I’m a little late this time but it’s not so bad because I was able to see some first episodes before writing this – though not of everything, so this is still a picks post but also sort of an early thoughts one. I’ll avoid going to deep into the latter though and stick to short first impressions or my original reasons for trying them out to keep this focused as a pick post. There’s a lot this season I plan on trying and luckily so far everything’s been alright to fantastic but there are/were definitely a lot of questionables here too so we’ll have to wait and see how things play out for a lot of them.
Because of the weird nature of this compared to my usual picks posts OR my usual early thoughts posts, this might be kind of middling in terms of how informative, useful, or well written it is because I wasn’t really sure how to do this. I can’t help that my life has been just fucking non-stop severe/dangerous panic attacks and actually somewhat busy lately so I didn’t have time to really look at what was coming or research all of it – not like I usually do anyway. I’ll still write a normal early thoughts post a few episodes in from now like always or at least more stand-alone posts like the Zestiria one.
Tales of Zestiria The X – Like I said, I’m writing up a post about this specifically on it’s own, but in short the prologue episode blew my fucking mind. It’s the first time in a long time, maybe ever, that I’ve been so shocked, surprised, and dumbfounded – in the best ways – by something. I think without going into it really this is something worth trying whether you liked the game, didn’t like the game, or never even bothered with it. It’s beautiful to look at, the story already has a great hook, and it’s really good already and that totally includes looking at it as a stand-alone thing. For people who did play the game, this prologue is even MORE amazing because it’s 100% completely new content, new town, new characters, and stuff that totally changes the lore and story of the game in HUGE WAYS while also adding in some actual personality for Alisha for once, adding a lot overall, and also making sure to build upon what the game had but skimmed over (for example the fucked up government in the capital which is only ever talked about a few times albeit being very relevant, while here they straight up let us see a real interaction between them and Alisha that also plays into the main story in a way the game never had). It’s also MUCH darker than it was, and it was already the darkest Tales game. I don’t really know how to describe it but this gave me some real visceral feelings of just pure excitement especially in the OP played at the end of the episode, I’m not saying it’ll be THAT good for everyone (definitely not for people who didn’t play), but definitely try it out because it seems like it’d be pretty damn cool even to people coming in blind.
*Make sure you’re getting the right thing. There’s an older released OVA that covers the first hour of the game and there is the actual first episode of the TV show soon – this is listed as 00 officially but some places some people may look to find it it can sometimes be labeled as episode 01. If the episode doesn’t start with Alisha getting on her horse in some ruins then it’s the wrong thing.
91 Days – I love the mob, I’ve researched and followed the Cosa Nostra since I was in middle school, and while I might be a bit rusty now I’ve at times known very intricately every aspect of it and every member past and present. That makes it so I always give shows that even have a very silly “this is what Japan thinks the mob is” type stuff going on in them a chance. I worry about this being edgy shit but as long as it avoids that (it probably won’t) I think this could be really great – a revenge story that takes place after this guy’s family was slaughtered and him now (if I understand right) joining the mob family that killed his actual one to get close to those that did it. I could be mistaken, either way it’s a revenge story about the mafia so it’s certainly got potential. The first episode will reveal a lot about this so it’ll be an easy decision to make once it’s out at least.
Active Raid 2 – The first season of this show was pretty fun and from a director I’m a fan of who definitely doesn’t hide that this is his. This is a pretty silly but slightly serious and somehow action filled mech-like series about cops in a weird version of Japan where half the place has been destroyed but otherwise is normal…aside the fact they shoot dudes in power armor out of a train with a giant cannon on it that can also fly or switch to wheels to drive around? It’s a sequel, if you liked the first season then watch it, otherwise I’m not going to try pitching it to you here or something. I can only hope the cute pickpocket/gold-digger girl makes a return.
Amanchu – I’m worried about this one but also interested enough to try it. The character art looks terrible and just wrong in a way, the eyes are kind of creepy. The main thing I’m worried about though is that this is from the same creator as Aria – but I don’t know if it shares the same animation staff. The Aria manga is something I really liked, it had a lot of fun intricacies to it hidden away throughout, was incredibly relaxing, and smooth to take in. The Aria ANIME however was fucking boring, lifeless, and also removed a lot of shit from the manga that gave it it’s charm. If this is more like the latter I’m getting out immediately, but I’m holding on to some hope that it might be a really nice calming show and also not a lazy rehash (it even has a 90% similar looking mascot cat thing and also involves water heavily). Much like 91 Days, the first episode will probably show if this will be an Aria or a Tamayura season 1 instead.
Ange Vierge – No, thank you.
