Summer 2017 Set Menu

Summer has arrived in full force, slamming us not only with heat and humidity, but also with an endless supply of shows, many average and a couple extraordinary. Made in Abyss and Princess Principal top the lot, but shows like Nana Maru San Batsu and New Game!! follow closely in ranking. We are still at the start of the season, though, so my opinions are subject to change.

I ended up with far too many, as usual. I’m at 29 shows this summer, including hold overs from the spring, so hopefully I’ll have plenty of material for topics of interest and maybe even get back to the kitchen! If there’s anything in particular you’re interested in seeing me blog about, please let me know.

Action Heroine Cheer Fruits (2 episodes watched)

Combining the generation-defying popularity of superheroes and Japan’s small town crisis, Action Heroine Cheer Fruits uses cute super girls as champions of their country’s districts. These heroines may even find themselves televised on the national stage, hopefully bringing recognition and traffic to their hometowns.

I thought I had seen a bit too much of both genres, superhero/magical girls and the shrinking countryside, but this show is unabashedly cheerful like its title. I can’t help but clap along with the audience at the girls’ performances. It’ll be even more interesting to watch this show alongside Sakura Quest, which is continuing on from the spring season. Cheer Fruits seems a dreamier version of SQ’s queen, and I’m curious to see what else Ann, Mikan, and the other girls can do to draw attention to their home.

(Watch on HIDIVE)

Ballroom e Youkoso (1 episode watched)

I picked up ballroom dancing after moving to Seattle and meeting my now husband. I struggled to catch up to him, since he already had a couple of years experience under his belt. I also felt intimidated to take the place as his partner, a spot formerly occupied by an ex-girlfriend. But the great thing about dance is that despite all the conventions and steps, there are just as many exceptions and styles.

I was drawn to swing and waltz, so was excited to see the protagonist of Ballroom e Youkoso start out his learning with the waltz’s box. Fujita’s careful form and exertion reminded me of how scary dance seemed at the start, and how much more I still need to learn. It was especially fun to compare the first episode art and animation to the live drawing I sat in on at this year’s Anime Expo. Those hyper-extended Haikyuu!! necks stood out, as did the sharp facial expressions. I did notice a lack of smoothness to scenes aside from the dancing, but it’s not enough to deter me from enjoying the show.

My main worry about Ballroom is the tone. I’m not too concerned with the story or art, since they both have good material to draw from, but the tone often reflects the attitudes of the studio. From the panel, I know they took dance classes and researched a fair amount from competitions and the like, but their passion for the art was missing. I sensed no excitement in their voices regarding ballroom dancing, and felt that showed in the anime’s first episode. Perhaps I’m projecting–would I still have that thought if I hadn’t heard the staff’s explanations? I’m crossing my fingers that the rest of the episodes will make me forget my concerns.

(Watch on Amazon Anime Strike)

Clione no Akari (1 episode watched)

Bullying is a familiar topic in school anime, and takes the forefront in Clione no Akari with Amamiya Minori. Sickly and weak, she suffers verbal abuse from her classmates, two of whom watch from the sidelines, concerned but too scared to take the first steps towards befriending Minori.

I generally enjoy these kinds of stories, especially if they involve a happy ending, so I’m sticking around to see where this show will take us. For now, the production feels and looks a bit cheap. At only nine minutes per episode, Clione no Akari has to pull its weight through limited space and average visuals.

(Watch on Amazon Anime Strike)

Dive!! (2 episodes watched)

With Free! in the open, it was only a matter of time before Dive!! came to our screens with an extra exclamation point. Like many kids, I was forced to take swimming lessons for a number of years. Diving always fascinated me–the towering boards, the all-too-quick moment from top to water. That awe also reveals itself in Sakai Tomoki as a child as he watches upperclassman Fujitani execute a forward dive. This moment leads him to diving, though when we catch up to him six years later, he seems to only be an average athlete. When the threat of closure looms over his Diving Club, Mizuki Diving Club, they take on the questionable goal of making it into the next year’s Olympics.

I love big goals like high school nationals or the Olympics as motivation for sports anime. They require an insane amount of dedication and passion that makes the show all the more interesting. This is especially important for Dive!!, which comes off as lackluster at the start in no small part because of its timid main character and average art and animation. Tomoki defers to his “better” teammate, and doesn’t look to have any aspiration of his own other than diving at his pleasure. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it doesn’t make for a very interesting story, does it? With the introduction of a new coach and her focus on Tomoki as a promising athlete, I’m excited to see him grow and challenge others on an international scale.

(Watch on Amazon Anime Strike)

Fate/Apocrypha (1 episode watched)

We’re back at it again with the Fate franchise, this time with Fate/Apocrphya. Taking place in a parallel world with twice as many servants, Apocrypha looks to clash at an even grander scale than its predecessors. It shares more similarities with Zero than FS/N, thanks in part to the direction and writing, though less so visually. If you’re hoping to see more Ufotable goodness, you’ll have to go over to another show airing this season, Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu. This isn’t to say that Apocrypha looks bad, because it doesn’t. I just miss the sharpness of the battle animation that looked great no matter where you paused for a screenshot. I wasted more time than I care to admit trying to capture the opening fight between before giving up and settling on another Fate staple.

