New season, business as usual… for the most part. This Spring has decided to be awkward in a lot of ways. Since several really interesting-looking shows are still to air in the coming week, my lineup for now sits at *just* 16 series. I hope to increase it to 18 or (more likely) 20 for Week 2, so if you only usually check my first posts to see what I’m watching, be sure to come back next week as well! In the unlikely event that all the late airing shows disappoint, I do have some reserves in mind out of those I’ve so-far dropped.
Further awkward-Spring season clarifications: The ranking for Berserk (2017) is for the first episode only, despite the double airing. I’m fine with being one week behind, and if an episode doesn’t air at any point in the future then I’ll be back up to date. The ranking for Seikaisuru Kado is for the first episode as well, not ‘episode zero’, whatever that is. The rating for Alice to Zouroku is for the full double-length first ep – despite my attempts to keep everything to one ~20 minute episode per post, I’m not so stubborn that I’d cut it in half. 😛 And as ever, I’m restarting the numbering for any sequels at 1, regardless of whatever the official episode number is.
7 – Re:Creators ep 1
9 – Kabukibu! ep 1
11 – Berserk (2017) ep 1
13 – Sakura Quest ep 1
15 – Hinako Note ep 1
16 – Sagrada Reset ep 1
As usual, focusing on all-new, non-sequel shows for this first post. Starting from the top: yes, I’m rating something above the two Shingekis! But what an introduction we got from Seikaisuru Kado. A mysterious cube 2 km in size appears out of nowhere, engulfing a plane carrying over 250 people on it. This week we saw how the Japanese government and those outside the cube reacted to this development – basically, by letting a hyperactive mad scientist fire tanks at it. FOR SCIENCE! But seriously, given that there were few big developments between the cube’s appearance at the start and the emergence of the unknown alien bishounen at the end, it still had me gripped throughout, so I can only imagine how good it’ll be once the two sides interact with each other! The 3D animation was of decent quality, far less clunky and unnatural than in other anime that use it, which is of course a bonus.
Meanwhile, at the bottom we have Sagrada Reset – I picked this up because I like series that mess with time travel; also the character Haruki Misora, despite first seemed cold and emotionless, feels everyone else’s sadness as if it’s her own, which makes her very different and interesting. All the moreso when you stop and consider what she and Asai Kei could get up to with their powers combined! However, the dialogue in this episode was SO DRY! Very little in the way of comedy, plain animation and character designs, and a lot of standing around talking about deep subjects in monotonous voices meant that this was by far the least exciting first episode (of those that I didn’t drop, at least), despite all the plot potential. Also, beware, there are spoilers for this EVERYWHERE, even in the official synopsis from Sentai Filmworks!
A first glance at the key visual resulted in me writing Renai Boukun off as ecchi trash, but don’t judge a book by it’s cover AJ, this was really funny! An angel dressed as a shinigami (cosplay is her hobby), wielding a Death Note ripoff plot device whose effects keep getting added to and exaggerated as the episode goes on, forces our protagonist into a four-way relationship featuring the two of them, his yandere crush, and her incestuous sister. It was madness from beginning to end, not a single dull moment. Hopefully there’s enough material there for it to remain as strong throughout though, as I often find such comedy series rank highly at the start of the season, but get repetitive and drop after a while.
Just behind it in terms of laughs is Oushitsu Kyoushi Haine. Our new royal tutor protagonist is dedicated and seems skilled (despite a lack of university background), but his five princely pupils don’t want to be taught, and seem to have put his predecessors through hell. Though briefly introduced to all four princes, this episode focused mostly on Leonhard – he initially comes across as a vain and rude jerk, however his true personality is soon revealed to be as adorable as his looks during his 1 to 1 interview. Looking forward to the other interviews and characters!
All new to me since I didn’t watch the pre-aired episodes, Granblue Fantasy The Animation feels like very standard fantasy fare: A girl with mysterious and potentially world-threatening powers falls from the sky, where she’s found by our protagonist Gran and mascot character Vyrn, who promise to protect her from the evil-doers who kept her captive all these years. Fantasy is my favourite genre, and I have a strong tolerance for the generic as long as it’s well-animated and set in an interesting-enough world, both of which Granblue Fantasy seems to have going for it; hopefully it’ll prove more interesting than last season’s Chain Chronicle…
Alice to Zouroku had a very similar setup, featuring a young girl with super powers who escapes her long term captors – but rather than a chivalrous young knight, Zouroku is a stern florist in his 70s, who gives the cheeky Sanae and her pursuers a good telling off! The different character dynamics and setting (modern world in this case) proved to be enough to justify picking up both. This certainly benefited from the double episode, which allowed for an action-packed first half to grab my attention, and a slower second half to properly introduce the two main characters. Nothing overly original, but a lot of fun~
High school club time next, with Kabukibu! Am I missing something here? I thought this was a solid first episode, which introduced our passionate protagonist, his scarily knowledgeable info-gathering friend and his club’s potential members/targets exceptionally well. And yet, it seems horrendously low-rated on A-P and MAL. Possibly fans of last season’s epic Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu were expecting too much from it? It certainly fills the void for me in terms of Edo-period traditional entertainment, but obviously you’re not going to get the same level of depth or drama at school club level! Also, CLAMP character designs! ❤ I have no criticisms whatsoever, it loses only to the action I love and the comedies that made me laugh harder.
While one protagonist struggles with starting a club from scratch, the main character of Hinako Note enrolls in a school purely because she was inspired by their theater club’s performance… only to find that said club no longer exists, due to the lack of a supervising teacher! And so, her focus switches to setting up her own theater troupe, and dragging her housemates into it. And what a weird bunch they are. 😮 Again, I feel there’s enough differentiating these two high school performing arts series from each other – if nothing else, their source materials gave both series a different feel. In Hinako Note’s case, its 4-koma origins were easy to tell from the multiple short gags. The opening theme is also glorious.
And then we come to the last two… there’s nothing I can think of that links them. 😛 Sakura Quest saw a university student looking for work in the city instead end up as the ‘Queen’ of a rural tourist attraction, who themselves thought they were hiring someone else due to a mixup with names. The so-called Kingdom of Chupakabura was once a popular attraction, but has fallen on hard times due to the economic slump. Though reluctant right now, no doubt protagonist Koharu and the other youngsters will help breathe some new life into the place. A slow-paced slice of life show with an interesting setting, this should add some variation to my lineup~
I didn’t know what to expect from Re:Creators‘ ambiguous synopsis, but I liked what I saw this week! Our protagonist was happily watching his favourite anime series, when suddenly his tablet bluescreened. Next thing he knew, he was in the world of said anime! But rather than ending up as yet another ‘person in a strange world’ show, the opposite happens: he returns to his world, along with the in-anime anime’s protagonist Celejia! A mysterious villain(?) is bringing various fictional characters into the world of their human creators, their ‘gods’ – why, we don’t know, but I’m interested to find out!
So that’s everything I’m watching, for now at least. Let me know what you thought of any of the above series in the comments, or if there’s anything I haven’t included in my lineup that you think I’m missing out on, feel free to make a case for it – like I say, there will be room for a few more starting next week!