Fall 2017 Set Menu

Now that everything I’m interested in has finally aired, I can finally discuss all of the shows I’ll be watching this autumn. I decided to go back to an older style of organizing these season previews by arranging them by priority. Don’t be too thrown off by the lower shelving, though, since those shows still comprise of stories I find intriguing, even if I’m uncertain about keeping them on my watch list. Let me know if this presentation doesn’t work for you, or if you like it.

This season includes plenty of sequels, from guaranteed classics like March Comes in like a Lion to guilty pleasures like Food Wars! There are also a surprising number of big idol anime sequels. If sequels aren’t your thing, then rest assured that this fall brings with it a handful of promising new works whose stories not only sound unlike anything I’ve seen before, but whose characters and backgrounds also look phenomenal on screen.


Top Shelf: High Priority Series

3-gatsu no Lion 2nd Season

Last to air, yet first on my list, March Comes in like a Lion is my heart through this fall season. If all other shows goes unexpectedly south, I know I can count on this one to pull me through with optimism and strength. Even more wonderful is the fact that this season will again run 22 episodes, spanning fall and winter. We’ll all have plenty of shogi and, hopefully, Kawamoto sisters to warm us through the chilly months ahead.

The opening episode of this continuation starts close to where we ended last spring: shortly before the Meijin match. The first half, “Setting Sun,” begins in a bit of an unexpected place. If you recall, we left off with Rei joining the Shogi Science Club, a place where he could finally feel a part of the high school environment he once dreaded. Starting our story here reminds viewers of the hope that had just started to blossom near the end of the previous season and establishes a home base for the beginning of Rei’s more confident approach towards life inside and outside of professional shogi.

As unreachable as reigning Meijin Souya Touji seems, we’ve seen plenty of signs pointing towards an eventual showdown between him and Rei. As a six-dan, he has a long ways to go before he coming face to face with Souya, and I look forward to the struggles he’ll face to get there. He’s already on the right mental track with positive influences like the Kawamoto family, the Shogi Science Club, and Shimada’s Shogi Study Group.

Talking about the sisters, it was delightful visiting them again along with Rei at the end of the episode. There’s no other place where I find the whimsical art style of March Comes in like a Lion more fitting than when featuring Akari, Hinata, and Momo. I’m not too ashamed to admit that they’re a large part of why I love this anime so much.

(Watch on Crunchyroll)

Garo: Vanishing Line

The third installment in the refreshed Garo anime series, Vanishing Line brings me hope after the mediocre second season, Crimson Moon. The first season introduced me to the franchise of armored knights who protect humans from the darkness. I fell in love with the gold and the flame. And while I did complete the second season, I found its story significantly less interesting than the first. Vanishing Line looks to be back on track with style with its modern setting and characters. Zaruba’s bearer this time around is the motorcycle-riding, muscle-heavy “Sword.” His large build and appetite perfectly fit the flair of this series.

Of course, Sword isn’t the only new face. We also have Sophie, a mysterious young woman who quickly gets caught up in the world of Horrors. I can see how she might appeal to many viewers; she looks like any other average kid with her casual appearance and an aura that exudes social awkwardness.

It feels great to finally be excited again about Garo, and I’m intrigued by the “El Dorado” that pulls at both Sophie and Sword. Is it the mythical city, or does it stand for something else? And will we meet any other Makai Knights or Alchemists? As entertaining as I find Sword and his motorcycle skills, his is a large personality that could do with some balance from others of equal capability.

(Watch on Crunchyroll)

Houseki no Kuni (TV)

While I have no prior knowledge of Houseki no Kuni, I’ve heard the title floating around for a number of years. I always meant to check it out eventually, but it looks like this anime will be my introduction. It didn’t take long for me to realize the beauty and allure of the Land of the Lustrous, where the people are not humans at all, but jewel humanoids. Each character is named after the same material that makes up his or her being, like protagonist “Phos”, a girl with lovely teal coloring and made of phosphophyllite.

Their colony of 28 jewel people struggle to survive in a world hungry for their properties. Just like the jewels of which they are made, each character has different strengths and weaknesses. Guards like Morga (a.k.a. Morganite) and Goshe (Goshenite)  are made of harder stone, and better suit protecting the group against the moon people who hunt them. Others like Phos and Cinnabar are much more fragile and easily break under stress. Thankfully, their bodies have the capability to reform if enough pieces are gathered. They are as resilient as they are unique.