B-Project – Looks like another UtaPri wannabe but not as good. I’m actually just PTW’ing this indefinitely and won’t be trying it out right now but I’m not ashamed to admit I enjoy these types of shows. UtaPri did have it’s really unique yet great to look at art style as well as a super cute lead girl voiced by one of my favorite seiyuu, while this has much more generic art but also a pretty cute lead girl. Aside that though, it’s probably nearly identical, I’ll be in the mood some day, but that day isn’t now.
Battery – Something about baseball and it’s a Noitamina show. These days Noitamina means jack shit, but it used to be a sign that if a show had the timeslot it’d be fucking fantastic much of the time including some classic genre-defining hits like Nodame Cantabile and Honey & Clover – for the past few years it’s been the exact opposite with some of the worst shows out there airing in it (with some exceptions of course!). I’m hoping this is a step back in the right direction and it sounds like a mature, character-focused story about these guys trying to achieve their dreams and all that stuff. As for the baseball, everyone knows baseball is fucking lame as shit but also that baseball anime is typically fucking fantastic, so this has two things going for it now.
Boueibu 2 – I never watched season 1 so nope.
Cheer Danshi!! – This could have been something really cool or fun and instead it’s more shitty pandering to the FREE! crowd of fujoshi. First off, why the fuck are they western-style male cheerleaders? Japan HAS serious cheerleading including competitions and all that just like us including the same style as us as well, but it’s not THIS typically, it’s the cool as fuck Ouendan cheer squads with males and females alike in gakuran doing cool shit rather than flips and spins and spelling basic words out letter by letter. Why make a show about cheerleading in Japan and make it faggots in leotards? If you’re going to go the western route and REALLY want to include guys just to try and bring more attention to your show, at least make it a mixed group of both dudes and ladies. More importantly, at least make the dudes look remotely attractive, I’m no homo but I can tell you none of these guys are remotely cute – meanwhile just to it’s left both the shows there feature bishounen and cute dudes, what’s so difficult about this?
Danganronpa 3…again? – Danganronpa is still shit.
Fate/Kaleid Liner 3 – I’m not a child molestor so I don’t watch this fucking pedo psuedo-hentai.
Fukigen na Mononokean / The Morose Mononokean – I’ve always enjoyed less action-focused shows dealing with yokai and so I was actually really looking forward to this one. I’ve seen the first episode and it definitely lived up to my expectations and was much more fun and cute than I had assumed, yet it’s also one of those shows that’s not afraid to tug at your heart with some sad stuff. The first episode has one of the cutest blobs imaginable stuck to this kid and literally killing him even while he beats the shit out of it all the time to try and get him off. By the end you find out it’s just basically the same as a neglected child or abused pet – it wants any attention at all because, having died, it doesn’t understand why everyone ignores it yet found someone who at least pays any mind to it. It’s pretty sad yet surrounded by good humor and doesn’t feel heavy, plus thanks to it being in all the promo art I assume this cute little smushball will be back with us soon even after we were able to help it pass on with the help of a yokai-loving people-hating exorcist that we’re now indebted to.
Hatsukoi Monster – I don’t want to say much about this one because it’s got a few twists in the first episode, but I will say this is a really funny and very lighthearted show that I probably got the most laughs out of this season so far. It’s got a really cute secret that it reveals not too far in and this leads to some great situations and will undoubtedly continue to do so from here on out. The art, characters, and voice acting (Tomokazu Sugita playing a 5th grader but using his manly serious voice) are all great and really help the humor, the main girl is also very cute and naive but not in an annoying way and is self aware of it. It’s also just got a lot of great random jokes that really land well – like the movers helping carry her stuff in seeing her try and laughing at her while flexing their enormous super-chiseled totally-different-art-style-suddenly muscles because that’s just what men are like and it was great that it just threw this in out of nowhere. I’ll make an exception to my usual no-other-images-for-these-threads rule because it’s worth it.
The Outcast – Sounded stupid, looked bad, and then I found out it’s also korean or some shit.
Love Live! Sunshine! – I fucking loathe Love Live and the people who pretend to be fans of it just to feel like they fit in with the most recent otaku craze in Japan and can self-identify as “true otaku” and pretend to love characters just because they buy 300 pins of one and put them all on a coat and wear it around to conventions. However, hilariously enough, EVEN LOVE LIVE FANS HATE SUNSHINE. Apparently this is like the Idolmaster Cinderella Girls where it’s just an entirely new group and so everyone hates it (though in IM@S case everyone loved the CG girls because IM@S is actually good, though the anime isn’t).
