As expected, my lineup increases from eighteen to twenty series this week; there are still a couple of VERY late airing eps still to come, but at this point I think I’ll stick with what I have until the middle of the season, or else I’ll end up adding/removing things all season!
1 – Princess Principal ep 2 (↑ 2)
2 – Made in Abyss ep 2 (↑ 2)
3 – Senki Zesshou Symphogear AXZ ep 2 (↓ 2)
4 – Shingeki no Bahamut – Virgin Soul ep 15 (↑ 1)
5 – Boku no Hero Academia S2 ep 15 (↑ 5)
6 – Kakegurui ep 2 (↓ 4)
7 – Fate/Apocrypha ep 2 (↑ 6)
8 – Shoukoku no Altair ep 2 (↓ 2)
9 – Ballroom e Youkoso ep 2 (↓ 3)
10 – Gamers! ep 1
11 – Centaur no Nayami ep 2 (↓ 3)
12 – Re-Creators ep 15
14 – Vatican Kiseki Chousakan ep 2 (↓ 3)
15 – Katsugeki Touken Ranbu ep 2 (↑ 2)
16 – Nana Maru San Batsu ep 2 (↓ 2)
17 – Hitorijime My Hero ep 2 (↑ 1)
18 – Keppeki Danshi! Aoyama-kun ep 2 (↓ 2)
19 – Sakura Quest ep 15 (↓ 4)
20 – 18if ep 2 (↓ 11)
It’s hard to tell how good a school club series will be from the synopsis alone, as they all sound pretty much the same on paper. The first episode of Gamers!, however, was very good. It’s all in the writing and direction; the jokes were really funny and exceptionally well timed, characters (and their backstories) really different and likable. There was also a lot of (mostly comedic) foreshadowing in the form of weird annotations on screen, something I’ve not seen before. The club itself was interesting – they’re all gamers as you might have guessed, but successful pro gamers who’ve managed to pay for all their consoles and equipment with their winnings. This doesn’t suit our protagonist though, who prefers to play just for fun… resulting in a nice subversion of the usual ‘guy with no interest is dragged into a club and ends up liking it’ trope. Should prove a good laugh!
Mahoujin Guru Guru (2017) is a full remake, so there’s no need to have seen the 1994 series or later sequel (which I haven’t, despite meaning to for years). Our protagonist Nike is forced onto the path of a hero by his parents, teams up with the powerful but clumsy mage Kukuri, and has now left his home town on the King’s orders in search of quests and adventure. I love the look and style of the series – it is clearly aimed at fans of old RPGs, often switching to pixel art, and showing character screens displaying HP, levels etc. All very well animated, as I’ve come to expect from Production I.G. The character interactions were really funny, though it doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of depth to any of the cast. A well-executed and entertaining parody all-in-all… slightly fast-paced perhaps, but that can actually be an advantage for comedy series.
We’re still in the character introduction phase in Fate/Apocrypha – understandable given the size of the cast, and no cause for concern since this series will apparently be 25 eps long. But as the high rating would suggest, I like the ones we’ve met so far! Vlad the Impaler, Frankenstein’s Monster and Jack the Ripper were among the most easily recognizable names on the Black side, and I liked Astolfo for obvious reasons. 😛 I mean, Mordred and Shakespeare over on the Red side are cool enough, but I’m definitely siding with the villains at this early stage! Most of the Masters being adults is definitely a plus, hopefully they’ll be more competent and less annoying than those of Fate/Stay Night. What little action there was towards the end looked FANTASTIC, and the accompanying music was good as well. Should be Top 5 material, once it’s warmed up.
Boku no Hero Academia S2 rejoins the Top 5, back where it belongs! I wasn’t sure I’d like this arc so much, as while Midoriya learning new (less-destructive) ways to use his power is essential to the plot and to his character development at this point, seeing him bounce around Gran Torino’s kitchen wasn’t quite as exciting as the tournament arc that just finished. 😛 But then, his training was cut short by something far more interesting: Shigaraki (the villain who raided U. A. High School in S1) tries to recruit the Hero Killer Stain to his side, and succeeds in doing so… but got so annoyed by the guy in the process that he decides to send MULTIPLE over-powered Nomus after him! With Midoriya and his new mentor getting involved, as well as Iida trying to take out Stain and avenge his brother, things couldn’t get much more exciting!Moving down:
Despite coming out on top out of all the all-new shows last week, Kakegurui leaves my Top 5 this time. It just felt too similar to the first episode – Yumeko was challenged to a luck based (yeah, right) card game with lots of money riding on the result, lost initially, convinced her opponent to play one more round for higher stakes… then won by a landslide, having worked out her opponent’s trick due to innate Epic Gambling powers. If it weren’t for the great faces, overly dramatic reactions and just general OTT presentation, I might not even have rated it this episode as highly as I did. Still, it’s early days – Sumeragi is small-fry, but having beaten her and
Mike Saotome, Yumeko has now come to the attention of the school council. Hopefully we’ll see some longer, closer-fought matches before long, or something a little more fun than picking cards at least.
Considerably more disappointing was the second episode of 18if… a lot of people seemed to dislike this series from the first ep, but I was quite charmed by its bright colours and interesting animation/direction style. Ep 2 just felt very flat to me – a girl whose family was murdered just for fun by three youths ends up succumbing to the Sleeping Beauty Syndrome, becomes a witch, and decides to use her powers in the dreamworld to kill the culprits in their sleep. Which she does. And which our main character ends up assisting with, against the advice and wishes of Professor Catguy. I mean, the fact he isn’t just some apathetic witch-slaying Goody Two-Shoes makes things a little more interesting I guess, and the amount of violence/gore was unexpected, but aside from that it wasn’t exactly thrilling. I’m hoping we’ll get some more answers as the series progresses.