We’re a few episodes into almost all of the season’s shows (at least the ones I tried/am watching) so it’s about time for one of these! Some bad earthquakes have been hitting Japan so some shows were delayed, most notably Kabaneri and Sakamoto. This is in absolutely no order, aside the first one because I really wanted this to be the first image.
Mayoiga is a pretty interesting show and one I feel the most important thing to say right off the bat is that it hits it’s goal of being a mystery dead-on. From episode 1 to even currently awaiting the 4th, I still couldn’t tell you what this show IS because I don’t really know. Not in a joking off-hand insulting way, but in a truly interesting gripping one. I don’t know what to expect because I don’t know what this show is trying to do or where it’s trying to go with anything that’s happening. It has mystery within the story for sure, a lot of it in fact, yet the meta-mystery going on for the viewer really adds a lot. It forces you into an uncomfortable position because – at least in it’s presentation – it’s something that isn’t easy to pin down and feel like you have a good understanding of it. The show itself leaves you questioning what it is on top of wondering about the questions the story and characters are giving you. You’ll be wondering if this village really is being terrorized by what sounds, looks, and seems from all we’ve seen so far surrounding the creature in every way to literally be Manbearpig. You’ll want to find out why this girl is so obsessed with taking people’s bodies apart while they’re still alive to make them repent for their wrongdoings aside being edgy. What happened with the bus driver and who or what contacted him and made him completely change? Is this a higurashi thing? Is this a government conspiracy thing? Why are Jack, the mean bitch girl, and the software engineer the best characters when aside the very last one they didn’t seem like they would be good at all?
The atmosphere is fantastic and the pacing is some of the best of the season. There are very few shows with the balls to not only go for such an odd start, but to go so slowly that the entire first episode even by it’s end doesn’t have the characters at their destination. Instead you’re stuck in a bus with these fucking weirdos listening to their dumb and often times very morbid off-kilter shit and angry outbursts. The camera work too isn’t AMAZING but it definitely does a good job – especially in the first episode – of going with a horror motif and making this bus somehow even more claustrophobic and like something out of The Shining. Then you have moments like in episode 3 wherein a genuinely creepy hyper-realistic eye is shown briefly peering out at the cast from a bush while, supposedly, the same thing that this eye belongs to bellows out some kind of noises.
I definitely say this is worth trying a few episodes of and not jumping to any conclusions too fast, the first episode even with all the positives I could say about it had me wondering if it was good or bad somehow after it was over. Looking back I feel, based on just thinking about it and looking at it more as well as seeing more of the show, that it’s very aware of the things you might want to complain about and that they exist for a purpose and are already somewhat being used to that end. Anyway, this is very much a true mystery to the point that, again, even what the show is manages to be enigmatic, and it also has a lot of elements of horror and simply a very unsettling uncomfortable atmosphere to it. I actually like it quite a bit and want to see where it’s headed.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 4 : Diamond is Unbreakable
Do you like Persona 4/P4G? Well the game is admitted by the developers themselves to be drastically, almost entirely, inspired by Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure’s 4th part mixed with Jungian Psychology and Japanese mythology. Hell, even a bunch of promo art, the main cast, the ENTIRETY of the way the Persona work and are designed this time around, the story, the whole style of it is all pulled from this. So if you like P4 you should really check this out. Beyond that it holds up just as well as a show of it’s own and is easily the first or second best thing to come out of the JJBA franchise. A really fun and over-the-top serial killer mystery taking place in a small Japanese (though very 50’s America aesthetically) town with a bunch of people who have stands/personas. It’s the most comedic of Jojo and the first time Dio isn’t the antagonist. It’s definitely really good and worth watching, even if you aren’t a Jojo fan typically.
As for how it is as an adaptation – I think it’s doing fucking fantastic so far, just like the rest of the recent JJBA adaptations from this same studio. I’m surprised by how much I don’t remember of this from the manga but I’m glad that’s the case, it all feels familiar yet completely new. Very fun, very silly, very over the top, and features a cute and sexy anime mom who I can only dream of taking to Angelo rock one day. Can’t forget the style which is kicked up a notch from previous seasons, with the most vivid and strange color scheme out of all of them so far, and a lot of great distinct character and stand designs.
