popular demand force of habit, another all-new weekly ranking lineup for the spring season. Here’s what I’m watching, and what I thought of some of them (the non-sequel/spin-off ones that stood out the most, for better or for worse). Due to large numbers and high appeal, I’ll be starting with 20 instead of the usual 18.
I have included some shows that are getting ripped apart by most people, and I’ve left out some of the more popular titles, keeping on only the things I either really liked, or am morbidly curious enough about to put up with until they prove themselves/get dropped mid-season. So as ever, I’d be curious to hear other people’s thoughts on my list, or the season in general!
2 – Kiznaiver ep 1
6 – Bakuon!! ep 1
11 – Mayoiga ep 1
13 – Joker Game ep 1
15 – Anne Happy ep 1
17 – Endride ep 1
18 – Haifuri ep 1
19 – Kuma Miko ep 1
20 – Shounen Maid ep 1
Aside from the two early airing sequels, Mayoiga was the first thing I watched this season. Now this one really caught my interest. I’m loving the large, varied cast, though I do wonder who’ll be the first to get killed off… assuming it’s even that kind of show! Though there’s a real horror vibe going on, we don’t know what awaits our tour group on the other side of that bridge, but I’m very interested to find out. Perhaps the bigger mystery, though, is why the hell they got back on that bus after the driver went berserk, even apologizing to him for making a mess!
Mayoiga was soon followed by Endride, one of those series that may have benefited from airing so early. I enjoyed the first episode, though I’m getting more ‘guilty pleasure’ vibes than ‘masterpiece’ ones from it. Crystal-obsessed schoolboy finds a particularly nice specimen in his father’s workplace, and gets transported into a fantasy world (and that’s why keeping SCPs in offices is never a good idea). I’m liking the different humanoids and chibi dragons this world has to offer, though I’ve not heard enough from the main characters to form any opinions of them. Animation and music were alright, but nothing spectacular.
Kuma Miko might also have struggled to make my lineup if it had aired today, but there’s certainly potential for hilarity given the unusual setting and character relationship. In the first half, I sympathized with our miko protagonist’s rural issues, and her interactions with the bear were amusing – but the second half was a bit weird. It feels similar to Gugure! Kokkuri-san from a couple of years back, though not as good. But then the ending theme started playing… and if that doesn’t end up being the best ED of the season, I’ll be surprised. The 4-koma segment after the theme was also cute.
Double episodes always help when it comes to first impressions, since they have twice as long to set up the premise and introduce the characters, but since Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu was split into two separate parts, I can safely say I was sold by the 20 minute mark. Main character Subaru somehow ends up in a fantasy world (something that barely phases him), but has no money, no magic, and no purpose. He latches onto the mysterious half-elf Satella, and they spend the A half searching for her stolen insignia. Plenty of fun dialogue, if a bit slow in places. As for the B half… wonderfully dark, and Noto Mamiko voicing a villain will always score bonus points from me! I like the large variety of demi-human character designs, even if the 3D background ones’ constant swaying back and forth proved distracting at times.
Bakuon!! really isn’t doing well in the ratings on MAL and A-P, despite most of the posts I’ve read being positive. I absolutely loved it – brilliant characters (my favourite is the silent, permanently helmeted Lime-senpai), fantastic humour, plenty of attention to detail when it comes to the bikes, and (perhaps most importantly) they have permission to use actual manufacturers’ brands and names, as well as permission to slander those names as much as they see fit (so long as at least one girl is a fan to provide neutrality, I guess). No doubt we’ll be hearing more about the club members’ loyalties and hatred of lesser bikes in the episodes to come~
With a setting as interesting as pre-WWII espionage, there was no way I was going to drop Joker Game. The first episode introduced our protagonist (spy-hating military man Sakuma), but at this point we don’t know much about the eight agents themselves, other than that they come from ordinary civilian backgrounds. Maybe we won’t ever learn anything more about them, due to it all being top secret. The animation, music and direction were fantastic, but it wasn’t the most thrilling of introductory eps. Still, I really look forward to seeing their skills in practice next week!
Bungo Stray Dogs provided more in the way of instant gratification. A penniless, starving protagonist who got kicked out of an orphanage and is being stalked by a tiger gets involved with two equally strange private detectives with supernatural powers, and hilarity ensues. Followed by action, which was all very nicely animated. Anime has taught me enough to know that all the characters are named after famous Japanese authors, and their powers loosely based on the famous works of those authors, which is a nice concept.
I really didn’t expect to like Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja Nai to Omotta? as much as I ended up doing. There have been a lot of anime focusing on MMORPGs, but I believe this is the first one I’ve watched where characters who’d only ever talked online have agreed to meet in person. Their first meeting was so awkward, and so amusing! I’ll let the ‘coincidence’ that they all happened to go to the same school slide, as that was my only complaint. I look forward to seeing how their online and offline relationships will develop over the course of the series!
Next up was my #1 of this first week, Koutetsujou no Kabaneri. Everything I’d hoped for, and more! There’s no escaping the Attack on Titan comparisons in terms of look, sound, feel and premise, though to me that’s really not a bad thing – the more high-budget steampunk action anime, the merrier! One obvious difference is the character designs, which I absolutely adore. I like our main character, a steamsmith, scientist and inventor who’s determined to find out more about the zombie-like Kabane in order to better identify and defeat them, something most others seem too paranoid or superstitious to do.
Kiznaiver‘s first episode was a close second! Far better animation than I’m used to from Trigger, but with all the usual style and great music. It’s the premise that really interests me, though – our cast of six (possibly seven, since she compared them to the deadly sins?) characters, the most varied and colourful bunch since Mayoiga, are now connected, and feel each other’s pain. Exactly what effects this will have on them, and their relationships with each other, should hopefully make for interesting viewing.
Maybe it’s my environmental science background, but when the synopsis said Haifuri would be about girls who dream of ‘protecting the sea’, I immediately though conservation, preventing pollution etc. Even when they started boarding their Destroyer class battleship, it didn’t immediately click that they meant protect in the military sense. Facepalm. So this is another moe meets military show, though the characters are humans as opposed to ships themselves. But they’re given command of a whole ship, armed with live torpedoes on their first day of high school, so still not the most realistic of settings. The reason I’m not immediately dropping this is that something in this otherwise happy show clearly isn’t right, with the girls being accused of mutiny by the end of the episode! Could just be a test, but the instructor’s cold, dead eyes seemed to suggest otherwise, so curiosity got the better of me!
Bringing up the rear is Shounen Maid, which I don’t really know what to make of. It had a decent enough first episode, Chihiro and Madoka are likable characters… but presumably there will have to be more to it than just Chihiro cleaning for the rest of the series, even if there are enough rooms in their house for that! I found the maid uniform a bit plain compared with the rest of the costumes Madoka had on offer (though the cat pajamas were great). And then there was that ED theme, which seemed completely unrelated to anything! Should make for a harmless, slow-paced and relaxing series to contrast all the action, but hopefully it won’t prove too lacking in a lineup unusually high on comedy.