The premise of seven on seven heroes is an intriguing one. I never before considered what would happen if one party were to gather all classes. The solution here calls for another batch, with an extra hero to mediate. I apologize if any of my descriptions are wrong, since I’m not familiar with the source material. Feel free to correct me. I dearly wish the creators would stop creating Saber look-a-likes. Instead of King Arthur, we now have the king’s child, Mordred. While this does make it fun for figure collectors to add to their collection, I’d rather see the class completely re-imagined from scratch.

(Watch on Netflix)

Gamers! (1 episode watched)

Gamers! follows Amano Keita, an average gamer with no friends or any other hobbies. When the most beautiful and popular girl in the high school zeroes in on him, Keita founds out that not only is Karen an avid gamer, but also president of the school’s club and out to recruit more members. Unfortunately for her, Keita isn’t too interested in joining the club. He’d rather play at his own pace for enjoyment rather than for any kind of ranking.

This show comes at a perfect time for me, since I’m re-reading an old favorite of mine: Genshiken. The manga is exactly as I remember it, and aligns well with the anime. Gamers! feels a bit similar, particularly with Keita’s character. If he can just sit back and enjoy himself, that’s good enough of a reason to keep on gaming for him. If Karen can coax him into joining, which I’m sure she will, it’ll be fun to see if he’ll pick up any other types of games, or if he’ll simply improve in his preferred genre.

(Watch on Crunchyroll and Funimation)

Hitorijime My Hero (2 episodes watched)

It’s been a while since I’ve watched a yaoi romance, but now is as good a time as any while I’m still open to trying every single show per season. Some seasons I’m too burned out or busy to give shows like Hitorijime My Hero the time of day, but that day is not today!

What draws my interest in this show is that it feels more substantial story-wise than others of its class, like Sekaiichi Hatskoi and Junjou Romantica, both of which chased after drama like my dog does for salmon treats. It also feels more respectful of our characters than anime like Love Stage!!, which feels more like rape to the cast and audience. We do have some blushing, staring, and so far one kiss, I don’t find the romance eclipses my curiosity about the characters’ back stories. I want to know why Hasekura had to move away all those years ago, and what motivated Kousuke to become a teacher. If the tone starts to become more forceful, I will probably end up dropping this show, but for now, I’d like to see where these young men will take us.

(Watch on Amazon Anime Strike)

Isekai Shokudou (2 episodes watched)

Isekai Shokudou, or Restaurant to Another World, joins food and fantasy in a style reminiscent of the 2006 anime Bartender. The owner, who is never named, cooks for all who enter the door of Western Restaurant Nekoya, even if that door opens once a week to a fantastical world. The stories are episodic, and typical focus on one particular dish and customer. There’s nothing special to the meals appearance-wise, but those who eat at Nekoya can all agree that the taste is extraordinary.

Including the anime among my summer line-up is a no brainer, not only because of the food, but also because of the laidback tone that relaxes me like any home-cooked meal made with love would. So far, we’ve met a dragon, demon, and knight, none of whom can resist Nekoya’s flavors. While part of me hopes there will be an overarching story that explains the history behind the magical door, I also wouldn’t mind continuing with the current format. The dishes give me ideas of what recipes I should try, and it’s fun seeing how the customers react to food wholly unlike anything they have in their world.

(Watch on Crunchyroll and Funimation)

Isekai wa Smartphone to Tomo ni. (1 episode watched)

What goes around comes around, and so it is with the set up for Isekai wa Smartphone to Tomo ni., a show that comes a bit too close to Re:Zero for my comfort. The comparison feels even closer to me since I re-watched several episodes just last month at Anime Expo. There’s also a bit of KonoSuba in the opening, since high school student Mochizuki meets God after dying and negotiates the terms of his revival. Unlike flaky Aqua, the god in Smartphone not only grants the protagonist’s request for his smartphone, but also boosts all of his stats, like magical proficiency and physical strength. Mochizuki has everything he needs to succeed in his new home, including a starting set of female followers.

While I went into the premiere with misgiving over the subject and characterizations, I couldn’t help but have fun with our male lead as he tested out his magical abilities and consulted his phone for recipes. I’m not sure if I’ll stick with the show for the full season, but for now, I’ll wait around to see where it goes. Since he can’t interact with his old world through the phone, but can pull information from it as well as contact God directly, I’m curious to see how he’ll use the knowledge and personal connection to power up his status.

(Watch on Crunchyroll)

Jigoku Shoujo: Yoi no Togi (1 episode watched)

The fourth in its franchise, Hell Girl: The Fourth Twilight continues on with the same format and style as the prequels. I’ve actually only watched the first and maybe second season, which were available on Netflix. I can’t remember the individual stories, but the tone of the fourth season felt familiar in an intimate way, as if I had never taken a break from the series. Enma Ai serves Hell as a tool for revenge. People can contract her to take their named individual immediately to the underworld; however, they pay the price of their own souls to be reaped at the time of their deaths. The stories are mainly episodic and feature one ugly scenario after another. At times, misunderstanding is cleared with communication, and Ai’s services are rendered unnecessary. At other times, we witness the darkest desires of humanity. More often than not, Ai takes someone to Hell and the cycle of revenge continues.

