We're at the end of May. By now, most of the Spring 2017 anime season have passed their halfway point (all safe Yu-Gi-Oh! Vrains due to the delay) and some of those have already reached the much-dreaded recap episode (it's almost pre-packaged with an anime series nowadays).
Overall, there is only one show that stands out from the rest, similar to Ms. Kobayashi's Dragon Maid last season. However, it doesn't stand out for the good reasons... It's more like a... "how low can it go" feeling everybody has while watching it. It's absolute trash and we know it. Yet, we can't keep our eyes away from it.
Attack on Titan S2
- Genre: Seinen action with drama and horror elements
- Studio: Wit Studio - Directed by Tetsuro Araki
- Source: Monthly manga series
- Direct continuation of Season 1. (review of that soon)
- Legal stream: Crunchyroll & Funimation (limited regions only)
This season in two words: Beast Titan
Longer version: The story of the second season picks up where the first left off, with the revelation of the Titan in the wall. Soon afterwards, there's the rumor that titans have also appeared within wall Rose (the second wall). Panic spreads rapidly and the members of the Survey corps that didn't partake in the arrest of Annie are now sent on a reconnaissance mission to see what happened.
What the second arc of the first season kinda lacked, this second season makes up for in spades. The first half is pure survival horror. The characters have little to no weapons and there's an unknown presence of titans within the wall (or is there)? This added by the addition of the frighteningly Beast Titan who seems to be the commander of all titans and can make them do things our heroes never expected before.
Recommendation: If you haven't finished the first season, watch that first! Then come back for more here!
My Hero Academia S2
- Genre: Shonen Action, Heroes
- Studio: Bones - Directed by Kenji Nagasaki
- Source: Weekly Manga series
- Direct continuation of Season 1. Link to my review of season 1)
- Legal stream: Crunchyroll & Funimation (limited regions only)
While Attack on Titan's second season is only half as long as its first, the opposite is true for My Hero Academia. 25 episodes of Plus Ultra! This will contain the entire sports festival, but will also contain the "Field Training" and probably also the End-of-Term test arc (so I presume up to ch 69).
I'm hyped. How about you?
Recommendation: Watch S1 first, then this one!
Uchouten Kazoku / The Eccentric Family S2
- Genre: Supernatural + Dramedy
- Studio: P.A. Works - Directed by Masayuki Yoshihara
- Source: Original work
- Direct continuation of Season 1. (review of that soon)
- Legal stream: Crunchyroll (limited regions only)
In season 2 Yaichirō is setting up a shogi tournament and is getting really close with a female tanuki named Gyokuran. But the rival Ebisugawa clan tries their best to ruin everything. Next to that there's the return of Master Akadama's estranged son "Nidaime" (which basically means the successor). Yasaburo tries his best to keep the peace between everybody, but fails miserably. What happens can only be summed up as something foolish. But then again, it's in their foolish blood.
Canipa pushed this one in the past months, so I ended up watching it. Not regretting it. The Eccentric Family is a different anime from your typical shounen action series. It's about Tanuki's and Tengu's, about creatures that transform into humans and mingle between them.
Recommendation: While you can watch this second season without the first, it would be foolish to skip on the great first season. If you want something different in your anime, The Eccentric Family certainly fills that gap!
- Genre: Card games
- Studio: Studio Gallop - Directed by Masahiro Hosoda
- Source: "Original" work
- Yet another Spin-off to the original Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters series.
- Legal stream: Not yet, currently only in Asia
Card games on surfboards in a VR world no less! The sixth installment of Yu-Gi-Oh! anime has started out on a high note and seems to be at least better than the previous two anime (Zexal and Arc-V). Let's cross our fingers and hope for the best.
Too soon to become a definite recommendation. It's a long-running series that once again will encompass around 140-150 episodes. So we're in for a LONG ride!
Temporary recommendation: This anime seems to go in a similar attitude like 5D's. So if you liked that one, this one may pick your interest as well. We'll see how it evolves.
New anime: The "how low can we go" anime
- Genre: Slice of Life
- Studio: A1-Pictures - Directed by Ryouhei Takeshita
- Source: Light Novel
- Legal stream: Crunchyroll (US only), Daisuki (rest of the world) & Anime Strike
Izumi is a beginning Light Novel writer whose light novels are drawn by a person named "Eromanga Sensei". After his first series ends, he finds out that said Eromanga Sensei is actually his stepsister Sagiri, who has been a reclusive for the better part of the last year (or so). They slowly come to terms that one is writer and the other the artist. But Izumi wants his sister to get out of her room and go to school, while also trying to keep his career as a light novel author going. And then a rival appears.
