Winter 2017 Anime – Early Thoughts

Typically these go up around three episodes in, but I completely forgot to ever do a picks post for this season so I figured this’ll act as one and also just cover to however many eps are out by now for these shows (most around 5). I’ll go ahead and include continued shows too because whatever, sure. Anyway, I’ve been dealing with feeling like shit (still, not ‘again’, sadly) from still continuing physical health issues so I apologize for the fact I had no picks post and now this is so far into the season that some shows are half done – not exactly “early”, but that’s how things are. Sadly a lot of shows one week decided to interject, oddly for Japan, a bunch of retarded super in-your-face social justice progressive bullshit. That hasn’t been the norm for any of them but that week was awful for almost every fucking show airing.

Akiba’s Trip

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I was worried about this one as, for some reason, it’s not actually Akiba’s Trip at all in any way. Entire new cast, completely new enemies including what they actually are (bug possessed people or some shit instead of vampires), and yet it kept the same title which I still have no idea why. However it’s actually a fun silly thing that definitely fits the same style overall as the game and while the cast is “new” they’re almost all identical archetypes in the same roles aside for the sister and main character this time being swapped (the MC is a mega-loser while the sister is into otaku shit but is still socially active and in school) and the enemies still work in an identical way. Just like the game it’s also not as fanservicey as you’d expect, though that isn’t to say there isn’t any.

My favorite thing about this show though is that it’s actually about showcasing the REAL Akihabara, rather than the usually shown idealized-for-anime-otaku version that appears in almost all fiction. The fact is Akiba today is still as much about overall electronic consumer goods, otaku of all sorts from hardcore fans of various radio decks to train-crazies, survival game/airsoft obsessors, and everything inbetween, including of course the anime and idol lovers which have admittedly taken over in the more visible sense. Yet still today it’s incredibly diverse and has so many insane levels of stuff for the most serious collectors hunting for the most rare things in the most niche collections that it’s almost offensive to see it always depicted as simply a haven for anime fans, maid cafes, and idols. It’s much more than that – and Akiba’s Trip (the anime, at least) makes sure every episode focuses on a new one of those crazes for it’s episodic content which makes for a very fun exploration of what Akiba truly has to offer. Also a fun note, the main female cast is voiced by the main three from Sore ga Seiyuu and it’s subtly (and not so subtly) referenced in a lot of ways from not only having things from that show like figures around, but even having the girls straight up wear the same outfits during a mini-concert as they did in that.

Miss Kobayashi’s Maid Dragon

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Here’s a surprise – this is a KyoAni show that’s not only really good but also looks so different from everything they’ve done in the past decade that even I had absolutely no clue it was them. I have to give them credit for FINALLY trying to do something aside cheap cash-ins that are animated like shit, use the exact same character designs to the point that even a hardcore anime fan can’t tell them apart aside from knowing due to simply knowing the casts of different shows, and having the most godawful lazy writing. The last show they did with any effort on their part ended in late 2010, so it’s really genuinely surprising in a great way that KyoAni…MIGHT, though I doubt it’ll last, be back on track on some level. It has been an extremely long time since they produced something even remotely watchable, let alone ENJOYABLE or GOOD on any level, but I’m glad to have what used to be an anime powerhouse back again at least this once. Unlike with Shaft who has never once made something good and so I finally decided to never try anything from again for any reason, KyoAni was someone I kept having hope would stop being a pile of steaming shit because they used to be top tier – and it seems like the wait MIGHT finally be at least coming to a close soon, though this is probably a fluke.

Anyway, this is a very cute and lovable show about a young woman who ends up with a live-in maid that happens to be a dragon, then ends up with more of them. It’s a lighthearted purely comedic thing but has a sort of softer feeling to it in that it’s a slow paced relaxing type of comedy instead of a more faster paced or joke-focused one and also has a lot of sweet and endearing aspects along with unique humor due to the nature of the set-up.

