It’s my birthday, but I’ve got nothing better to do than post my first blog rankings of the Summer, so here we go again~
As usual, I’ve got a list of 18 shows, some old, but mostly new. I made sure to cut it down to 18 this time… because next week, I’ll be adding in two of the late airing shows! Here’s what I’ve picked up at this point, though:
2 – 91 Days ep 1
4 – Amanchu! ep 1
6 – Orange ep 1
8 – Rewrite ep 1
10 – Cheer Danshi!! ep 1
12 – Handa-kun ep 1
13 – Macross Delta ep 14
17 – New Game! ep 1
Starting in the order I watched them, we have Rewrite. Good use of a double-length episode here, it did a fantastic job of introducing our protagonist and the rest of the cast, without giving too much about their secrets away. I was expecting a generic everylead, but Kotarou ended up being my favourite character from the series so far (though the phantom night-biter was very cute as well). A good mix of comedy, mystery and horror, and the fact it jumped straight into things made it feel much different to the gradual reveals of previous Key anime adaptations.
Those production values! Orange looked and sounded absolutely amazing. The expressive faces and fun dialogue made the whole cast instantly likable, so I’d probably have picked this up even if it was a regular rom-com. The letter from the future just adds to the series’ appeal though – just how closely will Naho heed the warnings of her future self, and will the changes actually achieve anything?
Next was Tales of Zestiria: the X. Ufotable has done it again, this first episode looked absolutely incredible! I’ll certainly be looking forward to this each week for my action fix alone. The pacing was a bit all over the place, hence the low rating in this first week, but seeing as it was just a prologue to set the scene, I’m hopeful that won’t be an issue going forward. The music was great, the world it’s set in intrigues me, so if the plot and characters manage to live up to the same high standards as everything else, this could be something really special.
Taboo Tattoo offered fast-paced, brilliantly animated fights, and the comedy (though ridiculously dumb) was also to my liking. Whereas Berserk offers blood and guts (etc etc), Zestiria has swords and sorcery, and the returning Arslan provides full-scale warfare, Taboo Tattoo’s one-on-one martial arts fills a niche of its own in what should be a great season for action junkies such as me! Hopefully the plot development won’t be too generic.
The first episode of New Game! was mostly character introduction, with little to no focus on actual game making, but hopefully that’ll change now they’ve announced their next project. It has an all female cast, and there were slight shoujo-ai undertones at times, but whether or not that’ll go anywhere also remains to be seen. What I do know based on this first ep is that it has the usual 4-koma adaptation feel to it, which I always like~
Cheer Danshi!! was just so cute. The friendship between Haruki and Kazuma is a wonderful thing, and if I’m thinking that at this early stage, it’s clearly done a good job introducing its characters! And the awkward third
wheel club member Wataru was hilarious as well, which has me optimistic about the many other characters that have yet to join. Animation was pretty decent, character designs were lovely, and the cheerleading premise is a new one for me, so it makes my list.
Prior to watching, I wasn’t hugely enthusiastic about Amanchu! But then, I didn’t pick up on the fact that this series was based on a manga by Amano Kozue. It quickly became obvious though – the hilarious facial expressions, the long dresses, the cat-blobs, the comedy and pace and feel of the show… this first episode was beautiful. Pikari is easily my favourite new character of the season, and Amanchu! has the potential to hold out even in a season full of action shows. It just made me feel so happy!
Not quite as big a shock, but Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou no Alderamin also impressed me despite my low enthusiasm pre-season. The fantasy military setting is of interest to me at this early stage, but hopefully they’ll actually provide some deeper world building as the series progresses. The more immediate, ‘shipwrecked in enemy territory’ plot development was also good, and I look forward to seeing how they get out of the situation. Characters were all very different, and their long-winded light novel dialogue was actually interesting, so it’s definitely worth keeping on for now.
Leading in terms of the all-new shows is 91 Days – I liked everything about this first episode. Aside from the obvious drama, betrayal and action that you’d hope for from a mafia show, it nailed the atmosphere. What’s not to like about prohibition-era America as a setting, with its illegal bars with bulletproof counters inside churches? 😛 Animation, music and dialogue were brilliant. A lot happened in this first episode, and there’s plenty yet to be revealed, but unlike certain other (dropped) series this season, 91 Days’ first ep made me want to keep watching and find out more.
Last, currently least (in my rankings and elsewhere), and the biggest gamble of the lot is Hitori no Shita: The Outcast. Zombies are far rarer in anime than in Western media for some reason, so it has that going for it. I’m also intrigued by the cleaver-wielding, ID-faking Baobao – trying to bury the protagonist in his own grandfather’s empty grave then leaving him for the zombies somehow endeared her to me! 😛 Nothing personal though, as Chulan himself seems like a good lead… I’m never going to be able to pronounce those Chinese names though. Animation-wise, not that spectacular, though I’ve seen worse. Hopefully the plot and characters will continue to make up for the meh visuals.