My Hero AcademyThis one was a huge surprise to me, I didn’t really know what to expect aside that it sounded like a version of Index that might not be complete shit or have a harem. Well, that much is true in that it’s not shit and doesn’t have a harem, but it’s actually more like One Punch Man minus the satire but still lighthearted and self-aware feeling rather than being a genuine typical shonen or hero story. However, somehow, it has these really fucking amazingly powerful moments of just pure cool shit that feel like the coolest parts of OPM as well as really any other show with some awesome stuff happening alongside fantastic and emotional music, and unlike most shows of it’s ilk (including OPM even) it manages to do this every single episode at least once so far while also mixing in meaningful scenes that can get to you very deeply as well. This is a special show that achieves an incredibly hard to find balance between cool, inspiring, touching…and yet never feels anything close to totally serious at all, straight up fun is definitely something it has in abundance. In fact it’s sort of a cute take on all of this yet when shit is going down you feel that same gripping sensation as a huge decisive battle in any completely stoic series and when emotionally powerful stuff is going on it doesn’t feel heavy yet can definitely get to you. It of course also has plenty of humor which always seems to land very well and a really great barely-touched-on-so-far rivalry between the MC and an old friend of his.
It’s something I’m glad exists and have kind of fallen for. Not only because it’s a really great show so far, but because this is the type of show I want there to be for kids and anyone who needs it – not Naruto, not Bleach, but something like this that carries a great and true message and delivers it in a way that doesn’t treat it’s viewers like idiots and that is so good anyone of any age can become enamored by it and get something real out of it. It’s not afraid to go over the top, it’s not afraid to be subdued, and it’s not afraid to hit some emotionally powerful spots while also delivering a very simple but important message in equally simple but fantastic and exciting ways. It’s genuinely inspiring and equally as entertaining, definitely one of the shows I really recommend checking out this season even if it looks like something you wouldn’t be into at a glance because it’s a lot more than what it seems. There are already two parts in episode 2 that I’ve gone back multiple times and rewatched because they’re just so damn good. And seriously, the OST is fucking incredible.
High School Fleet / Haifuri
First off, please stop comparing this or relating it to Kancolle. Kancolle is a waifu-collector phone-game adaptation about anthropomorphic boats that are partially human-bodied fighting based entirely around otaku pandering and fanservice (redundant, I know). Haifuri is a show about completely normal human Japanese Navy cadets in a world where Japan, 100 years ago, had most of it’s island sunken below sea level and now lives on boat-islands – and one where, well, no I don’t want to spoil it if you haven’t seen the first episode. I’ll just say there’s a pretty serious twist and one that makes an already great start turn into something that possibly could end up really fucking cool. It feels like a mix of Garupan and Starship Operators – the latter of which I wouldn’t recommend even reading a basic description about unless you want to spoil the events that take place at the start of this, however if you’re on the fence you may want to just to make yourself give this a chance. Comparing this with Kancolle just because “they both deal with warships” (while ignoring that the warships in one are also the people and ignoring the fact it’s primarily fanservice and otaku pandering) is like – and I mean pretty much exactly – comparing Area 88 to Strike Witches. Stop fucking doing it.
Anyway, highly recommend watching the first episode to pretty much anybody. From there choose what you want to do, but at least do that much. I can’t really talk too much without spoiling some things – and in fact saying there are things to spoil kind of tells you more than you should go in knowing. It’s also got a cute cast – yet not a cast of idiots, even the lead girl takes charge immediately and isn’t all shy about it or bad at it because she’s been learning this stuff for awhile now, the same as the rest of the cast so there’s none of that typical uncertainty or avoidance in regards to getting shit done. There’s also a fat cat.