You’d think with a formula as clear as this one, that I’d be bored of Hell Girl by now. Nothing much surprises me in the show anymore, nor do I have much faith in the characters choosing a higher road. But there’s an addictive fascination to watching others spiral into a web of their own making. The bullying story that opens this season isn’t the typical story. The victim isn’t likable, as ugly as the actions of her classmates are, and I found myself wanting to turn a blind eye to her predicament. I do wish the show had gone into further detail about why she’s so quick to apologize and how she became a part of her class’ chat room. But we weren’t privy to that information, and will likely move on to a new story in the second episode. I find that the early portions of these series tend to do that, move quickly from one character to the next, until we get further into the season.

(Watch on Amazon Anime Strike and Crunchyroll)

Kakegurui (2 episodes watched)

If you’re as terrified of gambling as I am, then you might want to steer clear of Kakegurui, which revels in twisted expressions and high stakes. Despite my aversion to these games, I can’t resist the stylistic storytelling. The gorgeous character designs emphasize all the best parts of body language–the eyes, lips, forehead, and hands. Seeing the sweat on Ryouta’s face and Mary’s greedy smile underlines the viciousness of Hyakkaou Private Academy’s culture, which thrives on sanctioned betting.

We start out with Suzui Ryouta, a student deep in debt to Mary Saotome who serves out his payment with servitude. When Jabami Yumeko transfers in and handedly beats Mary, his debt is cleared. Yumeko’s skill in gambling is only trumped by her own pleasure in its dangers. She enters into seemingly hopeless games, usually maintained by cheating, and wins them. A large part of what I find so enjoyable about the show is hearing Yumeko’s explanation for how she sees her way through the lies. The solutions are perfectly plausible once she points out the game’s weaknesses. My biggest concern at the moment is that she’ll turn out too formidable. So far we’ve seen her play two games and win them both without breaking a sweat. Twisted as she is, you can’t help but want her to put the corrupt students into place.

Katsugeki Touken Ranbu (2 episodes watched)

Ufotable is back at it again, this time with video game adaptation Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu that joins sword warriors across the ages with time travel. It’s a shame to not have the studio working on both this and Fate, especially since their art does much of the heavy lifting in otherwise mediocre shows. That may be the case here, as Touken Ranbu has been short on back story so far. The action looks fantastic, as does the smoky black and red essence of the enemy.

At the beginning, we’re thrown straight into battle between our heroes, historically significant weapons brought to life as humans, and demonic-looking fighters part of the “Time Retrograde Army,” a.k.a. “Historical Revisionists.” Our sword warriors are part of a sect out to protect the course of history, while the Retrograde Army attempts to change it. I’ve seen the two sides described as “pro-Shogunate” and “anti-Shogunate,” but I’m not sure if these designations are accurate. My guess is that the Revisionists are pro-Shogunate and seeking its continuation by preventing Western influence. The main characters aren’t necessarily anti-Shogunate; they just want to preserve history, good and bad.

Since I know nothing about the game, I don’t really have any expectations for the plot. Exploration of each of the warriors’ pasts would be ideal, though I’m not sure if we have enough time for that since an episode count has yet to be announced. For now, I’m mostly concerned with the identity of Saniwa, the “master” who directs our characters. Samurai clothing aside, the time travel and computer fox Kennosuke tell us that Saniwa comes from a technologically advanced time. What his world is like, and if he’s already seen the effects of the Retrograde Army’s actions in the future are questions needing answers.

((Watch on Amazon Anime Strike, Crunchyroll, and Hulu)

Keppeki Danshi! Aoyama-kun (2 episodes watched)

I can’t not watch a soccer anime when given the chance, and Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun is just the sort of player I never knew I needed. “Clean freak” describes him to a T, as Aoyama-kun avoids anything unsanitary, visible or not. His love for soccer, however, poses an unavoidable path to dirtiness. His aversion to touching germs results in some of the most impressive dribbling and shooting skills on the field. He can’t get dirty if nobody is fast enough to touch him!

The show reminds me a fair bit of Sakamoto desu ga? with how ridiculously skilled the protagonist is, despite me dropping that show after one episode. The humor fell flat for me, with every joke ringing the same: Sakamoto can do anything and everybody loves him. Aoyama-kun shares a similar status at his school, but the cleanliness and soccer provide just enough oomph to still interest me.

(Watch on Crunchyroll)

Knight’s & Magic (2 episodes watched)

I know this joke has been made already by others, but c’mon, Japan, what is up with your punctuation? “Knight’s” what?

