Anime Taste Testing: Spring 2017


Apologies for being a bit later than usual with this. Still trying to figure out life and stuff. And also my wifi, Because Japan. As usual, the following opinions are based purely on the first episode of each show and are ranked from worst to best.

Fukumenkei Noise
Score: 2/10 (Dropped)


Wow this is terrible. Seriously, I’m really struggling to think of any redeeming features whatsoever here. To start with, the writing is appallingly bad: every single line of dialogue is so hackneyed and melodramatic that the whole thing could just about be a parody of itself; the aaaangsty backstories feel like nothing so much as thinly-veiled excuses for the characters to behave like assholes; and the story keeps jumping around from one scene to another seemingly at random. In fact, the pacing is such that the events of this first episode alone could probably be stretched out over an entire season. The god-awful singing and truly eye-watering art style is just the icing on the cake as far as I’m concerned, with the former used to almost laughably bad effect and the latter looking like a reject of 90s. How such a show even got made in the first place is completely beyond me.

Sakurada Reset
Score: 4/10 (Dropped)


For an anime with an interesting enough synopsis (even if the whole time-travel thing is getting a bit tired at this point), this was a really boring premiere. The entire episode just felt so incredibly bland that I’m actually struggling to recollect anything that happened at all, everything from the characters to the artwork was that flat and flavourless. Which is pretty weird when you think about it, because Sakurada Reset doesn’t reek of wish-fulfillment tropes or shitty fanservice like so many shows based on light novels do, and you’d think the guy who directed Non Non Biyori and Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge would know how to inject some life and warmth into even the slowest of stories. Oh well, can’t win ‘em all I guess.

Kabukibu!
Score: 4/10 (Dropped)


I imagine I would’ve been all over Kabukibu if it wasn’t for the setting. There’s probably no way to kill a potentially interesting topic more quickly than to center it around a high school club, and unfortunately that’s exactly what we got. The premise of one guy/girl and their bestie forming some kind of school group, then immediately having to hunt down and convince other people to join said group, has not only been done to death at this point but also been done far better – so while I didn’t particularly dislike anything I saw here, I also saw nothing at all to suggest that Kabukibu would be any different from every other bland school club-centric anime ever made. The kabuki itself is just the outer shell for the kind of title we’ve all seen literally hundreds of times before. And not that it matters overmuch in this case, but since I could say exactly the same thing for all of the technical aspects like art and music, I see little point in investing any more of my time.

Alice to Zouroku
Score: 5/10 (Dropped)


And here I thought Japan was over its Lewis Carroll fetish. To be clear, there’s nothing overtly sexual in this set-up, for which I’m profoundly grateful – although also to be fair, there’s still a disproportionate number of cutesy prepubescent girls wandering around, to say nothing of the Lolita-esque costumes, which is at the very least enough to make me roll my eyes and wish Alice to Zouroku had gone with something a little less on-the-nose. Actually though, my major problem with this series is the tonally inconsistent feel, which the artwork certainly doesn’t help. I can forgive poor production values if the writing is decent enough, but a) I don’t think it is, particularly and b) terribad CG aside, I just don’t think the art style suits the rest of the series at all. It’s like the writers thought they were making one show and the artists thought they were making something else entirely. The result is a relatively serious and even potentially quite dark story in terms of content, but with character designs that seem like they’d be more at home in some random slice-of-life/moe schoolgirl show. So although I didn’t hate what I saw, I can think of far better things to watch in what little spare time I currently have.

Shingeki no Kyoujin Season 2
Score: 5/10 (Dropped)


Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Shingeki no Kyoujin. Well, except for the fact that most of the characters seem like either incredibly dumb or objectively terrible people, and that all of them scream 90% of their dialogue, and that the human race would more than likely have gone extinct long ago under such abysmal strategy and leadership. For the record, yes, I know I’m probably missing the point and yes, despite the sarcasm, I too am able to suspend my disbelief in favour of some decent action sequences and the odd fun plot twist or two. I watched all of the first season after all, so I guess I must have enjoyed the series to at least some extent. However, the fact remains I don’t care quite enough anymore to continue watching at this point – so rather than be that annoying person who’s always pointing out the flaws in the story and generally raining on everyone else’s parade, I’m just going to bow out here and pretend I don’t know what people are talking about.

Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul
Score: 7/10


This isn’t my favourite sequel this season, but I’m reasonably sure it’s going to be a decent one, provided Favaro FAVAROOOO shows up at some point and that the show can keep the fanservice below a certain threshold. There aren’t many action/adventure anime titles out there that manage to keep me consistently entertained, but the first season of Bahamut was a wonderful exception, and with the same staff behind season two, I see no reason why I shouldn’t enjoy it just as much this time around. Of course, chances are if you didn’t enjoy Genesis then you won’t enjoy Virgin Soul, since in terms of basic product I’m pretty sure they’re going to be almost identical, but I for one am happy to sign up for that.

Tsuki ga Kirei
Score: 7.5/10


For an episode in which basically nothing happened, this is an unexpectedly fresh start to a potentially very decent series. School-centered slice-of-life shows certainly aren’t an oddity, and there’s probably nothing in this one that brings anything new to the table in terms of content, but what is perhaps slightly unusual is the way it feels so incredibly down-to-earth. There’s nothing affected or exaggerated going on with the characters and their lives; rather, I have absolutely no problem imagining every single scene taking place in reality exactly as it plays out here. These are just teenagers being their awkward teenage selves, all doing their best to figure out how to navigate their way through everyday life with their dignity and sense of selves intact. That may not sound incredibly exciting, but the show staves off boredom by switching points-of-view rather than staying focused on just one or two characters. I also really appreciate seeing the characters interact with their respective families – parents included – and in ways that feel just as natural as the rest of the series does. Add to this the almost complete lack of inner monologuing (or indeed the lack of any unnecessary dialogue in general), plus an art style highly reminiscent of Hourou Musuko, and I think we’ve got a winner here.

Uchouten Kazoku 2
Score: 8/10


Weirdly enough, I didn’t actually enjoy the first season of Uchouten Kazoku all that much back when I first tried it out, but the show eventually grew on me and I ended up loving it. There’s just something about the vibe and energy of the piece which appeals to me, and I find that its unique brand of comedy mixes strangely well with the often reasonably serious subject matter (namely, a literal game of life and death for everyone’s favourite tanuki family). As with Shingeki no Bahamut, I think everyone basically knows what they’re signing up for with this sequel, especially if, like me, you’re a bit of a Yoshihara Masayuki fan. Plus, I still really like the soundtrack.

Natsume Yuujinchou Roku
Score: 9/10


YES.

Question of the post: What were the single best and single worst premieres of the spring season for you? Any titles you think I’m definitely missing out on?

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33 thoughts on “Anime Taste Testing: Spring 2017

    • I just didn’t much care for the synopsis of either of them. Admittedly though, I’m being pretty cutthroat in what I’m choosing to watch currently because of my work schedule and wifi woes.

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      • Sakura Quest is standard PA Works “working girls/young women” fare. I’d rank it lower than Shirobako but higher than Hanasaku Iroha (mainly because everyone in it is an adult, and it managed to get through two episodes without skeeviness). Based on one episode Re:Creators strikes me as more meta-fare for the self-aware otaku, but done well. In the end though I think both are skippable.

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  1. Haven’t be impressed with the season thus far, but I very rarely am these days. I think I’ve gotten so callous that shows have to grow on me to survive xD
    I actually forgot about Eccentric Family for a bit. I’ll need to check that out. Like you, I had to get into it as it didn’t catch me much at first. It definitely has a unique flavor. Pun intended 😉

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    • Yes, same here. Though I’m being even more ruthless than usual with what I’m watching from the new season because of my current work schedule and wifi woes. Just ‘okay’ isn’t going to cut it.

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      • I feel ya. Actually I’ve been doing research on wifi in Japan (oddly specific, I know) and lots of peeps have issues with getting it set up. Seems a very common issue. One girl just went straight for those portable wifi services instead. Just goes to show that our perceptions/assumptions about other nations are nearly always wrong xD
        Although, it didn’t shock me too much. In my Japanese courses in college my teachers were pretty committed to their old projector units, despite having a working computer projector already set up. You could hear sensei across the building, the squeaking projector wheels struggling to keep up. Pretty sure Japanese was the ONLY subject at uni that subjected us to those old things xD
        (to be fair to sensei, most of the computers were the latest Apple systems and not the easiest to use as a result)

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        • It just takes a really long time to set up, most likely due to excessive paperwork. I dearly love Japan but it’s often bureaucracy to the extreme. I did end up getting one of those portable wifi things to see me through April, but it cost a ton and is still depressingly slow. As in, “takes a minute to load Google” slow. Never again.