Showa Genroku Rakugo : Descending Stories

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I hate to say it, but this season is beyond a disappointment and straight up makes me genuinely sad that it turned out so terribly. It’s lacking almost everything that made me love the original show. It has nothing to do with it being about Yotaro either, in fact I’ve been looking forward to seeing HIS story unfold since he first appeared in episode 1 and got pushed aside for the tale of Shin, but there’s not much going on now that it’s finally here that’s really gripping at all and a lot of it is just repeated plot ideas. Yotaro is in the same position as Shin with identical problems, identical skills, and is surrounded by a bunch of non-characters who we’re expected to care about out of nowhere. There isn’t a single Rakugo story aside very small clips of a couple. Time skips constantly from episode to episode sometimes ranging from a few months to 10 fucking years and we miss out on major events even like the two leads being fucking MARRIED. On top of that this season is made up of nothing but very poorly forced drama – and I am not misusing that term.

Here are two examples;

  • Yotaro was an ex yakuza, something we knew in season 1 but never mattered, somehow he’s made it to Shin’uchi in this season yet NOW is the first time anyone gives a shit about his not-hidden-at-all giant back tattoo from his old life. It leads to huge drama, loss of jobs, venues kicking him out and banning him…for less than 1 full episode which is also the same time it came up as a problem!
  • After about 17 minutes of another episode where absolutely NOTHING happens in any remotely important way to even just be interesting or develop a character or relationship, we randomly go to a Yakuza meeting that whats her fucking name his wife is at for no fucking reason just ‘because’ including with her baby and she’s just standing in a hallway looking upset, from that it turns directly into “THAT BABY IS MY OLD YAKUZA BOSS’ ISN’T IT? REEEEEE FUCK YOU BOSS” because not only did she just by chance take dick from Yotaro’s specific yakuza boss just over a year ago, he also happens to be right in the next room. Oh, and the whole “who is the dad” thing never was even brought up as a question aside in like 3 total lines in the season 1 finale just to let the viewer know “it is a bastard child”. This doesn’t lead to any issues it’s resolved immediately after without any meaningful things occurring. Also, what a fucking slut, jesus christ.

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This is what I mean by forced drama – outright literal manufactured plot points that appear 30 seconds before coming to a climax and being resolved and have no worth to the viewer at all, let alone none to the characters that are seemingly pretending to give a shit about them. It’s terrible and I’ve dropped it.

Saga of Tanya the Evil

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Tanya starts out as a very self-serious super-edgy war series that focuses on a mega-atheist who after pretty much harassing God gets thrown into an alternate reality version of WW1 mixed a little with WW2 in a version of the world that also has people who are born with magical capabilities. It’s dark and gritty at first to a fault, but after the first two episodes you come to realize this was done on purpose to be kind of misleading. The show is actually more of a dark comedy with lots of killing and no empathy at all (not only from Tanya, but from the supporting cast as well, who even cheer at killing a bunch of civilians in retaliation for their army invading) but a bunch of really good humor and silliness thrown in regularly even during the more serious or violent parts without ever feeling like the edginess isn’t on purpose especially given how often it’s used as the core of the humor. At first it might be off-putting, but stick with it and this is one of the more entertaining shows of the season. Thought this might be another Izetta, but no this one is actually good.

Schoolgirl Strikers

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IT WAS ME, DIO

Surprisingly fun and just has a very specific feeling to it that has been done plenty before but I feel has been missing for a few years now and I appreciate it for doing a good job of that. It’s hard to explain what I mean, but there’s just something about how light and simple it is with a good mix of fun and charming girls just living their lives while also half the time battling monsters in another fucking dimension. It also features Hanakana in a role she clearly has a lot of fun with, loads of near constant silliness and wild goofy screams from her. I don’t have much to say but as always that’s not a good or bad sign, this is just a very – in a good way – simple and fun little show with some action but mostly a focus on the team having little episodic adventures or things to deal with.

