Spring 2017 Season Wrap: Attack on Titan S2, Natsume’s Book of Friends S6, & The Royal Tutor

It’s never too late to try something new, and I thought this would be a good time to experiment with my end-of-season reviews. Usually, I bundle up all of the final thoughts into one or two gigantic posts. This means that the posts include shows that finished two or even three weeks apart in the season. Because of that, and the ridiculous length of some of the season wraps, I thought I’d try a weekly approach with, at most, three or four titles. Please let me know what you think of this format, along with your thoughts on the shows discussed in my posts!

*Rating system:

  • 0 dango – average and forgettable.
  • 1 dango – very good in its category.
  • 2 dango – excellent show that is worth a try.
  • 3 dango – exceptional show one must watch.

Shingeki no Kyojin Season 2

Love it or hate it, Attack on Titan is a relentless roller coaster of emotions. I flung myself head first into the hype of the first season, agonized with fans at the cliffhanger and long wait for a sequel, and lamented at the announcement four years later of a second season scheduled for only twelve episodes. The good news is this time we won’t have to wait an unknown number of years for a season three–the continuation has already been announced for 2018.

Let’s start with what I liked about season two: fights, titans, and predictions. Attack on Titan has always delivered on its title with plenty of attacks and new titans almost every episode. The same holds true for this sequel. I also enjoyed seeing my guesses from the first season ring true. These likes, however, connect to my strong dislikes about the anime. All of the deaths and titans numbed me with their frequency and predictability. It’s one thing for a key character to raise a flag, but another thing entirely for multiple characters to do so on a regular basis. It was no longer a matter of “if,” but “when.” I started going into each episode wondering who would say something sappy or stupid and die this time around, which completely ruins the tension of various scenarios.

Then there’s the show’s structure, which threw me off with its multiple directions and points of view. There’s an entire mini arc dedicated to Sasha, the purpose of which still escapes me. She’s an easy character to love, but not someone whose story felt necessary to this particular season, especially given its short length. Conny’s side story felt appropriately short for its purpose in the overall scheme of things, though there were so many blatant hints regarding his village that I felt neither surprise nor fear at the implications revealed at the end of the season.

With this season serving almost like an overlooked middle child, here’s hoping the third will receive the lavish attention and detail this story deserves for an appropriate ending.

Rating: 0 dango

Natsume Yuujinchou Roku

It seems impossibly long ago in season four I thought we had reached the end of the Natsume Yuujinchou story. Now that we’re up to six full seasons, I can’t imagine not moving onto a seventh. So much material has been covered, yet there’s still so much more to discover, particularly the mystery of Natsume’s grandfather and the tail end of Reiko’s life. This particular season focused primarily on Natsume’s human relationships, his school friends, his mentor, and his grandmother as he knows her through the Book of Friends. We’ve seen them all before, but the attitude this time around comes across as somewhat more weighted. It’s as if all the scenes up until now served to underline here what it is exactly that draws Natsume to this place he now calls home. I talk about this a little in my recent post, so if you’re interested, please check it out!

Along with the opening of a new thread regarding Natsume’s grandfather is the uncertainty following Natori’s learning of the Book of Friends. All this time, I’ve been on Nyanko-sensei’s side about keeping the book a secret, particularly from exorcists. There’s power in a name, and when that name is in the hands of an exorcist, much ill can be done without the owner’s consent. Natsume has always been very giving in his return of the names that Reiko took, but it seems like the book has no end, appearing just as thick now as it did in the beginning. Now that Natori is in on the secret, how will he act in accordance with his friendship with Natsume and his responsibilities as an exorcist? I’m scared that he’ll lean towards the latter, and try to take the book with the misguided intention of protecting it. The anime has provided enough scenes with that idea in mind, focusing in perhaps too much on Natori’s troubled face and calculating eyes.

Roku steps in as a valuable addition to the franchise, but it feels more transitory than usual in its coverage of familiar ground and movement towards a possible continuation. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it just means that my overall feeling is not one as impacted as other seasons in the past. The montage with its piano music in the final episode had me tearing up in nostalgia more than at any other time this season. I want to return to the start of season one and work my way up to now, hopefully with a seventh season waiting at the end.

Rating: 2 dango

Oushitsu Kyoushi Haine

The Royal Tutor was not a show I intended to watch. Its cast and premise seemed too scripted for the swooning viewer, the type to play one of those mobile dating games full of men of every type and flavor. After finishing The Royal Tutor, I reminded myself to stop making these kinds of assumptions. Yes, the show was predictable, fluffy, and ultimately forgettable, but it succeeded where so many other shows do not: it never failed to interest me.

Take, for instance, Heine Wiggenstein. His short and delicate stature deceive most into thinking him still a child, but this man rivals Black Butler’s Sebastian on almost all fronts. He perfectly meets each of the princes on their individual levels: oft misunderstood Kai, eager-to-succeed Bruno, proud Leonhard, and playboy Licht. The format of the show was clear once we experienced Leonhard’s opening arc. Heine would address each of the young men’s weaknesses and help turn it into a strength befitting an heir to the kingdom. Even though I knew our path and the likely outcome, I still had a ton of fun watching Heine interact with his gentle-hearted students. I think a large part of that had to do with not only his dialogue, but also the voice work. Again against all expectations, Heine’s voice is fairly monotone and measured. He does not yell, choosing instead to calmly give his opinions and explain the reasoning behind them. Young actor Keisuke Ueda does a great job capturing Heine’s personality.

