Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Spring 2017 Anime Final Thoughts

Hot damn, what do you mean I haven't even worked on a post since March?!
As I continue to struggle to figure out a new, sustainable posting schedule for NI (and probably won’t until September, grad school starts at the end of August and omg my life is going to be busy as heck) I did find the time to write about the spring shows I finished with a few exceptions:

The first set of exceptions are my three carry-over shows: Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul, My Hero Academia Season 2, and Sakura Quest. I will be talking about those shows, and writing related essays on them, once they wrap up in the fall.

 The other set of exceptions are two series where I’m more interested in writing short essay on aspects of them rather than doing one of these quick write-ups. Those two are The Eccentric Family 2 and Atom: The Beginning. So hopefully I will have two short essays up later in the month as well, and my thoughts on the summer shows should be posted soon too!

 Now, onto everything I finished, including some shows I started very late in the season (link to ANN pages for summaries so save myself time & energy hah).

Alice & Zoroku - I’m fairly tired of the “adult character [usually male] has to suddenly raise young child [usually girl]” but A&Z sidestepped this issue a bit by making it a story about magical powers as well as child-rearing and that the adult in question (Zoroku) was a takes-no-nonsense type of man who was already raising his granddaughter anyway. It was a show that was both charming and odd, I’m curious to read the manga now to see how they compare but I’m not sure I loved the show enough to commit to purchasing either at this point.

 Kabukibu! - I am so sad this show was on Anime Strike since it means that so many of my friends who would have enjoyed this show missed out! I was no big fan of kabuki before I started this show and while this show didn’t change that in the slightest (I just can’t stand the delivery) I still had an enormous amount of fun watching a mismatched group of gung-ho high school students put on amateur kabuki plays for fun. The personalities were fun (I especially liked the lead Kuro, he has dreams of a kabuki club but he’s also amusingly practical about it which tickled me) and the story was able to weave in both the serious and silly without trouble. I know this is based on a light novel series (with lovely Clamp character designs) and I’m interested in reading the original now, especially if there’s uncovered material. 

 Kado: The Right Answer - What an interesting mess of a show. We have an all CGI production, originally planned to be a movie, changed to a tv show (and they had to add in some 2D animation for the sake of time), not based on a source material and the story is about an alien making first contact of us instead of them. Wow! At times Kado is an extremely slow moving slow, I actually dropped it halfway through because of how slow it was and then picked it up again near the end due to hearing how crazy it had become, and I do think it begins to unravel in the end. There are a couple of weird reveals, at least one ass-pull depending on how you count it, and my god having the occasional 2D animation next to the CGI animation did the CGI no favors. There were a few areas where the CGI looked great, like the giant Kado cube but otherwise yeesh, there’s still just something off with the shading and character movements.
All in all Kado is a super mixed bag, you might like some of the characters but find others infantilized, find some of the debates and politics interesting and others grossly over-simplified, and I’m still not sure how I feel about it! It certainly was a thing that happened, and thankfully the CGI wasn’t as disastrous as the CGI for the second season of Berserk, but those are two pretty low bars to clear. 

 Natsume Yuujinchou Roku (Natsume & the Book of Friends Season 6) - I’m still a little baffled by why we got new Natsume so many years later (same for Durarara!!, based on what those two series have in common there’s plenty I could speculate for studio politics but that’s not really interesting here) but don’t think that means I didn’t enjoy it. We finally get a hint about Natsume’s grandfather, Natori finally finds out about the Book of Friends, and there are indications that Natsume’s human circle of friends has grown even more he thinks it has. All in all, good season, just what I want from the show!

 Tsukigakirei (As the Moon, So beautiful) - I really do question the grammar of the English-language title every time I see it (I mean, we’re missing a verb and in English you usually accompany adjectives with the verb “to be” as a helping verb…., I think it’s supposed to be a reference to Natsume Soseki's work) but this was a really great romance! It was initially initially on my to-watch list until I saw some people bag on the concept before it aired (one should only pay attention to people bagging on a thing only after it’s been release!) and this was probably the most introspective look I’ve seen at middle school students since Wandering Son. I wouldn’t call it the most accurate portrayal per-say, being that middle schoolers are often pretty darn weird and rowdy which these kids were not, but I was able to buy into the characters and the romances perfectly fine. I loved how both Akane and Kotaro have their own passions and hobbies and that you really see both of them spend a lot of time working on them (writing and performing traditional dance in Kotaro’s case and track in Akane’s) and for me that was part of the reason why the show worked for me. Yes it’s a romance and yes it’s about middle schoolers, but we saw so much of their lives outside of this one relationship that Akane and Kotaro felt like real characters and I’m a sucker for those stories!

 World End/Suka Suka - This was one of my very late pick-ups, I didn’t start watching until the show was finished actually, and I enjoyed this non-isekai, light-novel based fantasy. I viewed it as “a story primarily centered a romance but with lots of side plots” and while I didn’t actually know going in that this is a tragedy in some ways it became clear early on that it would be and I was fine with that. Partially since it was a change of pace for me and partially since, well, if the story makes it clear by the first or second episode that there is great potential for Things To Become Sad then I can’t really get mad at the show for that aspect!
The original light novels aren’t licensed in English but I hope they will be, apparently the series is complete in 5 volumes, clears up a few things, and this adaptation didn’t cover all of the volumes so I’m curious about what we didn’t get to. I’ve read some summaries of background details the anime didn’t get to and wowza, I’d like more info on that weirdness please!

 And there you have it folks! I’ve been working on some backlogged shows as well, most notably I started a Symophogear binge while dealing with a migraine and I’ve kept it up in the hopes that Crunchyroll simulcasts the fourth and current season EVENTUALLY, but those will get their own posts sometime in the future!!