Urarara Meirochou

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The director very clearly has a severe stomach fetish, let alone possibly a pregnancy or “inflation” one. Why do I say that? Try watching the show, while it’s actually not bad at all and it’s quite fun and cute, there are just shots of nothing but jiggly tummies multiple times every episode with no reason at all for most of them. Episode 2 starts out within the first 3 minutes just showing belly. Other than bellies the show does feature a lot of just nice gentle fun, it’s not exceptional or hilarious, but it’s just got a nice charm and cuteness to it and kind of reminds me of things like Sansha Sanyou for a recent example.

Tales of Zestiria the X Season 2

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I loved the first season of this adaptation because it took what is already a really great game and fleshed out a lot of elements that were skimped on in the game and added in a lot of fantastic content in general, so I was looking forward to this. This season, so far, has been 100% new content entirely with the exception of a few elements which also play out ENTIRELY differently. It really makes the show way more interesting and cool than if it was a pure adaptation. Not because of not following the game (a lot of people hate the game but I thought it was one of the better Tales games), but because this to me is what an adaptation of a story should be rather than a direct copy paste job into another medium. There are entirely new story strings, entirely new main characters, entirely new antagonists and friends, and there’s almost nothing here that is actually in the game anymore aside very vaguely similar concepts like “go to pendrago” but done completely differently, done for different reasons, done with different people, and so on. It’s really cool watching an entirely new story unfold in a familiar world with many familiar faces.

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However, they did mess up one of the best aspects – not only because it made Sorey much less mature and unique of a lead character for a JRPG or an anime, but because it makes the whole show much less mature feeling as well and also kind of messes with the lore. Most importantly it just completely destroys that maturity while also destroying much of Rose’s personal strengths, morals, values, and pretty much who she is all in the name of having Sorey be a peace loving pacifist unlike in the game where when he finds out the truth about her he doesn’t like it but completely accepts it and tries to understand it without ever trying to stop her and she never doubts herself and continues doing what she does.

im a bad widdew guwurl wahh wahhh

im a bad widdew guwurl wahh wahhh

Here it not only has him going REEEE YOU CAN’T KILL EVER IT’S BAD BECAUSE IT’S BAAAD IM A MAIN CHARACTER FROM AN ANIME AND OR A JRPG AND SO IT IS BAD TO KILL ALWAYS and it turns Rose into a crybaby idiot with no self confidence, no self esteem, and no willpower to stand with her beliefs at all once a boy she met recently tells her to stop being a bad killer person and also destroys the entire point about malevolence not growing in you as long as you are righteous because they outright say she has plenty but just manages to keep it at bay. It totally undermines her entire character and the ENTIRE POINT of her character which is that her strength is her strong virtuous spirit that lets her literally slaughter people without any repercussions because it’s always 100% carefully made sure to be justified and unarguably the right thing to do and so malevolence doesn’t form within her. Worse, it also just outright has Sorey convincing her that the father figure that shaped her into who she is was a bad, evil, shitty guy who she needs to stop believing in and being like and instead do what Sorey says because Sorey said so and turned her into a blithering crying moron screaming through the woods on horseback. The game handled this stuff so much more maturely and in a much more human and believable way than “I AM THE MC SO I AM AN ULTRA-PACIFIST AND YOU ARE WRONG IF YOU ARE NOT ALSO ONE”.

Because of that my feelings went from this being absolutely fantastic to now having rather mixed feelings.

Interviews with Monster Girls

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This is another show that I started out loving and quickly dropped to a very mixed opinion about. It’s great fun, has a lot of unique comedy and quirks, and the cast is very likable. The problem is that after the first few great episodes we’re thrown into what seems to be a still continuing arc about the snow girl which would be fine…except it’s fucking terrible. Anime loves dealing with things like bullies and making them realize how shitty they are and becoming good – this is a long time trope and has been very successful in things like GTO for example, so they try shoving it in here and the result is complete shit that’s maybe stupider than that fucking deaf girl manga because at least there stuff actually happened.