Reincarnation into a new world isn’t fresh, with shows like Tanya the Evil, Smartphone, and KonoSuba airing recently. Knight’s & Magic joins that list with a mecha-loving programmer who is reborn into another world as a pretty boy proficient in magic. His new home, Fremmevilla, boasts not only magic, but also mecha. With both working together, the kingdom fights to protect its citizens and land from demon beasts. Kurata/Ernesti/Ernie uses his analytical mind and knowledge of robots to rise quickly in his studies to become a Knight Runner. Despite his small stature and young age, Ernie displays skills rivaling even the strongest Runners. I really enjoyed seeing how he upgraded a magical staff to two guns, as well as modified his weapons to make up for his inability to reach the Silhouette Knight controls. I’ve often mused what it would be like to travel back in time and how I could apply modern technology to more primitive designs.

As fun as it is to watch Ernie surprise those around him, I admit to be equally curious about his story as a regular programmer. It would be nice to see more flashbacks to his previous life, especially since the application of his knowledge to a fantasy world seems a bit stretched and limited in reach. The story could have just as easily been told with Ernie just being a brighter-than-average kid with a penchant for machines.

(Watch on Crunchyroll and Funimation)

Koi to Uso (2 episodes watched)

It’s social experiment time, this time with government-determined spouses! Japan’s low birth rate and increasing singles population is a pretty common issue lately in anime. People aren’t getting married and producing as much children as they used to. Whatever the reasons are, Koi to Uso tackles the discussion by using the government to determine one’s marriage partner. The decision is handed down once citizens reach sixteen years of age, and cannot be refuted without harsh penalties. This includes adultery.

Nejima Yukari enters as a boy with a long-time crush on Takazaki Misaki. He discovers too late their affections are mutual, as the moment he turns sixteen he finds out he’s been assigned to another. The story throws in an additional wrench with the odd mix-up in the announcement. Both he and Misaki witness a text message pairing them together in an impossible stroke of luck, only to have the message glitch out. Government officials subsequently show up to personally hand deliver Yukari’s papers naming a completely different girl. The officials claim no knowledge of his original text, and Misaki strangely enough doesn’t protest it. This error is my most pressing concern, not Yukari and Misaki’s forbidden love, nor the promising chemistry with fiancee Sanada Ririna. Both girls are immensely likable, so it doesn’t really matter to me which one wins in the end. I care more about the situation behind the mixed-up names and whether the arranged marriages are as successful as the government would have the people believe. Yukari’s best friend also raises the question about homosexual partners. With the measures in place to ensure procreation, there isn’t any room for LGBTQ relationships. I don’t know if the show will outright discuss this, or if we’ll just see and feel repression with Nisaka’s character.

I’m surprised how wrapped up I got in conspiracy stories given my original balk at the show’s whole concept. The setting seemed too contrived given present circumstances. I also thought it odd how peaceful the populace seemed to be given how much romantic drama drives media. I have to give props to the characters and their interactions with one another for reeling me in.

(Watch on Amazon Anime Strike)

Konbini Kareshi (2 episodes watched)

Don’t be fooled by the dramatic 1.5-minute run at the start of the opening episode–this show is anything but exciting. Odd decisions like this aside, Convenience Store Boyfriends is the type of show I would have expected to air as a short rather than the full-length episodes it has. The setting and premise are simple, as are the visuals. Nothing stands out other than the odd amount of time spent at the convenience store, as well as the awkward pauses that pop up randomly in dialogue and still frames. Since I don’t live in Japan, I can’t say that the students spend an egregious chunk of their daily lives there, but I do know that their stores completely trump the ones we have in America. I remember gawking at the amount of, not just edible, but also delicious, packaged food. They also carry about everything you’d ever need to get by in your day. Forgot a tie for your interview? Ran out of tampons? Need to get a greeting card? Stop by any one of the numerous “conbini” that line the corners of every neighborhood.

Even though they’re businesses and not community gathering places, they serve a similar need. We hear about stories of lovers meeting during commute or at a party, so why not at the convenience store? I hope Haruki succeeds in connecting with first love Miharu, as do the rest of the couples we’ve been promised to see soon.

(Watch on Crunchyroll and Funimation)

Made in Abyss (2 episodes watched)

I hope you made it through all my previous previews to here, because Made in Abyss is hands down the most promising show of the season. Everything about the setting, characters, art, and story aim to impress. Numerous bloggers zeroed in on the pilot episode and wrote several fascinating discussions about different topics. Scheduled for thirteen episodes, this show looks to offer much more discourse for the rest of the season. I’m both excited and loathe to rush to the end. With a world as lush as this one, I’d hope for double the length.

As unique as the premise of Made in Abyss, references and comparisons to other works keep popping up. Worlds like The Last Guardian and Children Who Chase Lost Voices, character designs and writing like Dennou Coil, a tone reminiscent of Haibane Renmei. The first couple episodes stand strong despite the similarities. The work isn’t the kind that can be described “in the spirit of” anything else, but favorably noted as an equal. I truly hope I’ll continue to feel this way through the season.

But on to the actual details. We start out on the island of Orth with Riko as our guide. An apprentice cave raider, as noted by her red-colored whistle, she leads us into the shallow levels of the abyss, a gigantic hole piercing straight through Orth with no known bottom. Raiders must improve their skills and bodies to withstand the descent to lower levels, as well as the ascent that brings with it increasingly painful side effects. Riko aspires to reach the pinnacle of her class, the legendary white whistle, and someday equal her mother Lyza in accomplishment. This means discovering treasures, also known as “relics”, as precious as the ones unearthed by Lyza the Annihilator. Missing in action after giving birth to Riko, the only physical reminder we have of her is her retrieved whistle. I assume that the end of this series will somehow reunite Riko with her mother, and hopefully answer the mysteries behind Reg’s appearance and perhaps even the abyss’ creation.