I’ve seen a lot of hate for this adaptation but I don’t really get it. The show adapts the game’s court stuff perfectly and even manages all the hilariously over the top expressions while also using the medium as a way to do things the games couldn’t in more silly ways. I’ve also seen a lot of complaints about the lacking realism…but uh, have you ever played these? They aren’t exactly court simulators and being made in Japan and if you want realism then it’s mindblowing that you ever have a situation where your client isn’t sentenced to forever in jail no matter what you do as Japan has a literal 99.7% conviction rate. Anyway, I really enjoy it and I think any fan of the game would as well as long as you accept this isn’t a top-tier high-budget UFOtable series or whatever people seem to expect. It’s an average show and the animation and amount of QUALITY show that, but it’s a game adaptation and those typically aren’t great (Samurai Warriors if you want a recent example) in that department. It’s fun though and gets across all the very quirky shit of the games perfectly while also delivering the same story as the first game very well even with some extra content not seen in the games at all. Plus, CR was great enough to give two subtitle styles – one with the “official” naming schemes (Naruhodo) and one with the western names (Wright). If you like the Ace Attorney games then this is a sure watch, otherwise maybe try it out though it’ll spoil one of the better games of the series.
I’d say, like many people are, that this is the most relaxing anime of the year but Tanaka-kun exists, so this is definitely the SECOND most relaxing anime of the year. Everything about this show is very airy and soft, only further pushed in that direction by the character designs and music. There’s just something nice about it and they can do something like spend half an episode cooking up some weird snack and just having fun with that and the discussion the cast has while preparing them while making it fully absorb you into the meandering.
My biggest compliment though, and the thing that really makes this show work, is Chinatsu – the little sister of the guy the titular ‘flying witch’ is staying with. She’s very reminiscent of Mashiro in Mikakunin in that she actually acts as a real child her age would really naturally rather than the often times completely unbelievable ways kids are shown in anime. It makes her extra adorable and sweet and, also like Mikakunin, the show seems to focus some (less so than Mashiro, who is arguably the lead character in that) on Chinatsu and her reactions to the things going on around her and simply being her. Even a simple scene like her eating some pudding and watching a TV show comes off adorable and lovable. Overall, not just because of her, this show feels heartwarming and is just really nice while managing to fit a lot of good comedy that’s only doable due to the nature of the witch girl existing as a literal witch. Expect things like flying on brooms and screaming demonic mandragora. Worth watching for sure for both great laughs and a soothing atmosphere.
This is definitely a show where you can say “it’s just x with y” and in this case Bakuon is 100% Garupan with motorcycles in every way aside the sport aspect. The feeling, the atmosphere, the cast, the set-up, even the designs of some of the characters and the way it handles their over-the top quirks are so very similar. I mean that in all the very best ways as Garupan is something I gave a straight up 10 to, and while this lacks the very unique focus and the incredible fake sport so I probably won’t give it such a high rating, it definitely is just as fucking fun to watch. Plus, to be totally honest I fucking LOVE tanks and while it’s not as much I also really like Japanese motorcycles. Hell, if it weren’t for literally being a cripple I’d have gotten a Ninja myself by now, as it’s probably my favorite bike – which is luckily prominently featured in this series!
Everyone on the cast is lovable as hell, especially this weird-haired girl and The Stig as an anime girl, the comedy is spot on and it’s hilarious no matter how many times they shit on Suzuki bikes (which is already a massive amount only 3 episodes in). The art is great, the bikes are accurately done and dealt with, and somehow the show actually got the rights to not only all these motorcycle brands and models but even related well-known clothing lines. This is a really great show and I highly recommend it whether you’re into motorcycles or not as there’s plenty of fun to be had with the girls of the motorcycle club regardless. Possibly my favorite show of the season thus far, probably butting heads with Sakamoto and Haifuri for the spot.
For the record my favorite girls in order are Frizzy > Lime > Tittyzuki > Eyebrows – but I love them all! I think it’s REALLY important to mention that the whole cast actually feels really unique too even to someone who has seen so much anime this feels like a very fresh collection of characters instead of just your typical archetypes, both in actual design and in simply not acting how you’d expect them to act, even down to an ojou who wants to be a delinquent. It really adds a lot of fun to them and to the show.
A bunch of kids with various things that make them unhappy are thrown into a special class at this school, one where the goal isn’t high grades or scholarships but becoming happy. Anne is a very upbeat girl who seemingly has nothing BUT happiness and yet is possibly the most unfortunate of them all from what we’re lead to believe. She’s a fun very “anime” type of girl who is hyperactive and overly joyful, and if she really does end up being the worst off that’d kind of be a nice take on that type of personality. Then there are her two friends, one of which is unfortunate in that she is very skilled at first aid…but only on herself – and lastly the one I just can’t help but feel is literally retarded, a girl who is genuinely in love with a construction sign mascot. I’m fine with people loving fictional characters and I totally get that it can genuinely happen, but this isn’t a fictional character, it’s a generic warning signage mascot that only appears in one image in one pose on one specific sign. It’s even somehow ever-so-slightly less sensible than this fucking freak who literally dicks his shitty junker of a car. It’s fucking weeeeeird, but her friends accept it and don’t treat her bad for it, which is nice. It’s a weird show but it’s definitely very fun and silly, and I feel like there’s a little something serious going on behind all the jokes and quirkiness.