There's no better misfire to talk about than Eromanga Sensei. Similarly to MaiDragon last season, Eromanga Sensei is thé meme anime of this season. But while MaiDragon was all about positivism and gave everybody a smile on their face, Eromanga rather jives off the "how low can it go" motif. The first word uttered in this anime is "Imouto", or little sister. And from that first word alone, you already know where this is going. Yes, this is a repeat of Oreimo. And according to what I keep hearing from people that have read the novel, this anime will go even lower in "little sister fetish" than Oreimo ever did.
Recommendation: I'd say to stay the hell away from it. But you're probably just like e and want to check it out either way, just to see what the fuss is all about. Hey: Your loss!
New anime: The good ones!
If you want to know which anime of this season will stand the test of time, you've just reached the end of that list. Yes, it consists of the sequels and Eromanga Sensei. However, among all other anime, there still are anime that I want to push as "really good" and worth checking out. I sincerely wish for these to pass the test of time as well!
- Genre: Slice of Life / Coming of age story
- Studio: P.A. Works - Directed by Souichi Masui
- Source: Original story
- Legal stream: Crunchyroll and Funimation (limited regions only)
Sakura Quest is about the titular Sakura who recently graduated and is looking for a steady job in the big city of Tokyo, fleeing the the countryside in this process. But she quickly finds out that finding a steady job in the big city isn't all she had hoped it would be. She gets disillusioned, but refuses her mother's call to go back to the countryside.
A temp job as playing a "queen" in a tourist attraction gets her triggered and off she goes. But due to a lot of miscommunication she is not really all that welcome. The old man requesting her thought she was somebody completely different (a dead actress in fact), while Sakura herself is shocked when the "queen" role isn't for 1-2 days. It's for an entire year, and her role requires her to promote the countryside; two things which she absolutely resents doing.
But after some hijinks, she agrees to the role of playing queen, together with the assistance of a few other young women/girls in town.
If this anime gives you flashbacks to Shirobako, it should. It is done by the same studio and it wouldn't surprise me if it had the same character designer attached to it. Other than that, this is a real coming-of-age story for young adults. This anime disrupts the illusion that you can make it big in the big city. It also shows the painful truth of many Japanese people fleeing the country to the big city and thus turning many countryside towns into ghost-towns (or soon-to-be ghost towns).
Recommendation: Must-watch for anyone of 20 years and above. However, this may be boring for teenagers (and young 20-somethings) who have not yet to venture into the real world.
Alice & Zoroku
- Genre: Supernatural + a mix of Adventure/slice-of-life
- Studio: J.C. Staff - Directed by Katsushi Sakurabi
- Source: Monthly manga series
- Legal stream: Crunchyroll (worldwide) & Funimation (US)
A young girl named Sana has been imprisoned in a secret facility for many years. But one night she escapes. While she is being chased by the people from the facility, she somehow ends up in the arms of a regular old man named Zoroku. Sana, as well as other kids in the team chasing her, have special powers which are akin to mutant powers.
After a few intense chase scenes, Zoroku and Sana are able to get rid of the people chasing her. Since Sana doesn't really know anything about the outside world, Zoroku decides to take in the girl into his house, together with his granddaughter Sanae. Sana now has to get accustomed to all the things in this real-life world, while Zoroku has to handle his normal life as a florist. Yes, you read that right: a florist.
This was one of my favorite series from the get-go, if only the CG wasn't so horribly bad. Luckily, that has slightly improved (although only a little). But the things that made the first episode strong are still there. A good and interesting story, amazing sound design and music. And that general smile that remains on my face after each episode. It's just... warm.
- Genre: Seinen, Fantasy Action
- Studio: TROYCA - Directed by Ei Aoki
- Origin: Original story
- Legal stream: Amazon Prime's Anime Strike
Souta is inspiring artist who is sucked in to the world of an anime and sees this anime's female protagonist (Celestia) fight with a "Military uniform princess" who is not from that anime. Through a magical force, all three are sucked back to regular old Japan.
Throughout the story, while trying figure out what's happening, Celestia and our hero try to figure out why characters from several games and anime are popping up in the real world. And slowly they are trying to find ways to boost their own power (by contacting the character's creators). But it is not a journey that runs as smoothly as these people think.
This show's concept is so original yet classic at the same time. It's like Jump Ultimate Stars, or Smash bros, or Marvel Vs Capcom! Take random characters from different franchises and have them duke it out. And while the story buildup has gone quite slowly, it (at this moment) is one of the most interesting anime at this moment. In fact, while other anime are starting to show their faults and problems, Re:Creators keeps rising in quality.