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          • Really? I was under the impression that it was cheaper. But the lady talking about it did mention it used the same company as her husband’s cellphone so maybe they got a package deal? Are you using a cafe or other location to do online work right now then or just dealing with the horrid lag?

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              • Well, at least there’s that. It definitely doesn’t help that so many sites these days use crappy code that sucks up bandwidth too. I have decent internet right now and comments aren’t bad, but the current WP New Post layout defs takes up more strength than the ye ol’ set up, mostly because of the autosave. Lord save me if the internet goes in and out (as it often does when the wind gets bad here). WP FREAKS if it can’t autosave every few seconds. I can’t imagine that’s fun to deal with on your end ><

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                • I’ve been lining up scheduled posts only for this month. There’s no predicting my internet at all until I get wifi set up properly in May, so I’ve been writing all my documents in Word first, then copying/pasting and scheduling them on WP. It’s uploading the images that really sucks up the time.

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                  • Ouch. Sounds like the smartest and most efficient way to do it though. I hope it all gets set up quickly once May sets in. Goodness ><

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  2. Natsume is definitely the best so far (then again, it does have the advantage of five previous seasons and a general love for it overall). Probably the non-sequel that has surprised me the most, and it could go downhill fast, was Kado. I really enjoyed the first episode of that.

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    • I realised only after I made this list that the single brand new title on it was Tsuki ga Kirei. It’s possible I may go back and watch more new season shows a bit later, but right now my work schedule is just too hectic, so I’m intentionally being very picky.

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  3. Kado looks like it has some promise, and so does ReCreators, but the latter’s unfortunately locked behind a paywall in the states. Also, I think i had a rage aneurysm watching Love Tyrant for review

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  4. Try watch Ep 1 of Grimoire of Zero; see if you can make any parallels with the remake of a certain moneymaking “tale as old as time” by Disney. (Have you seen it yet?)

    Still can’t imagine how Sagrada Reset got 24 eps to play with though.

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  5. There weren’t any overwhelmingly great series premieres for me this season (nothing will ever top Autumn 2016 sob), but ID-0 was surprisingly great. Sort of a Ghost in the Shell crossover with Psycho-Pass, with less depression and a bit more energy.

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    • That sounds pretty interesting, I’m curious now. When my work schedule clears up a bit, I may go back and give that one a shot. For now, I’m having to be intentionally picky due to time constraints.

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    • That’s the vague impression I got as well. Plus, just too much time has passed between seasons for me to still be invested. I could spend time getting reacquainted with the show but my work schedule is pretty hectic right now, so I’m being intentionally even pickier than usual about what shows I pick up.

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  6. I like Laughing Salesman, though it’s probably a no-go for anyone without strong affinity for Twilight Zone-esque kind of show. Kado’s first couple of episodes are pretty intriguing; a sort of sci-fi mystery stuff with a cast comprised of adults, tho I’m not sure I can keep it in my schedule.

    Gotta reluctantly agree on Kabukibu, this thing looks way too generic even for me. In comparison, last year’s Cheer Boys (with similar let’s-make-a-club premise) presented much more engaging characters and dialogue right off the bat.

    Have really high hopes for the top three shows you mentioned in this post.

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    • Agreed, Cheer Boys was pretty good (despite the clearly shoestring budget) because it actually achieved some depth – though it also didn’t hurt that it was set in and around university rather than junior high or high school for a change.

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      • Yeah, good point. Speaking of, is there other notable show set in college (and makes it an important part of the plot)? Tatami Galaxy is somehow the only other one that I can recall.

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          • Cool. I’ve read Genshiken; it’s pretty good, though there’s a certain point where the charm wears off and I just dropped it. This is the first time I heard of Rideback, but I’ve always been interested in H&C + Nodame.

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            • I quite liked Rideback. I’m not saying it’s a work of art or anything, but I do think its a pretty underwatched series. If you asked me for my favourite anime set in college though, Honey and Clover would come out on top.

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  7. Pingback: Don’t Drill a Hole in Your Head: April ’17 Roundup | The Afictionado

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