Another season ends… slightly different this time though, in that I won’t be posting weekly rankings for the Winter 2018 season, or for the foreseeable future after that. I’m aiming to cut down my anime viewing to 8-9 weekly series, and will dedicate the time saved on things like this to gaming instead. Can’t imagine this format working with half the number of series.
Thankfully, it seems we’ll be ending on a high note, as most of this week’s final episodes have risen to the top… though not necessarily in the order I’d have predicted!
2 – Kekkai Sensen & Beyond ep 12 (↑ 1)
3 – Inuyashiki ep 11 (↑ 1)
4 – Houseki no Kuni ep 12 (↑ 1)
5 – Shoukoku no Altair ep 24 (↓ 3)
6 – Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou ep 12 (↑ 10)
7 – Garo: Vanishing Line ep 12 (↑ 7)
8 – Osomatsu-san S2 ep 12 (↑ 5)
9 – Mahoujin Guru Guru (2017) ep 24 (↑ 8)
10 – Juuni Taisen ep 12 (↓ 1)
11 – Anime-Gataris ep 12 (↓ 3)
12 – Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau ep 12 (↓ 1)
13 – Kino no Tabi (2017) ep 12 (↓ 7)
14 – 3-gatsu no Lion S2 ep 11 (↓ 7)
15 – Just Because! ep 11 (↑ 3)
16 – Hozuki no Reitetsu S2 ep 12 (↓ 4)
17 – Mahoutsukai no Yome ep 12 (↓ 2)
—Coming first out of those which ended this week, Kekkai Sensen & Beyond was a sequel worth watching. Stand-alone episodes focusing on days in the lives of its large and fantastic cast was a format that worked well, and a two-part finale focusing on main character Leo, his sister Michella and the eyes that have put them both through so much grief was a great way to round it all off. I guess if I could have had anything done differently, I’d have wanted an episode focusing on Klaus – the leader of Libra didn’t really have much of a chance to stand out as an individual this season, with most of his screentime involving him helping someone else to take down a Blood Breed or other villain. I guess there’s always the chess-like Prosfair game episode from S1 for that, though. Strong production values thoughout.
Just behind it is Inuyashiki; I had no idea what to expect from the final episode. It certainly didn’t feel like a series that was about to end – Hiro’s deadly rampage was only just beginning, and despite finally facing Inuyashiki and losing, he was able to survive. Cue giant meteor headed towards Earth, that not even Donald Trump can do anything about! :O It’s a somewhat cliche ending, a major threat to the entire planet that forces our protagonist and villain (who does have some people that he truly wants to protect) to work together and ultimately sacrifice themselves to prevent it. But, it was executed well. Besides, in hindsight, what else could they have done at this point? Nothing else on Earth could have stopped Hiro, so unless they introduced more weaponized humans or aliens or something, the series pretty much had to end after his first big fight with Ichirou.Though not #1 this week, or for the season overall based on these average rankings, it’s Houseki no Kuni that will likely stick out in my mind from this season. Such a bizarre series, I struggle to even define it. Slice of life in a very strange world, featuring immortal anthropomorphic agender gems, a mysterious and powerful bald guy, and frequent attacks by creepy moon people? Beyond that, we got a few clues here and there (from the king of the Admirabilis etc) about what’s going on in their world, but I agree with Phos that the only way they’ll learn anything substantial is to confront Sensei directly. Hopefully we’ll get to see how that goes in a sequel. Regardless, here was a series that really utilized 3DCG animation well, and Phos’ struggles, development and changes (both physical and mental) certainly had me gripped.
And the final finale to rank in my Top 5, it was back to talking, strategizing and diplomacy in Shoukoku no Altair. Very much setting up for what will happen next, if it gets a sequel, which is a common way to end anime these days. But, it wasn’t a bad place to conclude things – though it seemed like the Balt-Rhein Empire were unstoppable throughout most of the series’ first half, Mahmut was able to lead a series of successful battles to drive them back. He is rewarded with a new position governing Chielo, and aims to make sure that its people, resources and culture are respected – a smart leader, but we knew that already. Unfortunately (for him and his dreams of peace), Zaganos is taking advantage of his victories to justify an invasion of the Empire itself! This has been a great series overall, though with some episodes being far more enjoyable than others.Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou smashed its previous record of 10th, with a very bittersweet ending. We saw footage of different human lives from before the apocalypse, and the girls discuss whether or not they’re lonely with just the two of them. We learned that ‘Nuko’ was a juvenile from some sort of pollution-cleaning fungus-animal. They tell Yuuri and Chito that according to their sensors, the two girls are now the only humans left alive… which makes me wonder what became of poor Ishii and Kanazawa. It seems even our main duo’s lives might not last much longer, as the nukos are almost done with their cleaning, and apparently the next stage is a long period of dormancy before the planet’s rebirth. But, for now, they decide to continue travelling onwards and upwards. A very atmospheric, beautiful and often hilarious slice of life series, glad I gave it a second chance in Week 2.