Recommendation: If you don't mind some dialogue-heavy scenes, this is a definite must-watch!
KADO: The Right Answer / Seikasuru KADO
- Genre: Sci-Fi, Political
- Studio: Toei Animation - Directed by Kazuya Murata
- Source: Original
- Legal stream: Crunchyroll & Funimation (worldwide)
First contact with an alien / inter-dimensional species happens when a big cube-shaped object appears out of nowhere and lands on an airfield, encapsulating an entire plane in the process. The survivors and the Japanese government try to figure out what happened, until the alien appears a few hours later, together with one of the survivors. This survivor is our main character Kojirou Shindou and is a negotiator (as in this being his actual profession).
We soon find out that this being (Yaha-kui zaShunina) wants to share his knowledge with all humans, but runs into a few hurdles: Actual Earth's politics! What IS the right answer to giving new information to all of humanity?
I personally have noticed I shouldn't try watching this late in the evening when I'm tired, because there's a good chance of me falling asleep. But when my attention has awakened, I find it a very interesting and especially a different kind of anime out there (although that CG+2D gimmick still tends to bother me from time to time).
Recommendation: If you're tired of cliche action or romance / drama series; this is an anime that offers something completely different! However, it might be a little "too different" for everybody's taste due to the level of politics / negotiations (thus lots of talking).
New anime - Average stuff
This group is the stuff that's neither amazing and noteworthy, yet also not bad either. There's some good stuff in there, and there's also stuff in there that makes you go: "Really?"
WorldEnd / SukaSuka
- Genre: Fantasy, with added drama and romance
- Studio:Satelight & C2C - Directed by Junichi Wada
- Source: Light Novel
- Legal stream: Crunchyroll (worldwide)
Full title: "WorldEnd: What do you do at the end of the world? are you busy? Will you save us?" Only a Japanese Light Novel can have a title this long and convoluted.
Humanity has ended at the hand of the mysterious "beasts". Other races have taken over earth and blame the humans for the continued existence of said beasts. Our protagonist (Willem Kmetch) is a human who was frozen in time and has recently been "released" in present time, only to see it suffer.
He comes around doing odd-jobs and being part of the military. His most recent task now consists of protecting an arsenal of specialized "weapons" that will fight off the Beasts. Due to his own history with the beasts, he takes it upon himself to guard these weapons. But to his surprise, he quickly comes to the conclusion that said weapons are actually young female leprechauns (never seen such beautiful leprechauns in any literature ever). They're the only beings able to wield the "dig" weapons that can slay the beast and they can blow themselves up doing massive damage as well.
Willem quickly settles in and becomes the caretaker of all these young girls, but now tries to stop these girls from blowing themselves to smithereens.
Worldend is an anime with very high high notes, but also with a lot of low notes. The first episodes and some of the latest are really good, but then there are gems like episodes 3-5 that rank between mediocre to just plain bad. I really want this anime to end well since the story concept is REALLY interesting. But those bad episodes give me fear for the possible ending.
Recommendation: I want to say a must-watch. But there's a few episodes in there I really cannot defend from criticism. Take that as you will.
Grimoire of Zero / Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho
- Genre: Fantasy, action
- Studio: White Fox - Directed by: Tetsuo Hirakawa
- Source: Light novel
- Legal Stream: Anime Strike
The world of this anime is inhabited by magicians and beastmen. But regular species tend to hunt these beings to extinction. And since Beastmen are stronger than average humans and thus are often hired to hunt the female magicians (because they're witches and "witches are EVIL"). Our main character (Youhei) is one such beastman and has the looks of a white tiger. He's a mercenary hunting for witches, but once he comes across the magician named "Zero", his world changes. She is looking for the source of all current witches, the "Grimoire of Zero" (which is written by her). In return for Youhei's assistance, she promises to return him to a full human form.
Here's a story with a strong concept and starting point that just went average after a while. It's not bad at all, but you can see certain elements dragging it down, or making me go "Really? Is this necessary?". Albus (for example) is the McGuffin that moves the story forward, even if he/she is quite annoying. The main villain of the series (Thirteen) is the blandest thing you've tasted since tofu. And while there's a lot of potential in his character to be amazing (he has a mysterious power that turns mages into dust, he has great manipulative powers, he can have a sense of humor, etc), he generally just looks and sounds like he's bored out of his mind. And his design looks like he's an average Japanese man who just put on the world's laziest magician cosplay.