Masou Gakuen HxH – This is porn, plain and simple. The first second, LITERALLY the very first frame of the show, is 99.9% nude tits bouncing, a girl moaning, and a man groping her, rubbing against her vagina with his hands, and then having her hump his leg while he bounces her ass and body on top of him all to, of course, “power her up for battle”. This is that type of show, which is fine but there’s no reason to touch it until it’s uncensored and until it’s completed, and not exactly for actual viewing purposes because it also seemed REALLY FUCKING STUPID. Sometimes shows can be super lewd and still manage to be interesting or fun, but this isn’t one of those times.
Momokuri – This is another one I’ve seen the first episode of and I have to say it’s pretty cute. In the first episode the couple – a second year girl and a first year boy – is already officially together and that’s where the “twist” comes in. The girl is a crazy stalker type, not retarded meme shit like a yandere, but just an adorably crazy obsessive type who even now that they’re going out can’t stop herself from her old habits. It’s about their relationship with her being that, and it also lets you hear the inner monologues of both of them so it’s pretty fun to have her FREAKING THE FUCK OUT over trying to do something like lick his straw while he has no idea of what’s happening but is trying to figure out how to calm her down. It’s really fun and actually feels kind of unique.
Nanatsu no Taizai whatever – This is like the third season or something of a show I don’t watch, so nah.
NEW GAME! – Will this be Shirobako? Another messy thinly veiled fucking skeevy advertisement that was only about 15% accurate to how anime production actually works in any way just filled with misinformation at every turn to get new people into the industry that, at the time, was suffering from a drought of employees because of a lot of recent scandals over treatment and payment of anime staff, yet proclaimed itself officially to be an accurate example of how working in the industry is and how anime gets made and somehow everyone in the fandom in Japan and the US bought into it? Will this be another Bakuman or Sore ga Seiyuu which were both fantastic and actually really pretty damn accurate (though also great beyond that, especially for the latter which is a fucking fantastic romance and coming of age/life story/character drama)? Luckily for you, I’ve seen the first episode and can tell you the answer.
Well, it’s absolutely 0% Shirobako but it’s not completely the other ones either, it’s a really cute, fun, and laid back thing that doesn’t pretend to be realistic but also has enough accuracy thrown in and little details that give it’s setting that charm and boost of interest. The first episode introduces us to the job and has the lead girl, a new employee at this development studio, learning how to use Autodesk software but instead of focusing on that it has that going on while focusing on developing the cast. It’s THAT type of show – it certainly has real stuff going on (even to the point of sometimes having employees sleep at the office because Japan is insane and so is developing games outside of indie shit) but it’s more like the seasoning to the show than the point of it which seems to be primarily a fun work comedy slice of life type of deal. Also the art is really nice – crisp and vibrant throughout, and yeah, I really like this one a lot. It’s also got a really cute tomboy who has enormous tits, possibly the biggest of the season so far.
Orange – A girl sends herself a letter 10 years in the past explaining what’s going to happen on “important” days and what her biggest regrets on those days were, asking herself to fix them seemingly because of something to do with the boy she falls in love with who – 10 years later (they haven’t said at what point in that 10 years though) he ends up dead. Though certainly some of it is also just genuine regrets unrelated to him. This story could go a lot of ways in terms of how fucked up it could get, but at the very least it’ll be some great drama down the line. The first episode was great and had a good tone and feeling to it, and I’m very interested in seeing if she continues following this letter – and if she does, how things turn out because of it or if fate will still play out the same some way regardless. It’s not the most unique concept yet it’s still a good one even after all this time, it’s just one that you have to be careful with and based on the first episode they’re doing a good job so far. A cast of likable characters, good music, Hanakana as the lead (in a very fitting personality and looks role as well), and a very interesting hook. Definitely one not to skip out on trying out at least.
Qualidea Code – Looks and sounds fucking stupid, I’m not actually trying this but PTW’ing for “some day maybe in years and only if it’s on CR” which I tend to have several of each season and this is just one of those. That’s literally all I have to say about it, the only reason I have ANY interest in it is really just because I think it’s hilarious that the UNKNOWN enemy is canonically CALLED “UNKNOWN”.
Regalia: The Three Sacred Stars – This might also be in the same situation as Qualidea, I haven’t fully decided. What got me interested is the gurren lagann looking ass bullshit going on in the background of the image.
Rewrite – It’s a Key show with the same exact Key character designs and the same exact Key story with the same exact Key twists. Key is even worse at writing something new than the dude who makes the awful fucking 999/VLR/ZTD games. They’ve run their course and they still haven’t done anything better than Kanon, I’m tired of giving them more chances. Some day I might be okay with watching it, but I just have NO interest in it right now.