The concept of this entire world amazes me. It shouldn’t came as much of a surprise that a species like ours that treasures gemstones and assigns meaning to them—morganite as healing, and benitoite as enlightening—might characterize them. I’ve always been skeptical of diamonds, viewing them as cold and impersonal, and prefer the calm blue of aquamarine, another type of beryl like morganite and heliodor. As much as the jewel people of Houseki no Kuni appeal to me, I also can’t help but see myself in the moon people. We seek out gems, cut them apart, and sell them as baubles. If this world were real, would we still want jewelry made from the body parts of people like Phos? I sure hope not.

(Watch on Anime Strike)

Kekkai Sensen & Beyond

As wonderful as it is to be back in Hellsalem’s Lot with Leonardo and the rest of the gang, the return still feels a bit unnecessary to me given my satisfaction with the original’s ending. Perhaps that feeling will fade the further we get into the new season. As it stands, however, the first episode felt more like a one-off than the start of a new series. The OP didn’t help, with its forgettable theme song and visuals. It displayed little of the original flair from the first season. Still, I’m hopeful that I’ll feel at home soon enough as a larger story asserts itself. We’ll need some memorable faces to fill the slot left behind by Black and White.

Part of what made the first episode feel like just another side story was the way we re-entered. The first five minutes start part way through a citywide crisis that is resolved before the opening credits start rolling. I can see the appeal of such an opening. We’re quickly reminded of all of Libra’s members and their overwhelming capabilities. We are also doused in the humor and style that made the original so memorable. By the time Leonardo’s new X-Station powers on, we’re buckled in and ready to go. The break between then and now fades and it’s like we never left. It’s difficult to put my finger on, but the sequel’s quick start and mediocre opening seemed to lack the careful craft I came to expect from the first season. This may just be a preference thing, though, and less a critique of the show’s quality. I’ve been proven wrong about sequels plenty of times before. I’m still glad to reunite with everyone and look forward to the messes we’re sure to fall into.

(Watch on Crunchyroll)

Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau

Children of the Whales was a show I somehow skipped over in my first scan of the autumn chart; it wasn’t until I saw some screenshots on Twitter that I was galvanized into trying it out. Every single image of the background and setting looked like a piece of art. Upon watching the first episode, I confirmed that this would be an anime worth careful attention and one I hold high hopes for.

First off is the setting. Sand covers the world and our characters make their home on a large island somehow separate from the desert surrounding it. Images of Laputa come to mind: an island bearing a large castle of mud and greenery. The humans who call the “Mud Whale” home are made up of two classes of people, the Unmarked and the Marked. The vast majority are Marked with faint tattoos that glow as they use their magical abilities called “thymia.” The downside? They live short lives that are capped around 30 years. The minority of Unmarked can live to an elderly age, and lack any markings or thymia. As such, they tend to take on leadership roles suited for stability.

Our main character is Chakuro, a 14-year-old Marked who nonetheless exhibits poor control of thymia and is subsequently pushed into the role of Archivist, a position usually held by the Unmarked. His equally poor control of his emotions and love for writing results in historical records more personal than advised. As someone who straddles both realms, Chakuro is the perfect vessel for our story.

As we progressed through the first episode and saw more of the world surrounding the Mud Whale, I started to feel a sense of familiarity. The way in which the Elders enforced their rules of isolation and reacted towards the first human ever encountered on one of their expeditions to a passing driftland—think the land version of an iceberg—reminded me of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village. They obviously know more than their people do about the outside world, and are quick to address any hints of insubordination. Life on the Mud Whale looks almost primitive, with little technology and buildings made of slapped-together mud rather than stone or brick. The dissenters led by Oni may be just the people need to learn about why the live such short lives and why outsiders are so rarely encountered.

(Watch on Netflix when available in in 2018)

Mahoutsukai no Yome

It should come as no surprise that The Ancient Magus’ Bride would make my top shelf for the season, given my more than positive reaction to the OVAs and the first three episodes of the series at Anime Expo. It was nice re-watching this first episode, since my initial experience included some subtitle blockage by the tall people sitting in front of me. Since I also watched those episodes all at once, I couldn’t remember where one left off and the next began.

“April Showers bring May Flowers” opens with a contract signing and the repugnant image of Hatori Chise in chains. If you’ve already seen the OVAs, then the image is even more off-putting since we know who she is and a bit of her back story. We’ve seen her without those circles under her eyes. After her traumatic childhood, we would’ve hoped for a brighter future, not that one we start with here.