Recommendation: While I do quite enjoy it from time to time, this anime just has way too many missed opportunities. So you can skip it if needed to.
Akashic records of bastard magic instructor / Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records
- Genre: Fantasy, action, high school
- Studio: LIDENFILMS - Directed by: Minato Kazuto
- Source: Light novel
- Legal Stream: Crunchyroll (worldwide)
Sistine & Rumia are two girls that are going to a magic high school and are suddenly instructed by a new magic teacher (Glenn) who is totally lazy, a total bastard, a lech and god-knows-what else. Worst of all, everybody suspects that he doesn't know a lick of magic. He's the most useless bastard out there. Our two girls wonder how this "Glenn" was hand-picked to teach them the ways of magic.
But while he initially disappoints everybody in his class by being lazy and uninterested, events that happen in the second episode trigger him to become a bit more motivated and shows his pupils how to actually be better at magic. Bit by bit, piece by piece, Glenn shows everybody why he's the best magic teacher out there, even if he keeps a lot of his snarky wit.
Personally, I hated the first episode. The jokes were not funny and the forced gag of running into a girl's changing room was so bad, it made me drop this anime instantly. So it will be a drag to get over that initial let-down. But afterwards, the anime does get better, piece by piece. But there are (and remain) a lot of contrivances to get people to like this Glenn character. Also, Sistine remains very annoying and is an unnatural character with Easter eggs for eyes.
Recommendation: It's certainly a somewhat enjoyable show to watch (it's one of the most-watched new series on Crunchyroll, if that is an indicator), but there are just better anime with both magic and with high school settings out there.
New anime - The disappointments
Renai Boukun / Love Tyrant
- Genre: Comedy, Supernatural, Romance (kind of)
- Studio: EMT² - Directed by Atsushi Nigorikawa
- Source: Weekly manga series
- Legal stream: Crunchyroll & Funimation (Worldwide)
Boy receives mysterious note to kill people with a heart... oh, no no no. That's a different series. This is a lot less serious.
In this case, a Cupid named Guri ends up writing our main hero's name (Seiji Aino) in a parody of said death note: the Kiss note. And unless he finds and kisses his true love, he will die. And he succeeds in doing so in the very first episode; with the only catch being that his crush that he ends up kissing (Akane) ends up revealing herself to be a Yandere who already had a crush on our main character. And then our regular cupid decides that it would be fun if she write Akane's name and her own as a relationship in said Kiss note. Why? Because she thinks love triangles are fun! And thus hijinks ensue.
I originally picked this one up because of the interesting pitch and the amount of comedy in the first episode. However... After watching 6 episodes, it's become clear that having good "pitch ideas" is the only good thing this anime has going for it. The overarching story is boring and the characters (while initially funny) quickly reveal themselves to be one-dimensional cardboard cutouts (the only exception being Guri herself).
Recommendation: Skip it. While the first episode is good and genuinely funny, you will only get disappointed by the end.
Atom: The Beginning (Season 1)
- Genre: Sci-Fi, Seinen Action (with elements of Slice of Life)
- Studio: Co-production between OLM Inc, Production I.G. and Signal MD - Directed by Katsuyuki Motohiyo (lead) and Tatsuo Satou
- Origin: Monthly manga series
- Legal stream: Amazon Prime's Anime Strike
This anime is a prequel to Astro Boy (or "Tetsuwan Atom" as it is known in Japan). And by that one sentence this anime should have picked your interest already, since Astro Boy is one of the first mainstream "shonen action" series ever created.
This prequel tells the story of Astro Boy's creators and how they slowly create the "Bewusstsien" (self-awareness) AI that Astro Boy runs on and makes him as human as possible for a robot.
I've been looking forward to this anime for a long time, and for most part I'm getting what I wanted. But is it thé best anime out there? Sadly enough, no. The first 6 episodes build up the story a little too slow to be REAL good.
Also, I've read the manga (or what IS translated of it) and suddenly noticed the big problem of this show. Half of this show if filler. I'll go into more detail when I do a full review. But think about it, a show that isn't hyped that much tries to sell itself by replacing half of its run-time with filler. Who thought that was a good idea?
Recommendation: It pains me to say this, since I love any re-imagination of Astro Boy. But you better wait until there's at least a second season. Then watch them together. As it stands, this first season alone will not be enough to satisfy you!
- Genre: Fantasy, action
- Studio: A1 Pictures - Directed by Yuuki Itou
- Source: Game for Android & iOS
- Legal stream: Crunchyroll, Funimation & Hulu (limited regions only)
Girl falls out of the sky, boy saves her from her fall and protects her from the "evil army", although he dies in the process. Girl revives boy and now he has powers. This is a story with floating islands, airships, mythical creatures and magic!
