And so the love triangle begins!
Hibike! Euphonium also takes place in a real world high school brass band club, and seems as though it’ll be a passable slice of life show, with fantastic animation as usual from Kyoto Animation, but hopefully a bit more focus on actual club activities than K-ON! Not much else to say about this one until the characters are further developed and club activities are fully under way, but I like that the club’s performance to the new 1st years sounded just about good enough to appeal to potential new members, while also sounding very off in places – they’ll need to improve a lot if they want to go on and win competitions!
Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku also focuses on school clubs… but in a far less realistic school than Hibike! Euphonium. It reminds me of Baka Test, but with clubs as opposed to classes battling to decide who gets the best bedrooms, food, facilities etc. And if you choose not to be a member of any clubs, it’s a hard life that awaits you. 😮 There seems to be something else going on there – part of main character Eruna’s entrance exam involved an interview with a talking, flying cat, who is also a teacher, and who only some people can see – but if it does have a larger plot yet to be revealed, I doubt it’ll be anything too serious.
And finally, Show By Rock!! The series that broke my brain. I still don’t know what to make of it, but it certainly has the rest of the season beat when it comes to craziness and madcap energy. Main character and seemingly normal human Cyan dreams of joining her school’s light music club, but doesn’t have the courage to apply. Then, she is is sucked into her phone, turned into a chibi cat girl, and defeats a giant skeleton with the power of rock music. She is then scouted by an egg, and forms a band with a dog, a rabbit and an alien sheep. Plenty of other things happened, but I only have so many words, and some of it probably can’t be described with words. This first ep is definitely worth a look, if you haven’t already!
Feel free to comment letting me know what you’re watching, what you think of my choices, how I’ve ranked them, or anything else relating to this Spring’s new anime! 😀