If, however, you entered the scene without the OVAs, then I imagine Elias Ainsworth, the otherworldly figure who stormed the stage and purchased Chise for a staggering five million pounds, might seem questionable in his intentions. He may have “saved” Chise, but his purchase still supports slavery. And while he gives her the opportunity to be his apprentice, he also tells her he hopes she’ll someday be his bride. We have a setup reminiscent of a Mail Order Bride, but with magic and a purpose as bells and whistles.

I choose to take the fairy tale approach. I see Chise’s meeting with Elias as the start of a wonderful adventure of the beauties of the self and the world she’s either forgotten or never before seen. Elias’ purchase may have been the most peaceful path to saving Chise, and his calling her his “future wife” more symbolic than physical. I have a feeling if she wanted out, he would oblige. I also think calling her a “puppy” and her necklace a “collar” are more terms of affection acknowledging her still fledgling abilities and outlook on the world rather than a reflection of any feelings of possession. As she grows as a mage and as a person, I’m certain the language will change.

(Watch on Crunchyroll)

Shokugeki no Souma: San no Sara

I’ve been looking forward to this third season of Food Wars! since I jumped ahead of the anime and started reading the manga. The Moon Festival is one of my favorite arcs and features a much beloved dish: mapo tofu. Opening on this challenge perfectly ushers in the fall— though the festival actually marks the end of the season—with its picturesque red leaves and harvest moon.

Being Totsuki, the festival is of course not just any average school festival. It involves competition, always competition, and a staggering amount of foot traffic—500,000 on average if we’re providing numbers. Given the fame of its Elite Ten and the school’s alumni, people across the nation know that this is an event worth attending. It’s not uncommon for “booths” to man several staff members and to take up enough space for large restaurant seating.

Soma’s challenge of Eighth Seat Kuga Terunori looks impossible once we learn more about him. Eighth seat aside, his fame among the public in Sichuan cuisine means he already has a head start on customer count. Then top that with his command of the Chinese RS with its many members and devotion to cooking his recipes in large quantities to exact specifications, and it’s like you’re competing with a world famous brand.

Of course, I know the outcome of this particular confrontation. That doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy seeing it play out on the screen, and I’m even more excited to re-experience the ecstasy of each spoonful.

(Watch on Crunchyroll)

Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou

With Made in Abyss gone, I’m beyond thankful to have a few worthy shows stepping up to my hunger for more adventure. Girls’ Last Tour begins in the dark of an underworld abandoned by time. Chito and Yuuri look to be the last people on Earth, wandering endlessly on their SdKfz 2 through what looks to be an underground facility of unknown depth and span. When they reach the surface, our expectations are fulfilled. The world looks destroyed by war, its cities and streets abandoned and the remnants of battle littered everywhere.

As alone as these girls appear, you can’t help but wonder why they wear helmets and carry a gun. Perhaps stumbling across others more often means violence than peace. This wouldn’t be so surprising given their general hunger and constant scavenging. I certainly get that idea from their conversation about the past wars and lack of food.

I try to avoid comparing series as much as I can, and even discussing original material since like to think I appreciate works as separate pieces of art, but I’m again reminded of Abyss here with the juxtaposition of the cute character designs and their abandoned environment. This is the last place I’d expect to meet a couple of blob-faced girls with the optimism to jump on a propeller and try to get it running. I want to know where they came from and why wander the world. With all the destruction they’ve seen, how can they smile and look forward to the next day?

(Watch on Anime Strike)

Mid Shelf: Shows Worth Following

Inuyashiki

I somehow missed the memo on Inuyashiki and went into it with little to no expectations. The opening credits quickly caught my attention, though, with Man with a Mission’s “My Hero” serenading the urban landscape and mechanical imagery that reminded me of Ghost in the Shell. The depressing scenes immediately following threw me back from the action-packed opening. We start out with Inuyashiki Ichirou, a man only in his 50s with a wife and two kids. Despite his reasonable age, he looks more like a man in his 80s, and his family shows little concern or interest in him. They treat him like some kind of burden or nuisance, if they even bother to pay any kind of attention at all.