Scared Rider XechS – The title gives a properly weird impression, though it’s actually supposed to have a thing over the r and be read as “scar-red” which, watching the show, makes sense, as the lead character has a big scar and is also the “red ranger” essentially. Which, right, this show is fucking weird. It’s a mix of Evangelion, Rahxephon, Uta no Prince, Power Ranger style color heroes, and Kamen Rider. It’s strange but it’s not bad. If you like any of those things, or more than one, it’s worth checking out while keeping in mind it’s based on an otome game.
Shokugeki no Souma 2 – Tried season 1 when it aired, excited for a cooking “battle” type of series, ended up just being softcore ecchi shounen shit. Not bothering with more of that when I barely sat through 2 episodes of the first season.
Taboo Tattoo – This one I have seen the first episode of and I have to say it really surprised me, I went in expecting another awful Index clone (nothing is more awful than the original though!) that MAYBE was tolerable because I have to admit I like the CONCEPTS in Index (which is why it’s lucky Railgun takes them and makes something fucking amazing out of it) even if the execution and writing behind them is the fucking worst most retarded shit possible. However, this isn’t like Index in the slightest aside having a lot of delicious looking big tittied women. Like many shows this season it’s got a real good mix of comedy into action and inevitably drama later on and it keeps it from being too self-serious even with interjections of jokes during otherwise serious situations and even situations where death isn’t far at all (yet not feeling jarring and awkward). The art and animation feels kind of strange at times in a way I’m not sure how to describe, yet always looks really nice – aside the weirdness, I’d say nearly UFOtable quality – and has a lot of great character designs. JC Staff really seems to be putting a lot of money and effort into this one from the looks of it and I can see why. It’s got a lot of appeal for a wide range of people (me included) and it does a good job at making it far less shitty than these types of shows tend to be so far. I’ll definitely be keeping up with it. This is also one of several shows with big breasted tomboys this season, so that’s a big plus as well. Good action, great visuals including character designs, very good balance of comedy with the serious and combat aspects, and was just enjoyable to watch. Worth trying for sure.
Time Travel Shoujo – This sounds cute, it’s about a girl going through time to important historical moments and is basically a history lesson in a cute way from what I understand. Maybe it’s not that, maybe it’ll be some retarded shit, I don’t know but I’m hopeful it’s what it sounds like: a cute girl and her friends using time travel to meet and spend time with really important historical figures…because!
Tsukiuta – I really hate the concept of personifying dumb bullshit but this takes it into a realm I never thought possible. Hetalia was bad enough which is sad because it had potential in it’s concept of making nations into dudes – it just stumbled with the execution because it was more concerned with pandering to fujoshi and being cute and dumb so it’s not really accurate and doesn’t actually represent it’s nations in any real way aside very early on. Much like how Neptunia games just didn’t bother ever going along with the personification thing and just used generic stereotypical archetypes for characters based on absolutely nothing while saying “n-no this tsundere twintail flat chest totally represents Sony…somehow?”. In this case it’s…months. It’s personifications of fucking months. There’s nothing to form a fucking personality around with months, this is just “I made up 12 characters and then needed a ‘hook’ to make this into something retards would buy so…MONTHS!” otherwise prove to me why their personalities are what they are based on very commonly accepted traits per month.
Sweetness and Lightning – I don’t really know what the Lightning in the title is about, but the sweetness is already incredibly true right in the first episode. A story about a single dad and his super adorable daughter 6 months after the death of his wife/her mom and him trying to be better for her. It’s a bittersweet thing right off the bat with all the cuteness only making it tougher to see things like this little girl so excitedly asking her dad to write mom a letter asking her to come home and cook again and all have a big family meal together after months of only eating convenience store bentos alone with the TV. The fact she doesn’t fully understand what’s going on, and the self realization of the dad that he needs to get his shit together for her is touching and sad, but luckily the show avoids being heavy and instead chooses to have him do exactly that instead of continuing to wallow around in his depression giving you a really positive feeling. There’s also one of his students who ends up befriending them and being a huge part of this little girl and dad’s life through, at this point, food – which she doesn’t know how to cook but tries her best to make sure this little kid can feel better. It’s just very sweet, very cute, and it avoids being a vapid “nothing-but-sugar” type of thing but comes off as a filling meal instead. Really recommend checking it out.
Assland Sucky: Fuckin Rambo – Arslan is fucking terrible, I sat through the entire first goddamn season to make fun of it and even that wasn’t worth doing. CG dolls galore and terrible writing at every turn.