(Watch on Amazon Anime Strike)

Nana Maru San Batsu (2 episodes watched)

I don’t think there’s another show this season with an English title that pushes me away as much as this one, as the Japanese (Nana Maru San Batsu, or 703X) and English titles (Fastest Finger First) have different connotations. Regardless, using quiz bowl as a topic is a fun idea, since it couples together trivia and sport. Unlike in Chihayafuru where players need only rote memorization and physical capability, quiz bowl requires memorization, speed, and knowledge in several fields including literature, geography, history, and even pop culture. Successful players should also share an insatiable hunger to learn. I can see where the English title came about since the buzzer features heavily in the first episode, but I also like the original name indicating common quiz bowl knowledge indicating seven correct answers for a win and three incorrect answers for disqualification.

Part of what appeals to me so much in this show is the reminder of my time in high school. While I never joined the Academic Decathlon club, I did participate in the sister group of Future Problem Solving. Members of both groups bumped into each other a lot, and looking back now, I wish I had also tried out decathlon. This show lets me live out that little fantasy! I also love how the show allows the viewer to participate. You can play along with those at the buzzers, making the learning more natural rather than relying on scripted dialogue.

(Watch on Crunchyroll)

New Game!! (1 episode watched)

Picking up the second season of New Game! is the obvious choice since its first was such a hit in cuteness and comedy. I loved the workplace setting that reminded me so much of my first city office job, and the girls’ frequent get togethers outside of work encouraged me to set up similar meetings with my own coworkers.

It’s a bummer that we’re not getting any new hires at the start of the sequel to see under Aoba’s wing, but I think that’s fine overall since it’s been a while since we last saw everyone and it would be nice to get back into gear with the original crew. Yagami seems like the coolest boss ever, and I look forward to seeing what the next project will be and how they’ll approach it. The first half of the season will probably cover the contest for choosing the company’s next character designer, so maybe new faces will pop in after that point.

(Watch on Crunchyroll and Funimation)

Princess Principal (2 episodes watched)

Princess Principal rivals Made in Abyss in gorgeous scenery and adorable character designs, though the atmosphere takes on a murkier quality with spies at the helm. This historical fiction takes place in a world similar to ours–our characters are students at the prestigious Queen’s Mayfair School in a country divided into East and West, Albion Kingdom and Albion Commonwealth. This separation follows after a revolution that continues to the present where our girls actively partake in espionage on behalf of the Commonwealth.

The first episode of PriPri opens with a stylish chase scene where protagonist Ange assists a defector, using a mysterious tool that defies gravity and companions like a ninja and a boob-a-licious driver. Toss in a lying princess and loli voice impersonator, and we’ve got an interesting mix of faces to accompany our resistance.

The second episode was a bit confusing at the start, but quickly turned out to be a flashback to when Ange first entered the school as transfer student. This is before her and Dorothy join Princess Charlotte and Beatrice. The flashback provides the necessary backstory to explain how a princess of the kingdom joined the commonwealth’s fight, as well as throws in an extra puzzle regarding Ange and Charlotte’s relationship. The writing has been spot on for these episodes, and I’ve always loved spy dramas like these. It’s not often I see the genre in anime, so Princess Principal is a welcome addition to my season that has the potential to become a favorite. And that ED theme! So reminiscent of dear “Ringo Biyori.”

(Watch on Amazon Anime Strike)

Tenshi no 3P! (1 episode watched)

Narrowly missing the chopping block is Tenshi no 3P!, but the anime shouldn’t get too comfortable. The show leans a bit too far into loli territory for my tastes, and I can never approve of sexualization of primary through secondary school students. The camera focuses too long on their flat chests and short skirts, and throws in a ton of blushing faces and physical invitations. I am interested in how these orphan girls learned to play and how they have access to such quality instruments, but the first mystery is figuring out why protagonist Nukui doesn’t go to school.

His avoidance is another common anime trope, but given his comfort with going into public to meet a fan, I don’t see what else bars him from attending school. As a digital music composer, Nukui struggles to gain recognition by presenting his pieces as online videos with the aid of a popular artist. How he, the young girl musicians, and likely his artist will work together is a mystery, but I’m hoping that along with some interesting music we’ll also keep the romance between the high school students and push Nukui to attend his classes.

(Watch on Crunchyroll)

Tsurezure Children (3 episodes watched)

It took a couple episodes for me to really connect with this show, but Tsurezure Children hits the ball out of the park with its comedic punches and character interactions. I think the first episode put me off a bit because of how short each scene was, but that’s to be expected with a series running 12-minute episodes and with so many couples to cover. It felt like we were seeing the “best of” romantic encounters instead of the type of fully fleshed out stories I’m used to seeing. But there’s plenty of development to be had, since these characters feature multiple times throughout the show and we see a bit of progress each time. Some couple up almost immediately, while others dance around each other in frustrating and hilarious ways.