Just when I thought I couldn’t take any more of his sad life, Inuyashiki has a supernatural experience while out walking his dog, the only one in his household who seems to care about him. Along with one other person, a young man whose face we cannot see, Inuyashiki dies at the sudden appearance of an alien ship. The twist? Those aliens just as quickly recreate the humans using the technology they have on hand, technology primarily used for weaponry. When Inuyashiki wakes up alone with Hanako, he’s a walking tool of war—that is, if he chooses to go that route. He retains his memories and his gentle personality, and instead uses his new body to protect others. You can’t help but cheer at his treatment of the delinquents who could have easily murdered someone, as well as applaud their identities being released to the public. It’s how this all happens that still bothers me.

I can sit back and accept the alien capability of recreating a human body, but if Inuyashiki was truly destroyed how did they preserve his mind? I also don’t understand how the doctors didn’t see all of the machinery inside of his body—perhaps the machinery is made of some kind of special material that blocks our level of scanning. I also can’t believe that Hanako would stay with him after the change since animals are so sensitive to sound and smell. Despite all of these questions, I’ll be sticking around for at least a couple more episodes. I really enjoy the older protagonist and want to see him liven up and confront his family. You can count on one thing, though: if anything bad happens to the dog, I’m out of here.

(Watch on Anime Strike)

Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World – The Animated Series

I remember the dismay and confusion I felt upon hearing that Kino’s Journey would receive another anime season this year. I watched and enjoyed the 2003 series well enough, though I could never shake the show’s pretentious tone. That attitude looks to be back in this 2017 installment, beginning with Kino’s journey to a country that does not prohibit killing. While Kino does not overtly side with one view or the other, it’s difficult to watch and not see the experience as one applauding these people’s idea of justice. With the way the antagonist speaks and acts, you can’t help but dislike him. When his desires are foiled, we feel good about stopping him. The method isn’t one I can agree with, though, as it allows for an oversimplified sense of justice. What happens if the majority agrees on removing someone who isn’t black and white evil, but rather someone with whom they simply disagree? How does killing someone for killing make you any better?

There obviously aren’t any clear answers given. There are stories meant for contemplation and discussion, and about seeing beauty in ugliness. Kino’s Journey excels at creating these worlds, even if they aren’t the most subtle. I still appreciate it for trying, and continue to find Kino and Hermes’ relationship charming. We may yet see some carefully crafted stories.

(Watch on Crunchyroll)

Love Live! Sunshine!! 2nd Season

I’ll always be more of a μ’s girl, but Aquors has its moments and I enjoyed their first season well enough. Their situation and individual characteristics felt plastered on from the beginning, but it didn’t take long for a couple of the girls to reel me in, specifically older girls like Mari and Kanan. I’m happy to be back for a second season with our bright-eyed idols.

The crisis of the past is back in full form despite the seeming success at the end of the previous series. There’s a greater sense of urgency now that a date has been set. It kind of sucks to start out with sad faces, but that just means we’re in store for plenty of upward movement. I definitely don’t expect them to reverse the decision to merge their school with another; however, the move may turn into something promising for Aquors and the rest of the students at Uranohoshi Girls’ Academy.

(Watch on Crunchyroll)

Net-juu no Susume

You’d think by now that I’d be sick of anime with video games as their settings, but somehow they continue to entertain. This time around, we have corporate drop out and self-proclaimed NEET Moriko picks up a new MMO as a male character called Hayashi. It’s there that she meets Lily, an experienced player and sweet girl who is happy to assist Moriko with the game. It doesn’t take long for Hayashi and Lily to fall in love over the course of their questing.

Of course the story wouldn’t be as interesting without some twists, and the first one comes in the realization that Lily is played by a man, and a handsome one at that. With their declarations of affection in game, the next logical step is for these two to somehow get to know each other in real life. I’m sure that won’t happen anytime soon with how uncomfortable Moriko is in public. Perhaps Lily will help her out with that, and I certainly look forward to more silly expressions from Moriko both at home and outside of it.

(Watch on Crunchyroll)

The iDOLM@STER Side M

As much as I loved the first series, I thought I was over the franchise with my disappointment in Cinderella Girls, but it looks like the excitement from before is back in Side M, and this time with a slew of young men. It feels great to be interested in the stories again, instead of feeling like I’m being pushed through the motions.

I do want to point out that Side M does have an episode 00 that bridges the divide between season one and three. If you remember Jupiter, they were the three-man group set in opposition to 765 Production who seemed so confident in their future. The extra episode shows us a different side of Jupiter, who have left their company and and attempted to make it on their own. Obviously, their still growing popularity and lack of support means too-small, overflowing venues, little to no control of zealous fans, and rare publicity on screen. Surprisingly, they don’t even write their own music, so can’t put out new songs. Regardless of their passion, the future doesn’t look bright.