In the case of this show some girls privately gossip a little and the snow girl happens to overhear them talking about her completely by chance in a place they can’t even see her from so they are unaware she is anywhere nearby. Somehow the show turns this light gossip into being horrible bullying and treats it on par with the worst stuff you’d find in GTO which has some REALLY FUCKED UP SHIT in it that the kids do to one another because they are ACTUAL bullies and some are well beyond that into straight up criminal territory. But here? Not only were they not saying anything to her, not saying anything AROUND her (such as walking by in the hall purposefully saying bad things so she’d hear them for example), not physically bothering her, not even just rudely scoffing at her in class. These girls do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING but gossip one time privately in a closed off room about their classmates and they are treated like the most vile pieces of shit possible by the show to the viewer and of course treated that way by the cast as well – including the teacher who is known to molest his students and ask questions about their sex lives (both things are focused on at random times as admittedly not okay things yet they keep happening as jokes!).

Only pictures are of the cutest because fuck the rest.

Only pictures are of the cutest, she isn’t related at all to the situation I’m talking about though.

The biggest issue is all the directing with shit like this in the show – not only are these not bullies, but the moment our lead vampire girl goes in and starts bitching at them THEY ARE INCREDIBLY NICE AND UNDERSTANDING. Not sarcastic, not smarmy, not dicks or threatening. They even compliment her very genuinely on standing up for her friend and coming to talk to them about the situation. There isn’t a facial expression, a wording, or even a tone of voice that makes any of how they’re acting there seem dishonest – and when you consider they were just gossiping in a closed bathroom there’s no reason to believe it’s not true either. Yet, the main girl continues to scream and berate them about how shit they are and how she’s such a better person than them and how they are terrible shitty people and how she’s a golden child and the show also expects you to feel that same way. You’re meant to see this girl as a motivational wonderful thing for “standing up” to these “bullies”, but in fact she was the only character that was a bully in the entire episode. She just out of nowhere starts yelling at these girls who didn’t do anything much like a feminist or social justice warrior sucker punching you for being a “nazi” based on the fact you’re wearing a t-shirt that happens to be red even though it’s just Dr Pepper merchandise, and the show wants you to be on her side – just like the teacher who supports this as well!

I really hope that kind of shit doesn’t continue because the rest of the show has been fantastic.

Gabriel Dropout

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Reminds me a lot of shows like Jitsu wa, My Bride is a Mermaid, and definitely the typical shows focused on four girls (it’s always four for some reason) and their quirky friendships with one another like the recent Sansha Sanyou. This one deals with a pretty near to fallen angel who was a really good one but ended up getting addicted to MMOs and being a lazy slob who gives no shits about anything, another angel who is a massive sadist, a super sweet and loving devil, and one of Satan’s offspring who is a hyperactive idiot. It’s super fun and I highly recommend trying it out as it’s probably the most enjoyable thing airing.

ACCA

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This show is questionable as well, another one that started out really cool but now is declining – not drastically or anything, but certainly the most recent episode was just goddamn stupid and pointless, making it a chore to watch and making my feelings for the show drop a bit. The overall premise was promising with the concept of a coup going on and being an inspector (that’s expected to be in on the coup) going around to 13 very different districts in this nation which separates basically various things to these areas – for example a district specialized in just agriculture which has it’s own little government like a state but is part of the nation as a whole and is the only place that produces food for the entire place. While that seems to be what we’re mostly doing (one district per episode, with mixed in stuff about the coup) this recent episode was just retarded with a district that was canonically stuck as Britain back during the American Revolution days for no reason whatsoever in a nation that is otherwise completely modern, it also served no purpose to the whole nation (so why is it allowed to exist?) and also served no fucking purpose to the show either. A fucking waste of time, and the more I think about it most of what’s gone on is similarly pointless. Hopefully the show keeps on track but I’m not confident about it.

Nyanko Days

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NYANKO IS LOVE.

Chiruran 1/2

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Nothing to really say about this one, it’s a fun very short (90 seconds not including the OP) thing with super deformed Shinsengumi being silly. I guess this is a fun spinoff of some serious manga about the Shinsengumi, much like that Touken Ranbu show was a spinoff of a serious thing that hasn’t been animated.

Piacevole

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It’s a cute short about a little Italian place in the woods in Japan with quirky characters.