Crane Game Girls
This is an exceedingly strange one, I like it though. It’s a short about three girls who want to be idols and instead are saving the world (without knowing it) by playing UFO Catcher games and learning special techniques for them from a sexy lady and the same lady pretending to be a gorilla. It’s pretty fun watching the girls try this stuff to me for some reason. Short comment for a short show!
Bungou Stray Dogs
This show really surprised me as well, I had absolutely no idea what it would be and I figured from the look of it it was going to be pretty serious, then I watched the first episode and was tricked even further. It starts out with just serious talk and how this kid got kicked out of an orphanage and stuff, then jumps straight into throwing jokes and silly things at you nonstop from then on. It’s not a full on comedy or anything, but it’s definitely lighthearted and uses drama as a way to set up fun situations. Great art – some of the highest quality of the season, unexpected (at first) humor that lands really well, and a certain feeling of coolness from the otherwise quirky members of the “Armed Detectives”. So far they haven’t gotten to the meat of the show and episode 2 basically just introduced us into the actual job of working with these guys, but I can’t imagine the fun going away when one of the main joke-quirk of one of the lead characters is trying to kill himself so genuinely and often that his coworkers congratulate him when he calls them saying he’s about to die.
Ended up dropping this already. It feels very edgy and tryhard in a way that I can best describe as feeling like it’s a show meant to make young teens feel “cool” for watching it which will also translate into being perfect for manchildren without a doubt for the same reason. It doesn’t grab me at all and the content that is here doesn’t just feel like I’m not the audience for it, but most importantly it’s really badly made and the writing is fucking dumb.
I was really expecting a new Night Raid 1931 out of this, which was a fun actually very interesting and well put together show with a similar premise. Joker Game on the other hand just comes off as trying to appear cool and “mature” while providing nothing to actually make that genuine. Ironically the entire cast looks like 14 year-old fedora tippers because the godawful character design.
To make it worse, the main character is written like shit. The guy joins a super secret spy organization and somehow he’s perplexed at every turn by the most basic concepts of what spying involves. What, we have to LIE to people?! THAT’S NOT FAIR! What, you CHEATED at this poker game you’re playing with 20 other spies as practice? THAT’S TERRIBLE HOW CAN YOU BE SUCH A COWARD! This is something he never stops doing the entire episode and it never gets less obnoxious or retarded feeling. I mean fuck, the very first day when he gets sent to join this UNIT OF SPIES specifically he even says to the leader of the organization “I WOULD NEVER SPY, THAT’S COWARDLY”. What the fuck is this shit – whether he himself is a spy or is just supervising them it’s mind blowing how fucking stupid he is. It’d be like working at a prison and being surprised that the inmates are convicts. It’s nothing but a series for kids and manchildren to say they’re mature for watching because it doesn’t have a single female character and everyone smokes and wears fedoras. Amazingly when you point this out in any open place, the exact type of people I’m saying it’s aimed at come charging at you angrily from every nook and cranny while not realizing at all they’re just proving you right while spewing nothing but 2 to 3 sentences at you without even attempting to back up their points. Because “mature” anime viewers can’t actually manage to properly defend or argue a point. Lucky you, kids, Berserk’s new anime is coming out soon ;^)
Tanaka-kun is Listless
The most important thing to say about this show is that they nail the overall feeling, every aspect of this series from the voice acting of the whole cast to the art and pacing feels just as listless as Tanaka himself. It makes it have a fantastically relaxing quality to it that makes you want to take a nap yourself soon after, not in a “it’s boring” way but in the way that it just envelops you in a sense of contentment even while being a genuinely funny comedy. The relationship between Tanaka and his best friend Ohta are key for the funny aspect, as they have a great dynamic and Ohta is incredibly soft spoken yet delivers great quips and acts as a very good tsukkomi. On top of that, it has a good mix of pretty original jokes or in other cases very original ways of presenting otherwise common ones.