My favorite couple so far is teasing Minagawa and upright Furuya. Her confession is so open and direct in execution that it’s no surprise that Furuya stumbles in his reaction. I hope they get to know each other as friends soon so that he’ll just fold and accept her proposal.

As wonderful as these moments are, some faces are more memorable than others. While Minagawa and Furuya stand out thanks to the girl’s playful certainty, others like Yukawa and Sasahara are less interesting to me. Since this is a short, I’m willing to sit through the less preferred scenes to get to my favorites, especially since it’s not like any of them are truly unlikable.

(Watch on Crunchyroll and Funimation)

Youkai Apartment no Yuuga na Nichijou (2 episodes watched)

Another show in danger of being dropped is Elegant Yokai Apartment Life, and not because of any egregious displays, but because nothing particularly interesting has happened thus far. I’m sticking it out after two episodes for now because the setting includes a usual preference of mine. I’ve always had a thing for youkai shows: Natsume Yuujichou, Inari Kon Kon, you name it.

Inaba Yuushi is on his way to the perfect high school life away from his stifling home life, only to see his future dorm go up in flames. With most of the nearby apartments completely out of his price range, an open spot at an older Japanese apartment complex with a reasonable price seems like a dream come true. That is until he finds out that the place houses not only humans, but the supernatural, as well. Ghosts, Japanese mythical beasts, and an exorcist make up his new neighbors, and Inaba isn’t sure he can stick it out for the required six months until the dorms are rebuilt.

This all sounds fun on paper, but there’s something missing that I can’t describe. Perhaps it’s the main character? Nothing particularly different stands out about him. Hopefully his time spent with youkai will get him to relax and show us another side of his personality that’s worth watching.

(Watch on Crunchyroll)

Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi no Kyoushitsu e (1 episode watched)

If Koi to Uso is this season’s government romance, then Classroom of the Elite is our official government career fair, where all students are guaranteed a place in the future workforce. Lower birth and higher unemployment rates are just a couple of Japan’s many concerns, but they’re feeling especially pressing with shows like these on our plates.

Ayanokouji Kiyotaka is a student at Tokyo Metropolitan Advanced Nurturing School and assigned to the D-class, known for gathering students with the lowest prospects. With all students assured a job after graduation, I can only guess with dread what kind of jobs these kids may get because of their low rank. The kids are meant to stay in the same class their entire time in high school. But, I’m jumping the gun.

As freshman on their first day, and for the rest of the first month, everything is peachy. Their teacher doesn’t enforce rules or require them to pay attention, and all students are provided a monthly allowance far higher than the average person would spend. The catch eventually is that their unsupervised conduct, which becomes uncontrolled and disrespectful, results in no additional funding for the next month. Students who splurged have nothing to survive on, and those who were careful thankfully have plenty of money to cover their basic needs. I would say fair’s fair, but the ill deeds of some students affect the whole class. I don’t know yet if there’s a way to transfer to a higher class, or if someday a class of mostly good and few bad will still create class-wide punishments.

Kiyotaka as a main character so far doesn’t impress, but he’s not really meant to. We see him on his way to school by bus ignore a plea to give up his seat for the elderly. Another classmate similarly ignores the request. The one student trying to help the old woman turns out to be from class D, as well, and she takes her good girl act wherever she goes. Blah Kiyotaka, aloof Suzune, and pushy Kikyou form an unlikely trio in the face of the first reveal about finances. All of them bother me to a degree, and I wonder if that’s simply because of their personalities, or if they’re products of a society that churns out selfish people meant to make us think.

(Watch on Crunchyroll and Funimation)


  • Boku no Hero Academia
  • Boruto – Naruto Next Generations
  • Re-Creators
  • Sakura Quest
  • Shingeki no Bahamut – Virgin Soul


Senki Zesshou Symphogear AXZ

12 thoughts on “Summer 2017 Set Menu

  1. A few thoughts, since there are so many shows in your post. I’m watching something like 30 shows also, and many of them are different from yours (not watching Mr Clean Soccer, Fate/HereItGoesAgain, Touken Ranbu, or Hell Girl (I did watch the first episode, and I’m just not in for another show like that, and Mamiko Noto doesn’t talk enough to make it worth it)).

    I do like Princess Principal and Made in Abyss, but maybe it’s just the contrarian in me, I don’t seem to like them as much as a lot of other people I talk to. It could just be because other people keep gushing about them, cause apparently I am a jerk like that. I’ve actually found it kind of tough to get into Made in Abyss, it doesn’t feel like it’s settling in for me. Princess Principal is, even if I’m not the biggest fan of steampunk aesthetic. It seems to take the good things from that, tho, and leave out the ridiculousness of “We can make everything that 2017 has, but it’s all purely mechanical!” But I’m really hoping that Studio 3hz can break Actas terrible track record with getting shows produced on schedule.

