Here are my final thoughts on the anime series that both started and finished in the Spring season, the 12 – 13 ep series. People may remember from my mid-season thoughts that I was watching Lupin III, Steins;Gate and Boku no Hero Academia – since they’re still ongoing, I went back and picked up three more series to make up the numbers. Here’s how my lineup looked by the end of the season:
8: Lost Song
I nearly missed this, as it aired on Netflix; I’m used to ‘web anime’ being flash animated shorts, so never look at that section of the season charts! Even after finding it, I almost dropped it, as that first episode was generic and cliched to the extreme. But, a shortage of other options coupled with the fun songs made me reconsider. I’m glad I did.
I soon warmed to the party of Rin, Al, Pony, Alyu and Monica. The comedy and music just about made up for the still-generic plot. Then there was the directionally challenged and ever-suffering Finis’ story running alongside, and the white knight Henry, a character who seemed to be in just the right place all the time. I looked forward to the point when both main characters would meet… then, shock mid-season plot twist. Well-played, Lost Song, very well played. But that’s about the only thing that wasn’t completely generic.
An anime adaptation of a gacha game, that spent most of the series making its in-game purchase system seem unfairly rigged AGAINST the player, while also warning of the dangers of overspending this magical, otherworldly ‘yen’. I liked how self-aware Last Period was, and though there have been tons of other anime in the past that rely almost entirely on parody and references, few have nailed the humor as well as this one, IMO.
I liked the ‘villains’ Wiseman, quite often they seemed nicer than the heroes (aside from the bright and innocent Haru). And I’m still not sure whether Choco is a person or a pet, but her memes and jokes were on point. The only episode that didn’t make me laugh much was the Kemono Friends parody, surprisingly – how do you mess that up? Regardless, an amusing series overall.
Still bringing up the rear when it comes to series from my first list. I guess a lot of my annoyance comes down to the fact that Genet was so obviously Sister Jill, yet Honey was oblivious right up until the ‘big reveal’. Even Last Period’s Campanella/Kuropanella was more convincing! There were quite a few animation derps, and (in my opinion) we didn’t get to see enough of Honey’s different transformations either. 😦
However, the series certainly picked up in the second half, and I did find myself looking forward to each new episode a lot. The drama with Tarantula Panther, who was torn between her loyalty to Jill and the disillusionment caused by Jill’s cruelty, was a highlight, she was by far my favourite character. Wasn’t sure what to make of the ending – very ridiculous, but very Go Nagai. 😛
Horse girls! They can outrun a car. Their kicks can send a grown man flying several metres. They have weird names. They have pointy ears, and tails… but not long faces. They like to race competitively. And for some reason, after the race is over, the course transforms into a stage, and the girls who finished 1st through 3rd put on an idol performance for the audience. It’s all a bit odd… but strangely charming.
Uma Musume had most of the things that make a good sports anime – friendly rivalries, early wins followed by a big loss for our main character, injuries and comebacks, amusing training episodes, the lot. Watching Special Week and Team Spica improve was very enjoyable. I do have to wonder how much more impressive their race times would be if they wore clothing and footwear remotely suited for running, though. 😛
Amanchu! Advance went in a surprising direction, with a good 3-4 episodes focusing on the world of fantasy and dreams. 😮 I guess I shouldn’t have been TOO surprised – this is an adaptation of an Amano Kozue manga, and Cait Sith also made an appearance in Aria… but then, Aria was about Venetian-style gondoliers on Mars. I didn’t really expect the same from a high school diving anime firmly set on our Earth!
In all honesty, I’d say those dream episodes were the weakest. I don’t know why I feel that, the variation from the usual slice of life/diving and focus on other characters aside from the main duo (Ai and Katori-sensei) should have been a refreshing change. I guess I just really like Pikari and Teko, and their ridiculous chibi faces. 😛 Aside from that, a good sequel that really focused on the passage of time, and growing up.
3: Comic Girls
Comic Girls is one of those series that I really, really enjoyed watching weekly, but that I could see myself forgetting about quickly as the seasons go by, now that I’m no longer watching it. It didn’t have much in the way of originality, it just did the whole ‘cute girls being cute’ thing exceptionally well with a likable cast, brilliant voice acting and laugh out loud comedy, aided by its interesting manga-creation theme.
I repeat what I said in my mid-season thoughts: Kaos is a great main character. The contrast between her regularly terrified and useless-feeling side and that slightly perverted side of hers was a combo I’ve not seen before. Her terrible attempts at creating manga provided plenty of laughs, but it was great to see her get her work published in the end.
The only series to have kept the same rating that I gave it in my mid-season post… and yet, the only series from that first lineup to have moved down, when you consider that my Boku no Hero Academia isn’t in this list. While it remained good up until the end, I think that the best episodes were in the first half, especially the first episode’s interviews, and Magical Marin. 😀
That said, the second half of the second part of the second series had some highlights: episode 7 (or is it 20? 33? I give up)’s Lord Henjo’s mechanical/clockwork offices were nice from a visual point of view, the penultimate ep gave a fun conclusion to the story of the ogres from Momotaro’s legend, and then there was Shiro’s experience with the Nikeichu… would definitely watch a third/fourth series, or an S2 Part III! I’ll stop now.
1: Golden Kamuy
Not the prettiest series animation-wise, but certainly the most interesting of the season in terms of plot and premise. It gave me the action that I so love from anime, as well as plenty of comedy and ridiculous faces (which felt like an awkward clash with the early episodes’ otherwise serious tone at first, but soon became a highlight for me). I’m also glad that Shiraishi stuck around and joined their party, as he’s a brilliant character.
Highlights from the second half include the ridiculous battle against Henmi Kazuo (complete with random orca), the more serious showdown between Tanigaki and the Ogata-Nikaidou duo happening alongside it, and ep 11’s murder hotel (I do hope we’ll see more of Ienaga in the future). 😀 Definitely good enough to overtake a flagging Hozuki, and the announcement of a sequel certainly helped matters as well!