Already one-third of the way through the Summer season, and through some of the series as a result… time flies. While some anime seem to have settled into a roughly unchanging position, others are still rising, falling or jumping around erratically. Certainly not a boring lineup!
1 – Rokka no Yuusha ep 4 (↑ 1)
2 – Arslan Senki ep 16 (↑ 1)
3 – Durarara!!x2 Ten ep 4 (↓ 2)
5 – Gangsta ep 4 (↑ 1)
6 – Chaos Dragon: Sekiryu Seneki ep 4 (↑ 3)
7 – Gatchaman Crowds Insight ep 4 (↓ 2)
8 – Aoharu x Kikanjuu ep 4 (↑ 2)
9 – Non Non Biyori Repeat ep 4 (↑ 2)
10 – Classroom Crisis ep 4 (↑ 5)
11 – Gakkou Gurashi! ep 4 (↓ 4)
12 – Tide-Line Blue ep 4 (↑ 4)
13 – Overlord ep 4 (↓ 5)
14 – Ore Monogatari!! ep 17 (↓ 2)
15 – Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace ep 4 (↓ 2)
16 – Shokugeki no Souma ep 16 (↓ 2)
18 – Ushio to Tora ep 4
Classroom Crisis escaped the red zone quicker than I anticipated! Throughout episodes 2 and 3, A-TEC’s teacher and pupils could do nothing but watch as all their budget and facilities were taken from them, causing a lot of the class to quit. This week however, their counter-attack finally began, and that was far more interesting to watch. Kaito first approaches the union for help, which they gladly provide… in exchange for being able to use Kaito’s celebrity status for dubious activities. Nagisa responds by promoting Kaito to executive, meaning the union can no longer help him; however, this promotion gives Kaito more powers, and thanks to the rest of his class choosing this moment to return, they are able to work together to find a loophole in order to access more funds. A different kind of conflict to anything else I’m currently watching, and a good episode in general.
Another series that has improved a lot is Chaos Dragon: Sekiryu Seneki – even though I rated it highly from the start due to my own preference for fantasy series, I acknowledged that it had a lot of flaws, largely with the characters, but these are less apparent now. Protagonist Ibuki is still the weakest member of the cast, actively trying to avoid interacting with the others so that they don’t become friends/dragon fodder, but dialogue between the side characters is pretty good. I like Swallow and his unfortunate tool-breaking curse, and the long-suffering Meryl who has to put up with him. Lou and her sword are great too, and I always knew I’d love Narita Ryohgo’s undead merchant. And it seems that they aren’t going to use Ibuki’s sacrificial dragon powers every time they face a strong opponent, as they managed to peacefully negotiate with Gakushou this week. 😀
As with Ore Monogatari!!, Shokugeki no Souma did fairly well last season, but seems to be suffering against the tougher Summer competition. The camp having just ended doesn’t help either – this week’s father-son showdown was predictable and boring in comparison, as was the revelation that Jouichirou previously went to Totsuki and stayed at Polar Star. As ever the food looked nice, but there’s only so much enjoyment I can get from looking at it without also being able to eat it. Shokugeki no Souma will probably escape the red zone once the school throws another ridiculous challenge Souma’s way, but I can’t see the series rising as high as 6th/7th like it did in the Spring.
Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace has slipped two places each week so far, as the flashy animation and directing style slowly starts to lose its appeal. I feel there’s not much else there. When I think of a mystery series, I hope for multiple suspects, clues, and brilliant deductions – so far with Ranpo Kitan, the focus has been on what happened to the bodies, the ‘who’ and ‘why’ seems to be an afterthought. Even this week’s ‘twist’ in having police detective Kagami turn out to be Twenty Faces lacked impact, his character was so undeveloped that he might as well have remained greyed out. In general, ‘weird’ and/or ‘fanservice’ seems to be about the only words I can use to describe any of the characters. I’m really hoping there will be some multiple-episode cases to come, as 20 minutes just isn’t enough time to properly build up a good mystery.
Finally taking first place is Rokka no Yuusha, easily my favourite new, non-sequel series of the season. The seven Braves of the Six Flowers have finally met up, and doubt and accusations are sure to follow. Certainly, the brave-killing Fremy and totally unknown Adlet must look the most suspicious to the others… This is much more my kind of mystery series, trying to work out who might be the impostor over several episodes of getting to know them all; I only hope they’ll adapt the whole novel eventually, or else I may never know for sure! Following the beautiful first episode, the animation quality has dropped in a few places, though I’d say it still looks spectacular when it needs to in fight scenes etc. The CGI fiends may clash with the rest of the art, but IMO that makes them seem more otherworldly and demonic.
At the other end of the list is Ushio to Tora, quite possibly the best worst series I’ve ever had in a lineup! It’s a standard shounen moster of the week series that, in this particularly strong summer season, probably offers the least in terms of originality, which is why I can’t bring myself to rate it any higher. But it’s still fun to watch. The highlight for me this week was watching the all-powerful Tora run amok in the city, dealing with road traffic, and getting put off his meal by everything from perfume to metal accessories. Humans are truly the most terrifying of creatures. 😛 I picked this up knowing full well that shounen series can be slow burners – I’m hoping and expecting a proper story arc or major villain to surface eventually, but as long as it remains moderately entertaining until then, I won’t be dropping it.