Berserk – Are you a manchild who is afraid to come off as immature and not a “real adult” and so latch onto pointless sex, nudity, rape, and extreme gore to prove you are over the age of 18? This is the perfect show for you. A hilariously godawful CG adaptation of a manga that deserves nothing more than that which circles around nothing but pointless sex, rape, and violence with the most hilariously shitty childish writing behind it. This is the perfect show for any Nintendo fans in your life because it’s aimed exactly at 25 year olds who are mentally 13 but refuse to admit it.
D. Gray-man HALLOW – No.
DAYS – Fuck soccer.
Handa-kun – This is apparently a prequel to Barakamon about the MC in his teenager years. Not much more to say about it than that. If you liked Barakamon then this is probably gonna be worth watching, I did so I intend on seeing it but still find it confusing and weird that this exists. I mean who fucking actually cared about his past when it wasn’t even remotely relevant or ever brought up? The entire appeal of the show was the cute people he met, the cute little pseudo-daughter he made, the cute teens including the one who clearly had a crush on him, and all the cute and silly inhabitants of this town he had moved to for awhile. I really don’t get what this is for, but still hope it’s good.
Kono Bijutsu-bu ni wa Mondai ga Aru! – I can say with about 90% certainty that I’ve never seen an anime focused on an art club that wasn’t really enjoyable. You’ve got your GA Art Design Class, your Hidamari Sketch (until the last couple of seasons at least), Sketchbook, and so many others and all of them have been great without any exceptions that I can recall. That’s enough for me to want to watch this and feel pretty positive about it’s chances at being good, though you never know so I’m still a bit cautious. The main thing that worries me is the character who is only into 2D because this can often lend itself to tastless jokes and I feel like I’ve seen this girl having a crush on him – so she’d probably be willing to do things/letting him get away with things that she really shouldn’t because they can both write it off with “h-he doesn’t like real girls anyway!”. I base that off of one single manga frame I’ve seen and nothing else, so hell, NOTHING LIKE THAT AT ALL could happen and I sure hope that’s the case, but I’m at least a little wary. Or, even if it does, maybe it’ll handle it in a less shitty way because you never know with anime, something that’s usually awful can sometimes be great or at least tolerable in something else. We’ll see.
Mob Psycho 100 – One Punch Man was pretty great, I think it’s gotten a little less good over time looking back on it, but still a fantastic series – this is from the same mangaka. Thing is, this looks and sounds like shit, but because of OPM I’m willing to give it a chance. I don’t feel comfortable recommending trying this one at all at this point though because all signs point to this creator being a one-punch-wonder who just hopes this pile of shit will cash in on his OPM popularity (or rather, did when the manga came out for this). Maybe it’s good though, at the very least he earned enough credit with me from OPM for me to check out at least one more thing of his.
Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou no Alderamin – This has a high chance of being shit, but it got me interested when I noticed that this fantasy world has, in the promo art, essentially WWII-era guns. It’s not a world transfer/teleport/clash thing, this is literally just a fantasy world where some people still ended up making weapons like that it seems. I don’t know much beyond that so I don’t know what else to say. If you like the concept of asymmetrical combat stuff as much as I do, and know how incredibly rare it is to find, this might be worth a shot.
Puzzles & Dragons X – No, thanks.
ReLIFE – It’s literally a show about a near-30 year old dude going back in time and trying to fuck underaged girls. I hate this kind of fucking self-insert loser garbage.
Servamp – I only even tried this because the art looks like a very slightly changed Jitsu Wa Watashi Wa but with the entire female cast genderbent into men (If you’ve seen Jitsu Wa, just go look at any promo art for this – it’s got everyone you know but as a dude), which I looked into and must just be the staff for the anime because the Jitsu Wa mangaka has fucking nothing to do with this. Hell, it’s even got vampires including one that’s far from the standard of what you’d expect of one – just like Jitsu Wa. Now, that was actually my Anime of the Year last year and is still a personal favorite probably in the top ~30-50 of the over 800 I’ve seen; this isn’t going to be near it in that regard, but it’s actually a pretty fun mix of comedy, silliness, and some violence and I liked the for-some-reason cat-vampire who is also a hikkikomori and lazy NEET. I don’t think there is a single female character which is just a weird thing so I figured I’d point it out.
Bananya – A series about learning the secret of bananas 3 minutes a week. There is absolutely no excuse not to watch this – it’s a show about cats that live in bananas.
Highschool Life of a Fudanshi – Another short 3-minute episodes series and also another good one so far. It’s just a comedy about a dude who loves Boys Love manga (but isn’t gay) and situations that arise from that, ranging from people online assuming he’s a woman to his trials and tribulations when buying BL at a different bookstore from his usual.
There might be some other things I’ll take a look at that aren’t on here, if so I’ll include them in the Early Thoughts post.