Also making its single-digit debut (for both the seasons during which it aired), Mahoujin Guru Guru (2017)‘s finale was solid. I was disappointed when I learned that the big bad Giri was in fact a creation of Kukuri’s subconscious, just an excuse for her to go on an adventure and make new friends with her Hero Nike by her side… fortunately, this wasn’t true, and we got to see a real showdown with a generic demon instead. All the previous villains they’d fought showed up for the final fight, but they were joined by all their old allies too, for a grand final battle that was equal parts exciting and ridiculous. Eventually, Giri was sealed away, and despite desperately needing the loo, Nike is finally able to accept Kukuri’s feelings of love. It felt like the ending of several RPGs I’ve played (albeit far less serious), and given that this series parodies RPGs, that’s surely the intent.And now, a couple of final episodes that I’m largely undecided on. Nezumi didn’t stand out from large cast of Juuni Taisen, having deliberately avoided conflict and stuck to the one path out of 100 that allowed him to survive. This week we got to know him some more, through a look at his PRESENT self after the battle, rather than flashbacks to his past. Seeing him in a school uniform, the subject of mean remarks from his classmates, it’s hard to imagine he’s the same warrior that took part in the tournament! But though he’s earned whatever wish he wants, though he has an ability that lets him test out a hundred wishes for free, and though Duodecuple even confirms that wishing for more wishes is an option… he just wants to forget that the tournament ever happened. While I understand his reasons, it does feel like an anti-climax after all those characters died!
To think that I was expecting a regular club anime from Anime-Gataris! The signs were there right from ep 1 that this wasn’t exactly a realistic series… but talking animals aren’t all that rare. In anime. Neither are girls with super-skilled butlers and unlimited wealth. In anime. Virtually every unrealistic thing that happened was something I’d seen before, in anime, so I didn’t question it too hard and put it down to the show being quirky, and Minoa playing the tsukkomi role. The revelation that the ‘anime world’ was spilling out into the ‘real world’ just made SO MUCH SENSE. And all this happened because Nakano (who it turns out was an anime character right from the start… okay, they all are, but you know what I mean) didn’t like his true name of Aurora, and wanted it rewritten. 😛 Clever, but not the most exciting or dramatic single episode of the week, unfortunately.Just avoiding the red, Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau took a similar approach to Shoukoku no Altair for its finale. On the Mud Whale, we saw a brief rebellion by the short-lived Marked against the ‘weak dictators’ of the Unmarked crushed in its infancy, as they instead decide to band together, which is what those who died to protect their home, friends and family would have wanted. They choose to set sail towards another island, where they won’t be hunted, and where their lives won’t be drained by the Whale. Meanwhile, main villain Oruka is planning another attack with a larger force, for reasons so far unexplained. While this series had a good amount of world building and mystery, to rival the likes of Houseki no Kuni, the boring characters were its downfall for me – I doubt I’ll bother with any sequel it may get.
And bringing up the rear as far as the final episodes are concerned is poor old Kino no Tabi (2017). The latter episodes had been SO GOOD, even if the two previous ones were stories I’d seen before. The Kind Country was used as the last episode in the 2003 series, so I can understand why they didn’t end with that a second time, but the 11th episode focusing on Kino’s backstory wouldn’t have been bad. Instead though, episode 12 saw Kino get attacked by sheep. Really badly animated 3D sheep, with freaky voices. After leaving Hermes behind and retreating, Kino finds a jeep (left by a past victim of the sheep), and proceeds to run them over, blow them up and set them on fire. It was quite surreal, even by this series’ standards. And then, Kino lay on a hammock and talked with Hermes about journeys and endings for 5 minutes. I’ve seen worse… but it wasn’t great.—
And finally, here are these series’ average rankings throughout the whole season:
1 – Inuyashiki (2.73)
2 – Houseki no Kuni (3.42, best score: #1 (twice))
3 – Kekkai Sensen & Beyond (3.42, best score: #1 (once))
4 – Juuni Taisen (4.83)
5 – Fate/Apocrypha (4.92)
6 – Shoukoku no Altair (7.00)
7 – 3-gatsu no Lion S2 (7.09)
8 – Kino no Tabi (2017) (8.42)
9 – Ballroom e Youkoso (9.36)
10 – Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau (10.08)
11 – Hozuki no Reitetsu S2 (10.42)
12 – Garo: Vanishing Line (11.29)
13 – Osomatsu-san S2 (12.33)
14 – Anime-Gataris (12.67)
15 – Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou (13.64)
16 – Mahoutsukai no Yome (13.83)
17 – Mahoujin Guru Guru (2017) (15.33)
18 – Just Because! (15.50)
That tie-breaker for 2nd and 3rd place! :O I’ve never had to use three different stats to determine which series came out on top before. I’d be tempted to call it a tie, if it weren’t for my aforementioned soft spot for Houseki no Kuni.
Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau somehow scored well, despite me caring very little about it; I guess each episode was a visual treat, and the music was good, but I’d still say I preferred Anime-Gataris or Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou if asked.
And bringing up the rear is poor Just Because! – I still think it’s been great for a romance anime, and though the animation has suffered a bit in the second half, I think its ranking says more about my taste in genres than anything. 😛