    The show that has totally caught my attention and imagination is Koi to Uso. I am enthralled with the setup, the wonderful acceptance of “the government picks who you’re going to marry”, both for the things that it says and also the things that it doesn’t say. I like the added aspect to the tension of these teenage feelings. I love the way the characters are so opaque, because they haven’t revealed what they’re really thinking. And the open possibilities that it can do, including things like having the characters do one thing that they want to / don’t want to do. Making mistakes. Maybe I’m projecting a little much on it, but I think that it’s really telling a good story, and telling it about a world that’s slightly different, but not dystopian. And like you say, it can seem really contrived, but much like Keijo!!!!!!!, the show completely believes in its world, and that helps make it work.

    I like Youkai Apartment. For some reason, I just like these average normie-meets-youkai shows (like Mononokean a few seasons ago). Tsurezure Children took just that little bit of time to readjust to the “lots of different characters in short vignettes” thing, but I really like it. Quiz Bowl, Knight’s & Magic, Gamers, New Game!!, Restaurant, Dive!!, Convenience Store Boyfriends, they’re all on my list and doing fine. Orphans 3Piece Band is gonna need a lot more better content, tho.

    There are an awful lot of shows about horrible people, tho. Clione, Kakegurui, Netsuzou TRap, and Elite Class are just the ones I’m still watching. And Elite Class might not continue, because I don’t know if I want to see another group of people get picked on because “the authorities” have designated them as the official outgroup. Clione seems like it’ll turn a corner, and Kakegurui is bad people being bad to each other, and has the right amount of comeuppance so far. I don’t think I’ll keep going with the rapey cross-dressing guy show either.

    Of special note is Isekai Smartphone, which I’m done with after episode two. I’m surprised that they just didn’t just go ahead and name the main character Gary Stu, and the easy sexism the show displays just really bugs me, like putting the three girls, who did most of the fighting for the princess, at some kiddy table while the Duke and God’s Favorite Protagonist chat it up. It was just galling to me. I mean, I expect sexism in anime, to some degree, but this was just so annoyingly obvious and blithe that it really ticked me off. And then to turn the guy into other-world Jesus after that, restoring the duchess’ sight, it’s just too much.

    I don’t know if there’s much to recommend the shows you’re not watching. HinaLogic is cute enough, and actually pretty good from a standpoint of using what it has and slightly breaking some of the character types (like the ojou-sama girl that is usually standoffish and snooty is still a bit snooty but very friendly with everyone) and it’s got a cute OP sequence (you should watch at least that bit). I’m about to watch Hajimete no Gal’s second episode, and hope that it’s as good or better than the first, which was really authentic as far as people and personalities, but the main character’s a bit of a dink (and everyone recognizes him as such), and it’s predictably male gazey. And Centaur’s Life is… ok. The manga is kinda all over the place, and letting Haoliners do a show like that is just asking for a narrative mess, and that’s what we get. It’s cute, it’s not too fast, but it’s definitely not a great show (or anything close to internally consistent).

    So those are my thoughts, thanks for posting!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do feel a bit bad with how long this post is! There should be a medal awarded to every reader who can make it through to the bottom. I keep hearing from some how this season is bare of truly good shows, but it certainly does feel that way to me with us both packing on 30+ shows. I do have to admit there are few “excellent” shows at the moment, but we’ll see how my opinion changes by the end of the season.

      You do sound a little contrarian regarding PriPri and Abyss. Sorry to verify that thought 😛 These shows may just be to my taste, almost exactly ticking all the boxes.

      Koi to Uso has been surprisingly entertaining after three episodes. I’m puzzled why his fiancee is so gung-ho about watching him kiss another girl, but I guess with how normal arranged marriages are in their world, perhaps she’s never see authentic passion in person?

      You’re right that there are quite a number of shows about terrible people. That just goes to show how successful it is to produce shows allowing viewers to see others burn while their own lives remain intact. Usually these shows aren’t for me, since I tend to get too horrified/embarrassed to sit through certain scenes. Trap in particular completely repulsed me; even if it does eventually vilify the assault, I don’t want to be witness to it period.

      I should have included the list of shows I dropped! Among them are HinaLogi (I liked the first two episodes, but was completely bored in the third), Gal (the guy and his friends’ views of women are, again, repulsive), and Centaur’s Life (I can’t marry the opposing tones. I also didn’t like volume 1 of the manga). A couple of them, like HinaLogi and Centaur’s Life are victims of my overburdened season. If I had fewer shows on my plate, I probably would not have dropped them.


      • I actually have more hopes about Gal after the second episode. I am hoping that the narrative and developmental arc works toward making the MC (and maybe his friends) get better attitudes and learn something about stereotyping. It kind of feels like that’s the direction it’s going in the second episode, which was a lot more about the main couple. And to me, that’s a good message. It’d be far worse if this was the way they thought after the experiences in the show.

        It’s not like I don’t like Abyss and PriPri, just that I’m not as “OMG these are the best shows!” as other people are. Which other people love to interpret as “why do you hate it? There must be something wrong with you…” 😀


        • If you’re blogging Gal, then perhaps I’ll check in on your end season thoughts of it to see if a commitment will be worthwhile in the end :p


          • I will probably do some posts on it. Thinking about a first impressions post right now for the first two episodes. And I agree that the MC and his “friends” were really vile in the first episode. And it was an attitude that seemed all to normal, for people who are trying to justify their lack of popularity.