I can’t really get across how cute this show is, but it’s really cute and pretty much entirely because of the titular character. #NoHomo. It’s funny, it’s adorable, and it even has some pretty well done emotional bits that feel a little out of place yet well handled typically by throwing in some comedy element that you don’t expect to round them out. My biggest concern with this was that the uncle who takes in the MC would possibly be one of THOSE types of characters – the creepy molesty type because the summary said it had to do with him taking this kid in and forcing him to be his maid and stuff. Well, they actually explained this all very well and even the maid uniform and occupation are totally handled in a way I found very sensible and not weird at all. The boy doesn’t want free handouts and likes cleaning and cooking, so they give him the job so he doesn’t feel like he’s in debt to the family that disowned his mother due to his birth (indirectly causing her death some years later when they’re in such deep poverty she can’t take care of herself at all) – and as for the uniform, the guy is a clothing designer and he put it out as a joke that the boy happened to not realize was just the guy fucking around and chooses to wear it from then on when he’s working.
I really like this for all sorts of reasons and I’m glad it’s turned out how it has, I definitely recommend it as long as you aren’t a little bitch too afraid to admit an anime boy can be cute.
This series is incredibly transparent about being from the same staff and original creator of Mikakunin, from the writing to the art. Visually it seems like Mikakunin with about 2/3rds of the budget – Mikakunin looked fucking amazing throughout while this is more around a “great”, so not bad by any means just definitely a noticeable step down. The writing on the other hand feels very similar and even seems to share the same focus on a very similar dynamic. Mikakunin was primarily a show about an unusual little girl with little social experience from a strange life being forced to become family with two completely unfamiliar people, focusing on their relationships and how the characters felt throughout this transition from strangers to loved ones. Sansha Sanyou deals with an unusual high school girl with little social experience whose family went from rich as shit to poor very recently who is trying to befriend two normal girls while being stuck in ojou-mode, focusing on their relationships and how the characters feel through this transition from strangers to bread buddies. It’s very cute so far and just feels good to watch. All three girls and this stalker-ex-butler guy all are easily liked and have great personalities that the show already uses to it’s advantage.
Haven’t you heard? I’m Sakamoto.
This is absolutely everything I hoped it would be and you should be watching this if you get even the slightest enjoyment out of funny shit. I’d say more but, come on, haven’t you heard? It’s Sakamoto.
Pan de Peace
A very simple short series that is just the cutest thing. It’s about a group of girls who all happen to really love all sorts of bread and who the main girl befriends because of her own love for bread, coining the term “bread buddies” upon seeing a girl’s bag with bread charms hanging on it. It’s really cute and the cast members are all great fun.
I have to admit episode 1 did put me off with the second half which delved into a lot of shit I wasn’t okay with – primarily having a man tell a bunch of 9 year olds a hardcore sex story between a bear and a woman, and he doesn’t skimp on the details even going into how the bear was eating her out after spreading her legs and shit and lapping her up. This was really fucking distasteful and gross especially when the earlier half of the episode was just adorable and sweet, plus why’s he telling these kids this? And then to make it worse they went ahead and showed the main little girl having sex with the main bear character, sure it was in a kids ‘imagination’ but it was there for the viewer to see. Episode 2 had nothing bad at all and I was very happy about that…but then episode 3 came along and instead of bestiality this time they went with pseudo-rape and fanservice. Actually, that’s not fully true, there are some implications of this bear being very turned on by the little girl lead when she wears bear ears and a bear tail to the point he almost does some raping himself as well. I won’t use pictures of any of these moments because I don’t fucking have any because fuck them.
This is a show I cannot recommend and every episode just makes me regret that it exists because when it’s not being fucking disgusting and awful it’s really cute – but that only serves to make those terrible moments all the worse. Like if Ichigo Mashimaro shoved in scenes with Nobue imagining Matsuri taking her dad’s dick or something as a ‘joke’ every episode or random bits in a theoretical-animated Yotsubato where scenes straight from Pretty Neighbor get shoved in for half of every episode. Don’t bother with this, it’ll trick you with cuteness and then make it all feel plain bad. In that sense it kind of reminds me of Gugure Kukkuri-san, which was also plagued with out of nowhere super sexual shit with the little lead girl as the main focus of the “comedy”.