This is where 315 Production comes in, a new company grooming male idols with what looks to be a cleaner approach than Jupiter’s previous home. 315 sets a new stage for old and new faces.

The first real episode moves on to a trio of older characters who, while still considered young men, are much older than the usual hopefuls. They’re adults, with Tendou entering from a career in law. I’m excited to see them go through the idol process and succeed. I expect them to make decisions more readily than they might have as teenagers, and to better understand the consequences of their actions. It wasn’t until I was already in my 20s that I started to realize what I truly wanted in life, and now that I’ve hit my 30s, time is even more precious.

(Watch on Crunchyroll)

Bottom Shelf: Slightly Interesting

Animegataris

When I dream about anime, I know I need to cool off and get a bit more outdoor activity. Which means pretty much every day.

This is where Anime-Gataris begins, with a dream referencing a mash-up of anime I’m sure many of us viewers named. The references don’t stop there, with title and phrases popping up throughout the rest of the episode in a clear mission to pull together a group of students and revive the school’s forgotten Anime Club. Main character Maya remembers enjoying shows as a kid, but can’t put a finger on any titles or clear descriptions. Her attempts to describe her dream reel in Erika, a  girl who hides her power level behind a haughty facade. She embodies a good number of anime fans I’ve met in real life who are all too quick to go on a rant about any and everything they’ve seen, loved, and hated. I can certainly understand that excitement meeting someone who for the first time shares your hobby.

But I also know where Maya comes from with her discomfort. Trying to get a word in on these kinds of rants can be a frustrating battle, especially when you don’t know much on the topic but don’t want to get immediately dismissed from the conversation. Maya does a pretty good job getting Erika to loosen up; it helps that nothing flatters a fan more than being asked to help name a title. The request often leads to mass recommendations, much like how Erika slams down a beginner pile of series and films for Maya’s education.

With two names already guaranteed for the club’s roster, we can move on to grabbing all the faces who showed up throughout the episode: the light novel reader who reacted to Maya’s description in class, the chuuni boy who bumped into her in the hallway, the two other students in the opening credits, and the scruffy teacher who screamed alumni with his too-obvious appearance. We even have a club mascot in the talking cat who somehow survives getting stepped on not once, but twice!

(Watch on Crunchyroll)

Code:Realize: Sousei no Himegimi

I may or may not be watching this show for the bionic corgi.

I may also be looking for a quality otome adaptation to fill a gap that hasn’t been filled for a very long time. After one episode, I’m still not sure if Code:Realize is the one, but, so far, so good with its current selection of men and our painfully pretty protagonist.

I guess I should mention the story, right? It’s not often I stumble across an otome anime with much of an interesting script, but Code:Realize does begin with an intriguing mystery. Cardia, like a rose, pricks anyone who touches her bare skin. Instead of escaping with only a little lost blood, contact means poison with a quick and painful death. There’s no visual indication of the source other than the jewels embedded in her chest. Called the “Horologium,” the jewels supposedly have the ability to create infinite energy. The mastermind behind the Horologium is her father, a man who hid her away in his mansion and disappeared. Her “freedom” only comes when the military, bent on using her for their own purposes, captures her. She is then saved by two handsome young men we can only assume are the good guys. The path to finding her father and removing her affliction lies ahead of her, as do what I hope will be plenty of heart-pounding encounters with her new companions. If the story turns out to be a well-written one, that’ll be a bonus I wasn’t expecting.

(Watch on Crunchyroll)

Juuni Taisen

Somehow I’m always drawn to at least one show of a sadistic tone per season, and this time it’s Juuni Taisen. This battle royale re-imagines the Chinese Zodiac as fighters for a single title awarded every twelve years. Death is the obvious and easy solution, and it looks so far like the intentions of almost all of the players involved.

The first episode brings us in with Boar, a buxom woman with a sinister smile and very large guns. We do get to see some of her back story, which I hope will be repeated with the other eleven, where she looks much different than the woman of the present. Critics dismissing this show as simply fetishistic overlook the gentler natures displayed in Boar’s history. She wasn’t born a killer. She was nurtured into one by her father and her own need for attention and approval. I can’t help but feel sorry for her, as repugnant and inexcusable as I find her actions.

As is the nature of these types of shows, it’s wise to not get attached to any one character. Just because someone receives a lot of screen time, it doesn’t mean they’re safe from getting written out. The fun here is in the hunt, including the setting and how players choose to move in it.