            I don’t really expect you to watch it, tho, because I doubt it’ll get that good. Just as an aside, did you watch “Oshiete! Galko-chan!”? I thought that was a really good show in a more down-to-earth way, with lots of great characters.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I think you had asked me about Galko-chan in the past, and I did take note to watch it some time. I haven’t actually checked to see where I can watch it, though! Hopefully it’s not too difficult to find ><


          • Oshiete! Galko-chan (as Please Tell Me! Galko-Chan) is streaming on Crunchyroll. It’s a short, so it only takes an hour-ish to get through the whole series.


  2. Wow, 29 shows in one season…I’ve never been able to keep up with that many, but good luck! So far I’ve only checked out Aho-Girl, Hajimete no Gal, and New Game!! (and Re:Creators continuing from last season), but after reading your thoughts I’m definitely going to check out Made in Abyss and PriPri. Both of those shows caught my eye earlier for some interesting key visuals, and it sounds like so far they’ve definitely lived up to those, at least stylistically.

    Koi to Uso interests me on some level, but mainly because the premise made me think just a tiny little bit that it might be in the same vein as Scum’s Wish, but I hesitate to jump into it because that premise just feels…really contrived, and I’m worried that if I allow myself to get sucked into the drama of the two main characters, that premise is going to be there in the background annoying me the whole way through. Maybe I’ll check out the first episode or two and see what I think, though.

    I was planning on passing on Isekai Shokudou, but your summary of it so far just sounds so relaxing and inviting that I’m definitely going to check it out.

    I also didn’t realize Tsurezure Children was only 12-minute episodes. I’d been holding off on it even though I heard some good things, if only because I wasn’t sure if I’d like it and a full-length show skipping between couples seemed a little much to take on, but now I’m definitely going to check it out as well.

    Anyway, great post! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the start of the season!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Some of them will inevitably get dropped, or lag behind and saved for a marathon weekend 🙂
      I really hope you enjoy both Abyss and PriPri, that I haven’t steered you wrong! Three weeks in, and I’m still enthralled.
      Koi to Uso and Scum’s Wish really aren’t similar story or character wise. Perhaps visually. It’s too early to say, but I think Scum’s Wish much more engineered in its drama, like it was ticking off all the boxes of a list they knew would make their audience anxious. Maybe Love & Lies will go that way eventually, but for now it’s mostly the setting that felt contrived to me.
      If you do give both Isekai Shokudou and Tsurezure Children a try, I hope you enjoy them! Time flies by when watching either one of them, literally so in Tsurezure’s case.
      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Was waiting for this post!

    And yeah … count me in amongst those who are surprised at your being able to follow so many series. Wow. To be fair, though, perhaps part of my surprise may be due to my cutting back a bit this season and having a much tougher set of requirements for this season. Part of that may be due to the fact that several series airing are ones I am already familiar with in the source material and did not like, and another part may simply be due to bracing myself for the incoming horde-style onslaught that the autumn season is looking to be for me. XD

    Anyhoo … as you know I am totally on board with you with Made in Abyss and Princess Principal. They are both really hitting it out of the park for me.

    New series for me that qualify as solid and good would include Isekai Shokodou (just my style) and Shokokou no Altair. Shingeki no Bahamut s2 (carryover from last season) continues to be really consistent enjoyable.

    Decent watch series for me include Centaur no Nayami, Tsurezure Children, Hina Logi, New Game!! and Action Heroine Cheer Fruit. Both Centaur and New Game s2 are moving towards the second tier series for me already, and Action Heroine Cheer Fruit is cheerful and hits a nice serious/silly combination for me somehow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m thinking it’s not such an impressive thing to balance as many shows as this, because there are so many hours in the day. I should really be focusing on a different sort of writing that I’ve been wanting to do and finally have the capability to attempt, but I’m spending so much time on blogging that my priority is being sidelined.
      I haven’t looked too closely to the autumn season just yet, but your optimism has me anxious to look now! I may be in deep trouble if many of the summer shows end up being two cours.
      Regarding Altair–I am on the fence about it. I tried out the first episode and felt it was oddly arranged story and character-wise. I immediately compared it to Arslan, which I thought superior, at least in catching my attention and setting up the start of the show. Perhaps you can convince me otherwise? The style and environment look so pretty that I’m tempted to try moving past my initial boredom.
      Centaur is another odd show that I wanted to like but just couldn’t settle in with the odd mix of topics in the first episode. Like I mentioned with Highway, I think I’ll wait until the end of the season to read reviews and re-determine if I should give it another go. I’ll also look forward to your final thoughts on it!


      • Heh, I am also watching something like 30 shows, and this season it just doesn’t feel like that many. I think a lot of it is that the shows are much more spread out, to the point that I am left wanting for things to watch on the weekend when I have lots of time for it. I’m used to watching something like 10-12 shows over a weekend (Saturday and Sunday), and that’s just not happening unless I save shows, which I don’t feel I need to do because they’re spread out so well.


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