Ai Mai Mi 3 – Surgical Friends

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Ever since the first season of Ai Mai Mi brought my attention to her, Choboraunyopomi has been a top favorite mangaka of mine though I can’t read her manga the adaptations don’t seem far off and fuck if they aren’t the most hilarious and just plain goddamn weird shit I’ve ever seen. Is it “so randum” humor? Fuck yes it is, and usually that ends up complete shit, but this is random done more right than you could ever imagine and way more fun than you’d expect as well. There’s just something so perfectly charming, fun, INCREDIBLY UNIQUE, and grotesquely strange about all her work and Ai Mai Mi has never stopped being the perfect example of that with this third season continuing that very strongly as well.

[Continuing Shows]

Time Bokan 24

Jeanne D'arc and her boyfriend joining on the true history posing.

Still fantastic and just the most fucking fun and silly thing possible. Really glad this is continuing on and hope it doesn’t stop anytime soon. I also like some of the changes that have happened starting in this second half like the bigger focus on the Akudarma team who are easily the very best thing about the show. 100% recommend this as it’s easily the most charming, fun, and original things I’ve seen in a very long time and is definitely something anyone should be able to love. Continues to be one of my top favorites of all time.

Mobile Suit Gundam Iron Blooded Orphans Season 2

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I’m actually incredibly disappointed with this season to the point of now outright dropping it. You’ve got the complaint I had in the end of year posts about a certain relationship destroying a lot of important development and making no sense, sure, but then the already overly convoluted bullshit story that this season started with has gotten EVEN WORSE AND MORE STUPID. There are a billion groups infighting with one another and allying with those who they arent but secretly not and just it’s so goddamn retarded and trying to do WAY too much. Then, to top it all off and really my biggest issue personally – Atra being a literal cuckold and not only does it ruin a very personal scene between her and Kudelia, it ruins both of their characters from that point on as it’s heavily focused on and continually brought up after that point. It’s terrible. And no, it’s not me misunderstanding it – she outright tells Kudelia to try and get pregnant from having sex with Mika and then when Kudelia says she should do it herself since she also loves him Atra decides that they should make it a competition to see who can get impregnated by his cum shooting deep into them. The show is just a complete mess this season with no idea what it’s doing and no focus, instead of actually working on anything it just keeps throwing on new traitors, new groups that have 3 sub-groups who are all on different sides, and random sex jokes. I’ve dropped it.

Ninja Girl & Samurai Master

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Hideyoshi has been focused on lately and he’s a retard as usual. Still a really fun and awkward when it gets super violent short with a silly take on oddly accurate (in the big stuff at least) history.

Nyanbo

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Still Nyanbo. There are two Kuros.

Classicaloid

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Still going pretty good and actually some of my favorite episodes have been once the Winter season started with multiple episodes now dedicated to my favorite character (aside the landlady), Tchaikovsky. Plus just some silly shit, which is when the show really shines, like with Schubert turning himself into a fish by mistake and his journey of survival from that point on.

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4 responses to “Winter 2017 Anime – Early Thoughts

  1. Nice preview! In ACCA’s latest ep I never really thought of why Suitsu was stuck in time, all of the other states have been so outlandish I kind of accepted it without too much thought. I assumed it was due to the corrupt government wanting to keep the power imbalance, and having technology like mobiles and cars would increase the risk of discovery. Still it doesn’t sound like a cohesive answer. Anyway, I enjoyed the way Jean approached the situation he was in, showcasing his ethics as an inspector and how it really exemplified the false peace that surrounds the DOWA Kingdom. In a way, it felt like a test for Jean to see how he would react set by the guy ordering Nino to stalk Jean.

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    • Thanks, glad you found it worth a read! And yeah while i found a lot of that episode stupid (that whole districts lore, the fact literally everyone was in on the coup almost to the point of feeling like satire, etc) i did like that sort of on the fly “test” of his loyalty too. It was pretty clumsy but it got its points across for sure. I just hope this is the only district that makes no sense because i was enjoying the concept of learning how they all work to help the nation going and their unique focuses.

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