Personally, I’m a tiger and I feel inclined to cheer for her. However, I don’t find tiger as appealing as I normally would. I’m more interested in Monkey’s motivations—her past as a peacekeeper makes it seem like she’d find a ending with as little bloodshed as possible, but is that possible with those who voluntarily chose the Juuni Taisen? Then there’s Rooster, who looks sweet and innocent but had to have displayed a high level of skill to qualify. It’s too bad I can’t support Rabbit, since that’s my husband’s sign, with his ridiculous outfit and insanity.

(Watch on Crunchyroll)

Konohana Kitan

Fox girls! Adorable fox girls! There is no way I’m not watching this anime, with its foxes, hot spring hotel, and village full of more myths and dreams. This show hits so many of my sweet spots, and I’m thankful it fills the space left vacant by this season’s Blend S. That show was supposed to be my return to cute girls and coffee, but it was more sexual harassment and fetish fulfillment than I could take. Granted, Konohana Kitan satisfies other fetishes, but I find the approach much more measured and palatable. Curves and fluffy tails aside, it only makes sense that our girls would have to strip down to soak in the water. The rest of the time, they wear perfectly appropriate kimono.

I’ve seen two episodes so far, with both taking an episodic approach to the foxes who live and work at Konohanatei. Yuzu takes us along on her new experiences at the hotel. She’s the perfect vehicle with her large eyes and eager personality for our introduction to the hot springs. She reminds us of the equal importance of working hard and finding time to relax.

(Watch on Crunchyroll)

Osake wa Fuufu ni Natte kara

My short of the season, Love is Like a Cocktail runs a mere three minutes and features a cocktail drink each week. We have the added bonus of the occasional snack, like the oden in episode one. I was also drawn to this show by its husband and wife duo. Their nontraditional reversal of roles—Chisato as a superior in an office environment and Sora as the house husband—shows their give and take relationship. Sora is quick to help his wife relax after a long day at work. My only misgiving about the anime is the perhaps unintentional acceptance of pushing alcohol on others, even if they don’t want to drink. Chi’s loosening up and later discussion with her husband brings up the topic of alcohol as a means to be yourself. I tend to think of alcohol as a crutch when it comes to social interaction, so really didn’t like the tone of that exchange. I hope viewers of the show don’t take the suggestions too far and go overboard drinking throughout the day and putting off necessary tasks.

Here’s hoping they feature some scotch cocktails, or perhaps bourbon so I can finally put a dent in the large bottle I bought for cooking.

(Watch on Crunchyroll)

Two Car

This is one of the first seasons in a while where I haven’t had much to choose from sports anime, but thankfully we have Two Car to teach us about Sidecar. No, not the drink; the sport. Sidecar racing is a relatively young activity, and the Isle of Man is a real place and event. I don’t know anything about the sport, but I can’t deny its almost immediate appeal. I get a similar feeling from watching cycling or race car driving, which unlike Two Car are single-person sports. Sidecars require two to compete, one to steer and another to control the weight and angle. In a way, I’m reminded of ballroom dancing with leads and follows. As good as any one part of the team may be, they’re only as strong as the sum of both parts.

Two Car also involves a mostly female cast. Again, I don’t know if the actual sport is divided by sex or if women are even allowed to compete, but I’m definitely a fan of the choice to center on them in this anime. They look pretty awesome in their suits, and I’ve quickly formed some favorites from the first episode alone. There are main characters Megumi  and Yuri from Miyakejima, where we first meet everyone at the Miyakejima Tourist Trophy (TT). I’m also partial to Kanae and Tamae from Osaka with their too cute octopus and takoyaki hair accessories. Then there’s the cool duo, Mao and Hitomi from Hyogo, with their black and white color scheme and more mature aura. Keep in mind these are all high school students, as adult as they may look. There are also a couple of goth loli, and even an S and M duo.  I’m also a fan of twins Maria and Yuria from Tochigi Motegi. I’ve been digging wavy gray hair lately, even coloring mine partially with a silvery gray ombre effect.

With all of the girls drawn so colorful and unique from one another, I’m hoping for plenty of exploration on each one of them. I’m reminded me a bit of Saki and that show’s magical ability to get the audience rooting for everyone and no one at the same time. I could do without the supernatural abilities, but if Two Car goes that route I’ll probably still keep watching for the delicious interactions.