This anime has been panned for being a run-of-the-mill fantasy RPG turned anime. It's mediocrity at its finest.
And while I personally am enjoying the series, I can admit that this series never rises above being "average". The dialogue (and often the art) seems ripped straight out of the game, since it seems so generic that it could appear in a text box and nobody would bat an eye. But at the same time, this anime gives LOTS of room for people to abridge it. I found it to be very funny to ad-lib dialogue over the actual dialogue spoken, since what I was hearing was run-of-the-mill anyway.
Also the voices. Katalina = Celty from Durarara, Vyrn = Happy from Fairy Tail, Rackam = Sanji from One Piece, etc. Once you hear it, you cannot un-hear them being other characters.
Recommendation: If you like anime based on fantasy RPGs and you have nothing else to watch, give this one a shot. Anybody else may skip this one, since it's very forgettable.
Warau Salesman new / Laughing Salesman new
- Genre: Seinen, drama
- Studio: Shin-Ei Animation - Directed by Hirofumi Ogura
- Source: manga from the 80s/90s
- Legal stream: Crunchyroll & Funimation (US only)
Every person has a dark desire in their heart. It is up to the mysterious laughing salesman Fukuzouto Moguro to find what these people are longing for and "selling" it to them. But each of these pieces of happiness brought upon his customers comes with a limit. When these humans reach past these limits, disaster will strike (and it strikes hard).
I was genuinely interested in this anime from its premise. However, after you've seen one or two episodes, you basically have seen thme all. The story becomes repetitive WAY too fast for its own good.
But to give credit where it's due, the OP is animated wonderfully! When you skip this anime, at least check the OP.
Recommendation: Skip it! Watch Hell Girl (Jigoku Shoujo) instead of this disappointment! On that end: New Season of Hell Girl this coming Summer season!
Anime to be watched / Continued
There's still some good anime out there, but I just haven't found the time yet to watch or continue watching.
- Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul: Just started with the first season. I'll get to this one later!
- Tsuki ga kirei: Loved the first episode! Really good! But I'm just not a romance anime fan, so it might take a while to finish it.
- Busou Shoujo Machiavellianism: Kinda liked the first episode, but then forgot about it. May drop it, may continue. Dunno yet.
New anime - Dropped after 1 episode
These are the series that are so disappointing or "not my style", I've dropped after one episode be. For more detail as to why, I refer to my Starting point blog.
- The Royal Tutor: I know there will be many fans of this series. But it's not my style. It's aimed at girls to gawk at boys. I dropped it, but I'm not going to hate on it.
- Hinako Note: Cute girls doing cute things for the sake of being cute. Not my style, but I know there are people that love this kind of genre.
- Boruto: I'm sorry, but I'm apparently one of the few that hated the first episode. But I saw the flaws in it and saw how this series is going to fall in the future. And none of the promo video's that have appeared ever since have picked up my interest. It remains dropped.
- Clockwork Planet: Was "meh" after the first episode, and couldn't be bothered to pick up the second episode.
- Sword Oratoria: The first episode was "okay" at best, but I kinda forgot about it... and so did most other people. I don't hear anybody talking about it anymore.
- The King's Avatar: Not understanding the praise people give this series. The CG is awful and the dialogue and story is very unnatural and awkward.
- ID-0: Mediocre CG, mediocre story and characters you cannot connect with. ID-0 simply does not work.
- Sakurada Reset: The first episode is boring me to tears. And from what I hear, it didn't get much better later on. Stay away from it.
- The Seven Mortal Sins: Some of the best animation of this season went to a glorified hentai. Nuff said.
- Tsugumomo: Fell somewhere between generic as hell and borderline annoying me.
- Anonymous Noise: HATE THIS PIECE OF SH... STOP SINGING! Just STOP singing!
- Frame Arms Girl: Is one of the most popular shows in Japan ATM. And I can understand why. But it's not my kind of anime. It's a glorified toy commercial.
- Kabuki-bu: Had high hopes for this, but dropped it after 1 episode. It's so bland and Generic, I could predict what would happen without even seeing the rest of the season.
Yes, there's still a few series to add. still to be added are the short anime. Though I can be just as short about that: "Please Take my Brother Away" / "Ani ni Tsukeru Kusuri wa Nai" is the best short anime of Spring 2017! Nuff said!
To be updated soon. Until then, V out.
- June 06th: Added Grimoire of Zero, Akashic Records and the Drops list