While I doubt the details of this anime will stay with me over the years, I don’t regret including it in my weekly log. I look back on it fondly. Heine’s lessons throughout the show and the princes’ pleas in the final episode may sound cheesy spoken aloud, but that doesn’t make them any less true. They warmed my heart and made me smile. That’s good enough for me.

Rating: 0 dango


8 thoughts on “Spring 2017 Season Wrap: Attack on Titan S2, Natsume’s Book of Friends S6, & The Royal Tutor

  1. Nice format. I think it works as a mini summary / review of the shows. I would have thought aot would be a must, so surprised that it got a 0. Sums up my feelings, Eren just did my head. I’ll be honest after S6 of Natsumme, I found it got repetitive. It goes around in cycles. So I dropped it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the feedback!
      Regarding AoT, my rating for this season pertains to season two and a lot of the dissatisfaction I have from the first season not completed here. I’ll be curious to see if my opinion improves with the third season. Sometimes with franchises covering multiple installments like this, my views of the middle seasons may improve with the ending of the final season.
      On Natsume, I guess my question for you would be if you generally like shows of this kind. I feel that people who love slow, contemplative, and gentle series like these don’t mind more of the same, and are more patient with looking for the differences over time. I found this season noticeably different in tone from those previous.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ll chime in on the format, I think it works pretty well, although as this first one shows it leaves a chance that someone didn’t watch any of the shows. Like me. AoT is one of those shows that just ticks me off, partly because it’s so bombastic / stupid / ridiculous / unrealistic, and partly because other people like it in spite of those qualities. The story is a train wreck, the physics are atrocious (I heard that they pretty much just gave up on depicting any sort of limitations on the 3D Maneuvering Gear and just had everyone flying around like superheros), and they just make up crap the whole time. It totally feels like it’s what you’d get if you just continually tried to one-up yourself in being shocking, with no care as to what else that would mean.

    I also didn’t watch Natsume Yuujinchou this season, partly because Tuesdays are not good days for me to watch shows, and partly because as Rocco says, it feels a bit stale and repetitive. I get that that’s a lot of the point, but it doesn’t make it compelling to me. I’ve really only watched season 5, and even by the end of that, you kinda know all of what’s going to go on. Even having Miki Itou isn’t enough to really compel me to watch.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, also, for the feedback on my end-of-season format! I did worry a bit about the possibility that many readers wouldn’t connect to the shows discussed, but I think it’s a fair price to pay in exchange for more frequent blog updates that don’t require so much reading all at once. In my longer versions, do you just skip the shows you didn’t watch and read the sections on anime you did?
      I’ve pretty much given up on any kind of reality in the 3D gear of AoT. The physics were disproved early on in the first season, and I closed my mind off to the impossibility of their acrobatics in hopes of a meatier story. With this second season disappointing me so much, I’m hoping the third will make up for it and prove my sticking around wasn’t for nothing! I remember enjoying some portions of the first season, and will hold onto those feelings for the continuation.


      • AoT has the singular problem that I am unable to forgive the horrible physics used in the show. It just eats at me continuously, and makes watching it a personal affront. And honestly, I don’t mind if they come up with some handwavey reason to ignore physics in shows. Macross is great, Witch Craft Works is great. Give me something that my head can say “Well, in *my* world you couldn’t do that, but they have magic, or they have space tech, or they have whatever.” Just that is fine. But AoT doesn’t or won’t. It pretends it’s like our world, but if it was, then people’s backs and necks would continually snap, they’d always smash into the ground or some building. To me, that’s what sets up then incompatibility.

        Regarding your question, for your longer posts, it is hard to say. Near the beginning, I’d read what you wrote, even if it was a show that I didn’t watch. Near the end, I was more likely to skip, even if it was a show that I watched. I think it helps to remember that as we’re reading the post, we’re coming up with things we want to say in response, comments we want to leave, points we want to make. That’s definitely easier to do with this kind of format rather than one with many more shows, where reading one farther down is either losing out in my head to formulating a comment about a show further up the post, or it’s pushing those thoughts out of my head.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hm, I can’t say that I think the show pretends it’s in our world, but I get where you’re coming from on that point. The charm of the 3D gear I felt in the beginning of the first season has definitely worn off for me and now I want to see them figure out some different method for fighting Titans, especially since it seems like the Titans might have figured out how to deal with the gear.
          Your response on my previous longer review format is really helpful, so thank you for that! I had a feeling that would be a common response; it’s only natural. I do it myself often enough! I tried putting in jump links at the start, but it still requires the reader to do a lot of clicking around. I feel a bit of the issue with commenting myself when responding to some of the longer replies on those types of posts, like yours. I have to keep scrolling back up to your comment in order to reply since I can’t remember it all in one go.


  3. Let’s see here … I was honestly not interested to watch AoT s2 … I watched s1 a year and change after it aired and my feeling after it was over was puzzlement and wondering why it was popular. So yeah, s2 was never inthe picture for me.

    Royal Tutor’s humor did not click with me … for whatever reason? Oh well.

    Natsume Roku though … def one of the best of the season. Just consistently enjoyable and high level stuff for me. No complaints!


    • If you were only lukewarm on season one of AoT, then I definitely don’t recommend season two. I’d stay away unless there are rave reviews about the third season, but I have doubts about even that.


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