(Watch on Crunchyroll)

UQ Holder!

If you didn’t know already, UQ Holder! is an addition to an older franchise that started with Mahou Sensei Negima! back in 2004 with a film. Several series and specials later, we’re back in a spin-off timeline with Evangeline A.K. McDowell and her charge, 14-year-old Touta. The question here is whether or not knowledge of the previous events are necessary for understanding and enjoying UQ Holder! I haven’t seen any of the older series, and after two episodes of this new season, I’m still on the fence about whether or not I should continue watching. I see the references to other characters and events, but I don’t think knowing exactly who they are and what happened is pertinent to the events to come.

The first episode shocked me a little with its violence and what I thought was a dead end, but vampirism won out and I kept up with the second episode. I did know that Evangeline was a vampire from my previous involvement with ISML, so that revelation wasn’t much of a surprise. You reading about it here now shouldn’t be much of a spoiler, either, since this franchise has been around long enough for general anime fans to also have stumbled across this information at some point or another.

So here we are, slightly interested in the direction this new story will take, but more than a little leery at the frequent fan service. If all the nakedness and groping is a staple of the Negima! franchise, then there’s a high chance I’ll drop the show.

(Watch on Anime Strike)

Wake Up, Girls! Shin Shou

When I heard there was going to be a sequel to WUG, I was a bit surprised since the first season, though enjoyable, didn’t really jump out to me as big enough for a sequel. Still, when I saw the girls sing live at AX this year, I joined the crowds of people cheering in support of their infectious energy and dancing. They came out to perform where some of the bigger names disappointed. I entered the first episode of New Chapter hopeful for more of that spirit to get me up and moving around.

The instant our girls popped up on screen, I knew something was off. A bit further into the episode, and I realized that the character designs had changed quite a bit from the first season. Their faces look rounder, and their eyes and cheeks brighter. Their similarities to one another are magnified the instant they get on stage and are animated with CGI. I still can’t get over how disjointed it looks when 3D is slapped in between 2D segments. I get that this allows for more animated portions of their performances, and I certainly don’t like hand drawn stills where the camera simply pans across or zooms in or out. For the most part, I only accept the use of CG where it’s hardly noticeable or fits in with the setting style, like for stories set in space or shows wholly animated in CG.

I’ll still keep watching and supporting WUG, but I hope a better-looking balance for the performances can be obtained. In the words of my fellow WUGners, “WUG’s marketing isn’t very strong since they’re an indie group. But that’s all the more reason for us WUGners to act!”

(Watch on Crunchyroll)

Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru: Washio Sumi no Shou

We’re back with Yuuki Yuuna, only without the namesake of the series and in a prequel that follows Washio Sumi’s first experience with Shinjuu-sama. This is before she became known to us as Mimori Tougou, before her wheelchair and guns. From what I’ve seen in the first episode alone, I do not believe the first season a necessary prerequisite to Washio Sumi’s Chapter. Viewers new to the franchise may do better than I with appreciating the characters since they don’t know what happens two years later.

Just as before, the audience is quickly dropped into an odd reality pitting our world against enemies in an alternate dimension. Using an app on their smartphones, they transform into magical girls who battle the Vertex encroaching on their territory. It’s hard to believe this is their first fight with how comfortable they are wielding their weapons, especially Gin and her dual axes.

There isn’t much to complain about with the first episode, nor is there anything particularly special about it. Washio Sumi’s Chapter will last a short six episodes, so it doesn’t feel like much of a commitment to finish it to the end before we return to the main story line for the remaining six episodes. Washio is my favorite character from before and it’s great seeing her so young and optimistic.

(Watch on Anime Strike)


Ongoing

  • Ballroom e Youkoso
  • Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
  • Fate/Apocrypha
  • Youkai Apartment no Yuuga na Nichijou
Advertisements

11 thoughts on “Fall 2017 Set Menu

  1. You and I are of like minds when it comes to iDolM@ster… Wary after Cinderella Girls, cautiously optimistic after the first two eps of SideM.

    And YAY, another WUGner! Aren’t many of us out in the blogging community.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was funny how surprised people were at AX after WUG started singing. Like a bunch of deer in headlights, they looked stunned at how great the group was even compared to the few Idolmaster girls who sang.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am not a fan of Kino’s personality. Is it pretty much the same in the 2003 version? Or would it be a goof idea to quit this one and watch the 03 version instead?

