This past winter gave us a pretty good dose of anime without too many turds mixed in. Let’s hope this one is even better!
But let’s be honest, since Shirobako is over, it’s already objectively worse.
Here’s what I’ve decided to start the season out with:
Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru Zoku / We Couldn’t Possibly Come Up With A Worse Localized Title TOO!
Since I watched it right after it aired two years ago, I honestly don’t remember very much about the first season besides being indifferent to it, so I wasn’t even sure if I was going to bother with the second. Then I saw Yukino with a ponytail in the first minute, HNNNGHed a lot, and kept watching.
For not remembering much of anything from the first season, I enjoyed the first episode quite a bit. I may have to go back and rewatch the first just to refresh my memory on who’s who and everything that happened, but otherwise it’s been pretty good. Hachiman feels like he’s slightly less of an asshole, the fujoshi is obnoxious, and Hachiman is clearly more interested in the trap than actual girls. Whatever floats his boat, I suppose.
The biggest issue with the first episode is clearly the animation. They put in a lot of excessive and unnatural character movement without even animating it smoothly, reminding me a lot of the poopy Grisaia anime (which I will not be watching season 2 of, by the way). Like they wanted to say “Hey, the characters are moving a lot! This means it’s animated well, right? RIGHT?”
And everyone who refers to this show as SNAFU should commit seppuku.
Hibike! Euphonium: Kitauji Koukou Suisogaku-bu e Youkoso / Sound! Euphonium
Besides flashbacks to my days of playing the trombone very poorly in the school concert band, I liked the first episode. To be fair, 90% of that may have been because of the protagonist’s ponytail. I mean seriously, if the character has a ponytail that looks that good, why wouldn’t you show that off in all of the promotional stuff?
Speaking (relatively) seriously, not much happened. It’s another KyoAni show chock full of pretty young anime girls, so I’m just hoping it’s more along the lines of K-ON! than Tamako Market. You know what I mean – not dreadfully boring. It seems like they might actually put a big focus on the music too, so that would be cool as long as it doesn’t end up devolving into monotonous drama.
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works
Since this isn’t the first episode per se, and since I’d be watching it to the end regardless, I don’t have much to add to this yet. Even though I watched the terrible Unlimited Blade Works movie two years ago or so, pretty much everything that’s happening feels very new (even if I do know the main plot twist already). As long as the second half focuses on the story more than bouncing between that and unrelated events, I’ll be happy.
Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken 2 Sure-me / I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying Second Season
This show is back with its rapid-fire three minutes of as many jokes and references as they can cram in. This episode felt more random than the first season’s, but otherwise it’s the same general presentation and style of humor. So I probably won’t be complaining anytime much as long as I still get a laugh out of it.
Arslan Senki / The Heroic Legend of Arslan
After the first episode, I don’t have much to say about this yet. Obviously the character design is very much Arakawa Hiromu (Fullmetal Alchemist, Silver Spoon), but the story’s starting out like Akatsuki no Yona. I don’t know how many episodes this is going to be, but even the Yona anime had 24, which was not nearly enough for the full story.
There’s a lot of CGI in the first episode, which isn’t thrilling. I at least understand why it was used – there are thousands of soldiers on screen at points – but it still looks blegh. As long as it’s not overused in the long run I won’t complain too much. There was just a heavy dose right off the bat.
Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu / The Disappearance of Yuki Nagato-chan
As a fan of the Haruhi anime and books, this episode hit me with something akin to culture shock.
In The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, Kyon makes a decision, leading to how the rest of the book/movie played out. I assumed that this series would follow up in the aftermath of him picking the other choice, but that’s not quite true. It’s more like things were always this way, even for Kyon, who doesn’t even recognize Haruhi and Koizumi. Of course, if you’re not familiar with the story already, this probably makes no sense to you.
The character design is very different, the most noticeable being that the girls look far more cutesy, and Kyon looks like he shrank about a foot. Sugita’s voice isn’t nearly as fitting to Kyon’s softer face, creating some weird contrast between what I’d expect and what I’m actually seeing. But to be fair, my favorite character design for these characters is from the art for the most recent novels, not from the anime.
Most egregious of the differences, Yuki’s character feels completely different. Rather than the quiet and shy “normal” Yuki in the book/movie, she was more up-front and pretty openly enamored with Kyon, just socially awkward. Between her and how the other girls were, I was left thinking at several points that this is a harem show where the protagonist is one of the girls. There’s also a bigger focus on Asakura and Tsuruya, which I don’t particularly mind. But really, this feels like a completely different entity, not a Haruhi spin-off. If it wasn’t for Kyon, I’d probably forget.
So basically, I do not like this show based on the first episode. I would easily prefer a proper season 3 from KyoAni, especially if they skipped right ahead to Dissociation and Astonishment, or did that plus a bunch of the short stories, a la season 1. I’ll keep watching, but I’m not guaranteeing that I’ll finish it. Hopefully Haruhi and Koizumi joining the fray will improve things.
The concept here is pretty interesting, and I have an idea of how things might progress, but I’m also a bit worried. The first episode had some emotional happenings, and if this carries on too long it’ll just become tiresome. Just like Death Parade last season, I’m hoping they opt for an overarching story over standalone episodes.
But despite that, I liked the first episode. It’s set up something that could seemingly become very cool, the protagonists were likable, and it did a great job at mixing in the comedy with the more serious events. Not like some other shows. cough cough
Owari no Seraph / Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign
Based on the first episode, it’s nothing special. The story seems really weird and the protagonist feels just like Eren from Attack on Titan, so I don’t think that’s a good thing. The animation looks great and the background art is very nice, but combined they clash far too much. The animation is very clean and smooth, but the art looks very painted – more along the lines of something you’d see in a gallery than as an anime background for this type of show. I heard a lot of people mention that the music didn’t sound very appropriate, but it never stood out to me. Maybe I just wasn’t paying enough attention or something. Oh well.
Please just be a better vampire anime than Diabolik Lovers (which is getting a second season for some reason).
Shokugeki no Souma / Food Wars!
On first sight, I was quite conflicted by this show. I mean, it’s about food, so that’s obviously a plus. But then the translated title just reminds me of Rail Wars, and that’s a problem. Because it’s not season two.
Words cannot describe this. It is more than an anime. It is an experience. Between the music, the actual events, and the lewdness of pretty much everything, this is overwhelmingly dramatic in the best way possible. Like with tentacles. I’m really hoping that the show keeps up the 110% approach to everything. And more food porn would be welcome.
And I kind of want to try peanut butter on squid now. Preferably without feeling groped.
Carrying over from last season is Ansatsu Kyoushitsu / Assassination Classroom. I should be watching Nisekoi: / False Love [insert random punctuation mark here] as well, but I’m not sure whether I’ll do it as it airs or at the end. Either way, it doesn’t air for a few more days and I’m impatient.
I haven’t dropped anything yet! Woohoo!