Koutetsujou no Kabaneri
It’s hard to explain without sounding like a ‘memer’ just how much this is LITERALLY Attack on Titan revamped slightly to be “new” but that’s exactly what it is. I don’t say that as a negative, what’s out so far is fantastic and incredibly cool – so much so that it manages to make me not mind the steampunk shit which I typically just fucking hate to an extreme level. I say steampunk but actually, and maybe this is why it bothers me so little, it’s 90% Edo Japan it just happens to also have some steampunk stuff thrown in like these trains, some actually cool steam powered rifles, and so on. It actually kind of comes off as a really unique clash and makes it pretty cool. Story wise though, really, this is identical to AoT and the first episode is almost the exact same storyboard with a different art style layered over it. Watch it, pick it apart and compare it, you’ll notice more and more every time you do that’s barely changed at all even down to the level of how society works in this situation and the design aspect and how things look or work. It doesn’t feel lazy though and it’s a perfect way of scratching that itch for more AoT even though and has just enough about it that’s different to not make it come off as a cheap ripoff. Though it does get a little too close sometimes, well, most of the time. I mean they even got Sawano to do the OST.
Really cool though, check it out, also I like in this case that the huge fucking problem that arrives is all thanks to some idiots ignoring the sole purpose of the giant draw-bridges instead of AoT where the humans are just fucked cuz a giant titan shows up, here it’s people being morons letting themselves be invaded through stupidity. I think to me the most interesting aspect is how in episode 1 these “zombies” clearly have more going on in their heads – not only do some use weapons and basic strategy but others seem to even recognize people before killing them.
Mamiya Sakura and friends continue their strange lives dealing with spirits, evil shinigami scammers, and being poor as shit in this weird as fuck town full of people who never seem to give a shit about anything. So far this is exactly like season 1 in the best meaning possible and the writing is still as fun as ever. Hopefully this time around Mamiya Sakura and Rinne will maybe have some romantic developments, but I’m fine if nothing happens there as well as long as nothing happens to little Rokumonchan. If you love light hearted mostly-episodic old-school shows, this is exactly one of those and even being new both seasons manage to feel straight out of the early 00s if not earlier. Definitely don’t start with season 2 if you haven’t seen the first though!
Ushio and Tora 2
I really enjoyed the first season of Ushio and Tora, but I have to admit the way they chose to start off season 2 feels like a really odd choice. All the relationships we spent the entire first full season building are reduced to nothing after Hakumen manages to basically infect everyone’s brains and wipe their memory of both Ushio and Tora and instead they’re seen as enemies yet again by nearly everyone. It seems like a weird way to continue the show especially into a season that’s only 13 episodes this time around, and it kind of makes me enjoy it just a little bit less because I liked those bonds and friendships that were developed with so many diverse characters and even a shit ton of what would otherwise be evil monsters. Most upsetting for me though was the wipe of Asako’s memory of Ushio as in the first bit of the first episode of this season (pre-memory wipe) their relationship actually takes a huge step forward and they are even being kind of lovey dovey like a couple when usually they’re both pretty tsundere but Ushio decided to act more mature, get past acting that way, and realize he might not be around soon if he dies fighting this beast of beasts and decides to actually be more than just this childhood friend to her. Then oops, all gone – who are you? Luckily she’s one of the first people to fully remember him, but unluckily this is after she nearly kills herself and receives full body third degree burns so she’s kind of bedridden now.
Anyway, it’s still got the same fun (even when facing truly dangerous shit) cast, the same great chemistry between Ushio and Tora, and even with the weird choice of memory wipes it’s still great. There’s also a really big twists that shows up in episode 3 that I didn’t see coming at all but is something I find to be a really cool and important revelation for the show.
That’s it for what I’m watching, with the exception of Joker Game and maybe at this rate Kuma Miko. Hope it’s a good season for everyone else too, never expected to be enjoying so many airing things after years and years of only having 2-5…now there’s fucking 20. It’s a great feeling and it’s happened to nearly that degree over the last year-ish, it’s a great time for anime.