    Also, I am really enjoying Recovery of an MMO Junkie! I’ll give some of the others on your list a try when the season is a little farther along. Waiting for the episodes feels like torture!

    Like

      • Now that is a manga I would love to read sometime. I’m not too big on manga or light novels, but if The Ancient Magus’ Bride is any good in its original form, I’ll need to remedy that.

        Like

    • It’s been a number of years since I last watched it, but I don’t feel like Kino’s personality in 2017 is much different than back in 2003. They take more time in the original in certain countries, and that may have helped with justifying some of Kino’s actions. It’s hard to say which show you should watch, especially since I haven’t seen an episode count for 2017 yet. One thing I can say for sure is that the 2003 version hasn’t aged well visually, so keep that in mind if you care about that kind of thing.

      MMO Junkie is so much fun! And I’m glad to hear you’ll be trying out some of the other shows further into the season. I would love to hear which ones you do end up watching.

      Like

  3. I’m the other way with the Idolmaster series. I just didn’t get into the main series, and like Cinderella Girls much more (because 1) Ami, Mami, Yayoi and Iori all annoy me, and were on screen way too much, and 2) I watched it after Love Live!, and the coreography of the performances in IM@S were not as good as Love Live! (or the animation, even though sakuga-pro CGI haters will disagree), the music isn’t anywhere near my tastes, and disliking or being uninterested in over half of the characters makes one really not care. Liking more characters in Cinderella Girls, and finding that it did a lot more focusing on stories that resonated with me made it a lot better, although still not as good as Love Live!). So I haven’t tried Side M yet, because I’m not as into drama or bishounen. Wake Up, Girls! was always kind of a big also-ran with their first series, but I kind of like the positioning in the second series, with the popularity of the whole scene waning, and WUG trying to leverage their past successes into something bankable. The look is definitely different, but I think it’s just something to get used to. And I like Love Live! in general (also µ’s more than Aquors) but Love Live Sunshine!! is too much of saving the school. Just do things for yourselves, girls!

    I’ve been avoiding Yuuki Yuuna. I like the first season as something I’ve watched, but I tried to give it a rewatch a few months ago, and it’s just not my thing, already knowing what’s happening to the characters and I’m afraid that another series would be the same. The slow burn of realization that they are killing themselves is one thing, already knowing that they have incomplete information is another thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can definitely understand characters like Ami, Mami, and Iori getting on your nervers. Not Yayoi, though. I love her 🙂 They did get a good chunk of screen time, but honestly what characters in the first series didn’t? Perhaps Yukiho, who I don’t remember clearly. I’ll have to agree with you that the choreography in Love Live is much more entertaining than Idolmaster. That’s true in the anime and live. None of them play music to my tastes, but I still enjoy the upbeat spirit of their performances even if I’ll never play it outside of the anime.

      I wouldn’t pin Side M as a bishounen just yet. Yes, it has good looking characters, but not in an overdrawn way you might see in otome adaptations. But if you weren’t into the style of the first season, then perhaps Side M won’t interest you as much as Cinderella Girls. It’s too early to say for sure.

      After watching the second episode of this season’s Sunshine, I have to agree with your sentiment regarding the school’s closing. Using that as motivation for their singing kind of ruins the simple joy of the art for me. I wonder if the burden will feel like just that, a burden, later on in the season.

      Yuuki Yuuna isn’t for everyone, and even I find myself at times a bit bored with it. I also feel strange about knowing the futures of these girls for this prequel, like I can’t let myself get too close with Sumi’s old friends because I don’t want to feel anything when misfortune strikes.

      Like

      • Takane was almost completely unused in the series, doing almost nothing outside of her focus episode, which was a nearly criminal mistake for the series. Azusa was a character that I thought could have been more interesting, and was also unused outside her focus episode, but that one didn’t exactly show a very interesting character (and also made Makoto look a lot better), and by the time she was done running around in her wedding dress, I was over being interested in Azusa. I actually liked the use of the older girls like Miki, Yukiho, and Haruka. But I really felt the best move it made was barely showing Yayoi in the whole second half of the show (basically, she didn’t even get seen in the OP, just a quick zoom by half her face as she almost got decapitated by the camera).

        I thought the characters were much more well-realized in Cinderella Girls, although some of that was because they didn’t have to spend as much time on the “What is it like being an idol” since the audience already knew that from other shows. I also thought the non-idol characters in CG were a lot better, especially the conflict between Producer and the boss lady.

        Like

Let's talk:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s