Part two! I feel like I had more luck with these shows. Also out one day earlier than I expected – I totally forgot the airing dates on the site I was looking at were the Japanese ones so I got a little mixed up about things airing on the 9th as airing on the 10th.
Akatsuki no Yona
I actually liked this quite a lot from just the first episode. I don’t want to spoil anything as the first episode does have a pretty large story event, but the ep definitely serves as a great intro and hook for the viewer. The main characters we’re introduced to are all pretty likable (especially the princess and Hak, her childhood friend and bodyguard), and it’s handled in such a way I already felt familiar with them in such a short period of time. The story also takes no time in getting started and presents a situation that (if you don’t read a summary) will come as a surprise, and definitely make you want to see what’s going to happen. The art is very nice, the character designs are good (especially the Princess and Hak – her being cute and Hak reminding me of Touya from CLAMP’s Cardcaptor Sakura), and it’s got a nice mix of all of its contents shown off here; cute/fun comedy, some doki-doki romance, and then a taste of the action and drama. I think it may also turn into an adventure/traveling series very soon for reasons that will be obvious if you watch.
It makes me think of old east-asian tales mixed with a sense of a JRPG. The OP, probably my favorite of the season, especially pushes that feeling. Hell, you could have told me it was the opening for a new Suikoden and I’d believe it. I’ll definitely be continuing to watch this and it’s probably the show I’m second most interested in this season and I’m excited to see more. I recommend giving it a try.
For some reason I wrote this out as a numbered list.
1. The OP is really good, second only to Akatsuki no Yona’s
2. You can totally tell just from the OP video that this is written by a VN writer – but I don’t mean that in a bad way at all, actually it has me anticipating a deeply emotional series (it was already a bit sad, even). Also worth mentioning that the lead character is a girl rather than a dude.
3. The art quality and level of animation is very nice. This is no Ufotable production or something on par with Macross Frontier, but it is very well done having come from a completely new studio as their first work. I also like the dad, so I hope he gets some actual attention even as a little side story, though I doubt he will.
Oh, it’s also got a lot of really nice songs already that are full of emotion and fit the scenes perfectly, so I look forward to hearing more and seeing how well the music direction will be further down the line.
My one main complaint is that the main character seems to suffer from having horrible memory because she’s the only one who remembers jack shit. It might be a situation of purposefully blocking that time in her life – and from this writer, given he wrote Kanon which has that type of deal as the entire main backstory for the MC, it wouldn’t surprise me. The only other issue I have, which comes about probably from the fact he’s the writer of a few VNs, is a tendency to create melodrama out of nothing in order to push forward the plot and development of the characters, leaving you rolling your eyes knowing exactly how that specific event will play out. However it managed this time to make up for it at least and turns it into something with genuine emotion behind it somehow.
I do think this has a lot of potential and I really enjoyed the first episode, hopefully it’ll be a rewarding show to watch and I’m looking forward to the next episode. It gives me very similar vibes to AnoHana.
Gugure is a story about a lonely friendless and family-less little elementary school moe that lives alone that ends up ‘haunted’ by a spirit who essentially ends up taking the role of her father and friend. Think Barakamon but more comedy focused and with spirits and a weird loli instead of a hyperactive one (thus changing a lot of the interactions) – it’s even got the same seiyuu as the man in the same role. The little girl that is the main character is completely adorable and portrayed as a tiny midget (though she IS shown as a normal person from time to time, and she’s still cute then too), and her way of speaking only adds to her unique overall character as every line is delivered completely deadpan. The comedy actually hits very well and has plenty of new ideas that it throws about, which ends up with a show that isn’t just funny but actually fairly original as well. The comedy itself is very charming as well.
Definitely recommend checking it out, and I’m pretty much completely certain I’ll be sticking with it for the season. Favorite ED of the season, very quirky and fun.
I’ve been hugely looking forward to this albeit knowing near nothing about it aside some similarities to Nodame and Nodame officially helping advertise for it. It definitely didn’t disappoint. I’d say this is a mix of Nodame and Honey & Clover, two shows that are always come up if you mention one or the other. If you like either, let alone both, this is something you should definitely be watching. It has a lot of the finding yourself, coming of age, and drama of H&C while having the lighthearted fun, character types, and of course the musical focus from Nodame. It even has the same story of a guy being locked away from his potential being ‘saved’ by a very quirky, eccentric, and incredibly talented girl as well.
The animation is very much worth mentioning – it’s a damn beautiful show and the character designs are very well done, the actual animation is very fluid too. The colors are extremely vibrant and everything down to the lines looks so incredibly good and just plain ‘right’.
I think this is probably the most likely to be my anime of the season, and depending how it goes it’ll be in the running for AOTY. Everything about the first episode made me fall right in love with the show (not to mention with that cute softball playing tomboy) and I cannot wait to see more.
Shirobako is a show I’ve been looking forward to finding out how it’d play out – would it be more of a Bakuman style look at the animation process and the steps involved in getting something created, or would it just be a comedy/sol with anime production as a light backdrop with no real discussion or focus? I’d say it leans more towards the animation production, lets say ‘procedural’ type of deal, which is exactly what I was hoping for. It’s got it’s own characters and fun with plenty of jokes and such, but throughout all that you really get to learn about the production of anime, the work that goes into each part of it, how the production teams work, how big a problem a seemingly small issue can end up causing, the health risks and overworking that are so often spoken of in real life industry discussion, and so on. There are a lot of positions and a lot of characters filling them, and a lot of stuff all going on at the office that we get both ‘skimming the surface’ and deep looks at. This seems like it’ll be both really fun and very interesting to watch, now I just have to wait for the cute CG animator girl to show up again. I do question how realistic having all these attractive women working in anime production is though.
Anyway, this feels like a nice little homage to everyone who works on anime in every single position from the smallest and lowest to the top director and managers, and I really like that. Hell, they even give a nod to the friendly rivalries between production studios with the Initial D styled race both in the episode and in the ED between Musashino Animation and G.I. Staff (Production I.G. and JC Staff smushed into one).
I love gdgd fairies, it’s an extremely unique and silly series that even has completely unscripted parts – which is pretty much an unheard thing of in anime. Seha Girls is being directed and animated by the same guy who made that, which is why I’m watching it. This isn’t remotely on par with that, but it’s got its own charms and is alright. Nothing to go out of your way for though and as far as the characters go they don’t match too heavily with the ways you’d expect for the consoles to be. Kind of like how the console characters in Neptunia don’t make any sense at all either and are just generic character archetypes that don’t particularly fit what they represent.
I also don’t appreciate the laziness in a lot of it – for example, Dreamcast is clearly just pkpk with a different outfit on her little model. When you’re making a show essentailly in MMD you could at least not rehash the same characters you already use in another show of the same type. I love gdgd fairies for what it is, this is not the same at all outside of how it looks – it just feels kind of whatever. It’s not bad and there’s a few funny parts (especially when they start involving games), but that’s about it. Just watch gdgd fairies instead.
I wrote it’s own post due to the length it got to: you can read it here.
This part 2 ended up being mostly the “stuff I liked” list over the first part being almost all misses, but I’m glad about that. I was worried this season would be a wash, but it turns out I’m actually watching a pretty good amount of stuff this season.
The only show that hasn’t aired yet that I can recall having interest in is Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru – which doesn’t start for almost another week, so it’s being left out of all this. Hopefully it’s another good one. Oh, and some reverse harem with bishys about some moe who wants to become a patissier.